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AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
at 16:42 6 Oct 2018

F*cking hold it now!
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Uhhhhhhh... (n/t)
at 15:31 6 Oct 2018

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Chalobah was not the best player on the pitch tonight.
at 22:23 2 Oct 2018

Stop saying it you dunderheads.
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For someone who's supposed to be a high-press wizard
at 20:48 2 Oct 2018

Puny Paul hasn't got this team doing it very well. All just charging up the pitch like lunatics and leaving 'Boro with a simple pass to open us up.

We play like a bunch of strangers - no-one in midfield knows where they should be individually or in relation to each other and the communication seems to be non-existent.

We're paying the price for Hurst ripping up a limited but solid squad and replacing it with a load of inexperienced players who had varied pre-seasons but crucially not all together at Town. The result is that we look an utter mess headed straight for League 1.
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So it has come to this, the Paul Hurst sh!tshow - thoughts on today
at 23:12 22 Sep 2018

I've taken the phrase 'then the sh!t will hit the fan' to be a preemptive expression, indicating that something must be acted on quickly to avoid a disaster. I'm concerned right now that so much fecal matter is going to be built up in Town's Dyson that we'll be suffocating on poo particles long after someone pulls the plug.

I was going to do a 'proper' match report on today's proceedings but there's not much point is there? I'll just try and put what I saw today among everything else we've been witnesses to since what seemed like a bright new dawn a mere few months ago.

Just leave it. Just leave it alone. You don't need to stick a CB at RB because you want to cram everyone in. Let Big Boy Janoi continue to develop (that's why you brought him in, dumb dumb) and either make Nsiala the unfortunate casualty of circumstance or put faith in him as your first choice partner for Chambers and step Pennington down. Don't go being a daft bugg*r and play all 3 in a back 4. We've seen enough of that thanks.

We stuttered along to start with, I guess. Bolton as agricultural as you can get with their 'they can't score if the ball's in the stands' mantra, Town struggling to put them under any real pressure. The big lad Magennis was a handful but Chambers dealt with him expertly.

The sending off looked clear but they say it was harsh. On one of the few occasions we ulilised Jackson's pace he broke away from Wilson and the experienced defender did all he could do and seemed unsurprised when the ref told him to march off.

What better opportunity to get a win. What would it say about us if we couldn't manage to find a goal now? They'd gone to a 4-4-1 which was essentially an 8-1 given the microscopic space between their defence and midfield. Just keep knocking, the door won't hold for ever.

A few neat touches, the odd nice bit of play but no real chances created. In the second half Nsiala should have done better with a header right in front of goal and Chambers was left stunned when Alnwick made the one (great) save he had to make all game from a flicked effort off his skull.

But it was all too slow, all too ponderous, no hunger, no belief, no confidence.

Edun showed why he should start, but instead of Hurst's main man Nolan. Always looking for runs that weren't being made and a desire to play forward which wasn't always matched by his teammates.

Likewise Skuse tried to get things moving, offering to take the ball off the back four (essentially 2 as Bolton had sat so deep Pennington and Knudsen were RM and LM to Ward and Edward's RW and LW) and go forwards, almost working his way into the box with a couple of neat 1-2s that forced a desperate last ditch slide to prevent the cool customer from being an unlikely goalscoring hero. Alas we didn't do much more of that, and Hurst then delivered the killing blow on his own team.

He removed Skuse along with Ward (1 good game in an anonymous handful for him isn't it?) for Graham and Walters, leaving a flat middle of 2 of Edun and Nolan. Bolton immediately saw that that weakened our midfield and started to get more of the ball, almost forcing themselves into our box and even won a couple of corners.

That was a sign of panic. Hurst was worrying and through all his attacking options on like a desperate Football Manager player who has become frustrated with the hours clicking away at the subtle in-game tactics mechanics not producing any results. The tiny twosome had to do the work of their silver-bearded veteran plus their own, which in Nolan's case had been hiding from the ball or hurriedly kicking it away when he did have it. It was never going to work and the players seemed to have no clue.

Walters screamed for the ball in a burst of pace which saw him crumple to the floor and nestle his head in the shoulder of the physio. What a stupid risk. All the talk of sports science and fitness and being properly prepared and you allow the chance for that to happen. Now it was 10 v 10 and a waste of time.

Booed off. Town players flop to the floor. Nsiala contorts his face in pain and slaps his head. They know it. We all know it.

All in all we forced one decent save out of a 10-man team of donkeys.

He's changed too much. Yes we had players that needed replacing but so much untried raw potential thrown together and then chopped and changed about until they know not what to do or where to go. No bravery, no leaders bar the lion-hearted Chambers who today showed how vital he has now become and how I feel for him because he was part of such a solid team needing a refresh and getting a wrecking.

How much longer does he have? We've had the 'easier' games where we needed to pick up points but faffed around and haven't proven anything to ourselves other than this is harder than almost anyone imagined.

