Saturday, 8th Apr 2006 19:33
Boss Joe Royle admitted his side's display was unacceptable and didn't blame fans who left before the end of the 4-1 defeat to Stoke City. Danny Haynes's fourth goal of the season was the only Town highlight, while the youngster should have been awarded a second half penalty.
Royle said: "Collectively we went missing in midfield and it was hard to pick a man of the match. Some of our best players were our defenders but even they caved in at the end.
"Darel Russell had four shots on goal before anyone realised that we had to go with him. It pains me to say it, but Stoke were more passionate and more energetic. It was hard to understand but it looked like they wanted it more.
"It could have been 2-2 but no penalty was given when Danny Haynes was tripped but I am not making that an excuse, it didn't affect the result. Decisions haven't been going for us this season so maybe next season it will be different.
"Owen Garvan has needed a rest for a few weeks now, while I am grateful to Alan Lee for playing through his injury. Saying that, we lacked threat up front until Danny Haynes came on.
"I know we are in cyberspace [sic] in mid-table but the crowd were leaving long before the end and I cannot blame them.
"The second Stoke goal was offside but that didn't alter the fact that our performance was unacceptable."
Stoke manager Johan Boskamp felt his side's five-in-midfield formation was the key to the win: "Today was our day. Movement was good and we created plenty of chances. It makes for a good game with two teams keen to go forward.
"We took our goals well and played a system that suits us. Sambegou Bangoura was back to his best and has the ability to hold the ball and pass it at the right moment, his holiday is over.
"He went to Egypt for the African Nations Cup and played only 45 minutes, which made him a bit mad, but now he is back in top form.
"Today our passing was fantastic, but there are times when the lads still lack confidence and allow the opposition too much space."
Photo: Action Images
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