We haven't been able to build on any bit of promise (Villa, 2nd half Brentford, start of 2nd half Norwich). It just evaporates as soon as the whistle blows.

For all the sneering and patronising the 'be careful what you wish for' media types had a point. They missed a big one though - Mick had to go, and Hurst seemed like a perfect replacement. He ticked a lot of boxes and said all the right things.

On the pitch things are bad, from increasingly strong rumours they could well be worse off it. People said Mick thought he was bigger than the club. Just one example of all the negative boll0cks people said about Mick that might actually be more true for little and large.

So, again, how much longer does he have? You'd think by Christmas if we're like this get rid but if we're still like this then it'll be too late. Even if he went and someone else came in and calmed it all down, they'd still be left with the same group of players unable to shut out a 1-0 lead or force a goal against 10 men. Still, maybe if they actually just put their best players in a settled side...

Hurst started a project, but he saw the finished product shine in his greedy eyes before he even completed the first draft.

They say to go down fighting. But we don't have any fight.

D'you reckon Cardiff might sack Warnock soon?
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Team News
at 14:01 15 Sep 2018



[Post edited 15 Sep 14:03]
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Bring on Derby - some thoughts on yesterday
at 10:49 19 Aug 2018

This was my second sighting of Paul Hurst's New Era FC this season after the opening day but it already felt like more than a fortnight had passed. It seemed unfortunate that we were playing one of the strongest teams in the league after Hurst's outburst on Tuesday, as the inevitable reaction to it could prove worthless if Villa were too much for us to handle.

The starting line-up was one which might become quite familiar: Bart behind Donacien, Nsiala, Chambers and Knudsen, Chalobah sat in front of them and behind Skuse and Nolan, whilst Harrison stood strong on his own up front with Edwards and Edun either side. While we still have players injured, it's hard to see how that XI can really be changed to any great degree.

Straight from kickoff we exposed ourselves to why we need Nolan and the wide players to support Harrison: Chalobah's knock into the left channel was well won and flicked inside by Harrison, but no-one was there to challenge the ball and Villa were gifted possession.

Despite any pre-match concerns, the opening exchanges did not indicate which team was packed full of 40k+-a-week players. In fact it was Town who had the first real chance of the game when a superb run by Edwards where he beat Hutton, Grealish, Adomah and somehow Hutton again saw the ball worked to the lively Edun on the left who fired a fast low ball back across the box to Gwion who could only lift a firm effort onto the face of the bar.

Villa, for all their quality, struggled to create a chance beyond some crosses into the box which were well marshaled by the Town defence. Town came close again when Chalobah saw a shot blocked in a scrambled penalty area and Chambers poked the follow-up just wide. The Town support didn't sit on their hands like they did against Blackburn, and were becoming ever united against a sure shoe-in for 'worst referee of the season'. Tim Robinson seemed to enjoy being in charge of a game involving a big team like Villa so much that he gave them anything and everything they called for, Grealish in particular was a big fan of leaning against a player then letting himself fall over. He probably did enough to earn seven bookings for simulation but ho hum.

A throw in that looked ours but was given to our opponents led to the first goal of the match. The linesman in front of the Cobbold was useless and had clearly, not for the first time, guessed who touched the ball last as Skuse challenged McGinn in the centre of the pitch. The Town players were so convinced it was theirs that they didn't concentrate when Villa got on with it and McGinn swung a lovely ball into Kodja who got in between Chambers and Nsiala to flick home. The pair may have done better but if we'd have scored it we'd be praising the superb assist.

It was harsh on Town who had had the better of the attacking play and had reduced Villa to hopeful balls into the box which caused little trouble. They nearly earned a very harsh second when Grealish remembered he was allowed to stay on his feet and sent in a cross that Kodja thumped onto the bar. Just prior, Edun was cautioned when Bart threw the ball too far in front of him and despite winning it cleanly on the stretch, the ref judged him to have used too much force, a decision made easier by El Mohamady clutching his leg like it had been split into pieces by a large projectile before recovering miraculously to be able to sprint around the pitch again.

Hurst clearly feels we should make the most of Knudsen being able to throw the ball somewhat far and, well, we did. The Dane's hurl was feebly flapped at by visiting 'keeper Nyland and Chalobah used his body well to shield the bouncing ball before hitting a half volley on the turn into the bottom corner. A goal that meant a lot to him personally and showed that we were not going to let Villa see us off.

This task just became much harder when a fairly innocuous tackle by Edun on Manchester United loanee Tuanzebe saw the full back stumble then, remembering what his teammates had been doing all game, drop like an exhausted mule and cling onto whichever part of his leg would look more painful to the referee. The referee, I should add, who didn't seem to see the incident, or if he did, didn't see it worthy of a foul. Then, thinking about the signed and framed Jack Grealish poster in his bedroom, decided to stop play. Initially it looked like this was to make sure Tuanzebe was not in serious pain, so it was bizarre to see him call Edun over. Bizarre turned to ludicrous as both colour cards came out of his pocket and he showed them in sequence to the young Fulham loanee. A standing ovation by the Town fans as he jogged down the tunnel turned to hostile boos and whistles in one clear direction. The initial cheers by Villa's large support quickly turned into sheepish shuffling as they realised they were now 12v10.

Half time allowed for hurried discussion in the stands as to what we were going to do. Would we try and contain them? Would Hurst bring on a defender? No. The line-up stayed the same with Nolan drifting out left and Skuse and Chalobah becoming a partnership in the centre as we went 4-4-1.

We certainly weren't going to sit back either, which judging by the shaky individual performances by Villa's players, is what they were expecting to happen. We looked to break quickly at them at every opportunity, Edwards the most influential as he hooked onto several mistakes by Alan 'Scottish Cafu' Hutton. Donacien then got booked in the only acceptable way to do so: absolutely fooking clattering into dirty little scrote Grealish, who tried his best to get the ref to send the St Lucian off by writhing around and flailing his arms around like he was in the process of being torn apart by a machine gun.

The 2nd half saw little in the way of goalmouth action with Villa sending a few frustrated efforts wayward of the goalposts. It was Town that arguably came closest to finding a winner as Harrison was unable to direct a header from a corner on target as he stretched to make contact with the ball, whilst Edwards put in a couple of delicious balls which neither Nolan nor substitute Jackson gambled on.

The crowd was really fired up and played a big part in making the game difficult for Villa, celebrating every decision the ref gave in our favour like we'd scored a goal. Credit must also go to Steve Bruce - not many managers would pretend they were the Texans at the Siege of the Alamo when they actually had a man advantage. Bemusing why he didn't/couldn't get more out of his players when they looked far more dangerous when McGinn and Grealish got their feet on the ball in our half of the pitch.

Villa pushed harder for a winner in the four added minutes but could not break through and a hearty roar met the final whistle.

Bart was once again a little uncertain for me - should have claimed a few overhit balls aimed at Adomah but instead left them to Donacien to dribble his way out of trouble. Spooned an easy save behind for a corner as well but did make a good save from Hourihane at the death.

A shoutout for Big Boy Janoi is in order - the most improved player from the start of the season already. Villa clearly saw him as a weak link as they continually pumped balls to Adomah but the big man kept his composure and looked like the experienced Championship player against the newbie throughout the game. More performances like that and people will apologise for even thinking of the word 'Diallo'.

Nsiala's a player. A real player. Good judgement by Hurst in seeing he could step up - a real strong, powerful defender who loves doing what he does. Chambers had a few iffy moments including one dreadful pass after a good interception which nearly gifted Villa an opening, but he said midweek no-one should criticise the team's attitude and he led by example yesterday. Battled imperiously with Kodja all game and despite the Villa man getting a goal, won the battle overall.

Knudsen was another one who looked better, and Hurst has clearly instilled some confidence in him that his long throws are a genuine weapon. Helped by a flappy 'keeper yesterday but if it works, it works.

Chalobah looks better with each game, still the odd loose ball but is at the heart of most things we do and is always there to stick out a leg to slow down or completely stop an opposition attack. I think we'll find out that we're lucky to have him. On another day his goal may have bounced into a defender but it was great skill to get the shot away so he deserved it.

Skuse really came into his own once we were down to 10 - a real calming influence who used all his experience to help his younger colleagues keep the midfield shape to stifle Villa whilst being a solid rock to allow the likes of Edwards and Nolan to push the Villains back. Nolan ended up having to do a job to help the team but his quality on the ball is evident. Totally selfless in the second half and the most promising thing is that there's clearly more to come.

We'll do well to hold onto Edwards beyond this season at this rate. Special player. Fast, skillful, incredibly hard working, everything you'd want from a winger. Great buy from Hurst. Edun looked a very bright spark and it's unfortunate the ref ruined a good performance from him. He's answering some questions as to why he's starting ahead of some of our own, even if the general topic is still up for debate.

I felt a bit for Harrison, especially with 10 men he was having to do almost everything himself but it's a real asset to have someone in the team like him. I counted several defensive headers as well which is vital. His 2nd half replacement Jackson clearly has ability but has things to learn to become a Championship striker - one good run saw his shot hit wide when a more composed player might have played it differently whilst if he'd been braver and gambled in the box a couple of times he may well have scored the winner. He'll 100% score a Nouble-esque goal from chasing down a hesitant defender/'keeper at some point this season.

Yesterday's result and performance reminded me of last season's away loss to Leeds. A terrific performance which ultimately yielded much less than what we felt we deserved. We responded by thumping Sunderland off the park. I don't think we'll quite do that to Derby but if yesterday didn't inspire confidence and belief in the players, the fans, the whole club that we can go off to 'Frank Lampard's Derby' and seal our annual win there then absolutely nothing will.

We could well look back on yesterday as the first big step on our journey to whatever destination this new era takes us to.
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