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|Huddersfield Town v Coventry City Your Report added at 18:51:14|
Mick changed the formation to 4-3-3 from the off today, with Hyam, Skuse and Tunnicliffe the middle three behind Murphy, McGoldrick and Nouble.
Ipswich started brightly and had a couple of decent chances in the opening few minutes. Chambers picking up a pass from McGoldrick before lashing a shot across goal. A couple of minutes later, Cresswell put the ball back into the box after his initial corner was blocked and Berra headed just wide at the far post. McGoldrick and Murphy had a shot each but without causing too much trouble.
The first significant moment in the game came shortly after 20 minutes. Berra and Vaughn jumped up for the ball in the Town box and Vaughn decided to fall over. The ref gave the dubious penalty. However, he tried to be clever with stutters and little fakes but ended up passing the ball to Gerken's left, the 'keeper getting down to smother the ball.
Town had looked the better team but they were made to pay for not taking their chances when a jinking run by Hammill (who was allowed to do so by Chambers) ended in the winger pulling the ball across goal and Ward was there to knock it past a helpless Gerken.
Skuse then hit over with a long range effort and McGoldrick hit a shot just wide after a great turn on the edge of the area.
Half Time and Town would have felt hard done by to be 1-0 down.
The second half started with a bang for Town as Huddersfield decided to give the ball to Skuse, who pulled out a brilliant pass to McGoldrick on the edge of the box who in turn fired a low left-footed shot into the right corner on 50 minutes.
Town felt a buzz of momentum and nearly got a second straight away when Huddersfield failed to clear a Town ball into the box and Chambers sent a thunderous shot fizzing over the bar from 25 yards on the right.
Town then wasted a free-kick by playing it quickly to Murphy who shot well over. This signalled the game moving into a period of scrappy play on Town's part as we allowed Huddersfield far too much time on the ball. The midfield were guilty of getting to every ball second, if at all, as Huddersfield applied more pressure.
Skuse went off for Tabb with what must have been a knock to the ankle picked up earlier as he was far better than Hyam and Tunnicliffe in the centre.
Huddersfield's pressure nearly paid off when Tom Smith sent a fantastic shot hurtling towards the opposite top corner from the right. Gerken, however, wasn't going to be beaten, and he leapt across goal to push the ball away.
McGoldrick hit well wide before Graham came on for Nouble for his Town debut. We then rode out the pressure as the game became an even, yet rather poor, affair.
McGoldrick threatened again and looked dangerous but it was looking ever more likely that Town would not score from open play. Thankfully, we got a free kick when Lynch fouled Murphy 30 yards from goal. Cresswell, on the second attempt having been told to retake it, dinked the ball into the centre, Berra looked like he got a head to it, the ball went across the six yard box for a headed tap in for Murphy, who had been showing his aerial strength all day, on 89 minutes.
Mings replaced McGoldrick in the 4 minutes of stoppage time and there was one last cheer before the final whistle as the tiny Tabb jumped up to win a header over a tall Huddersfield player.
The whistle went and although Town played very averagely for large parts of the game, particularly in the second half, you could argue that we deserved based on our solid defensive display and integrity towards the end of the game.
Gerken: 8 - Poor penalty, but still had to save it, a couple of other top class saves and, on the whole, controlled his area well. Very close between him, Smith and Cresswell for Man of the Match.
Chambers: 7 - Could be argued that he should have done better for their goal but was very strong defensively otherwise and came close twice to a screamer of a goal.
Berra: 7 - Typically solid performance by him and didn't do a lot wrong. However, was outperformed by his centre-back partner once again.
Smith: 8 - Won everything in the air at the back and did not let anyone past him. An absolute rock at the back at his best and was very close to that today. As mentioned previously, a toss up between him, Cresswell and Gerken for Man of the Match today.
Cresswell: 8 - Solid defensive display and showed some good attacking play. If he had have got forward a bit more then he would have taken my Man of the Match award but as said before, almost too close to call between him, Smith and Gerken.
Hyam: 5 - Lacks forward vision and was guilty of passing the ball backwards and sideways too often. Showed tenacity at times but overall was not impressive for me.
Skuse: 7 - The pick of the midfield three for me with his quality passing and solid defensive display. Great pass for assist to goal. Midfield looked more ragged after his forced withdrawal.
Tunnicliffe: 5 - Looked all over the place today. Was neither a great asset defensively nor looked very impressive when going forwards.
McGoldrick: 7 - Great feet as always and looked dangerous when he had the ball. Well taken goal and always looked to pass the ball forwards. Looked a little slow at times and made some uncharacteristically bad passes occasionally.
Nouble: 5 - Used his strength and chased the ball down but someone needs to teach him how to control and pass a ball as he was the weak link in the attack today and wasted a couple of chances to hold the ball up and play someone else in by either panicking and giving it away or taking too long on the ball before losing it.
Murphy: 7 - Great aerial asset to have in the team and looks more assured in the air than last season and since the start of this season. His and McGoldrick's partnership upfront is looking more and more deadly by the game as they compliment each other well.
The subs added little but Tabb tried and was chasing the ball for most of the game. Gets brownie points for that header over the much taller lad at the end. Graham wasn't involved much but looks like he has a great touch and showed that he can add some flair to the attack if given enough game time. Mings was only on for all of 2 minutes.
The ref gave dodgy decisions both ways so was at least consistently bad. The linesmen gave some dubious offsides as well.
Interesting set up by Mick and if the midfield were performing better then we may have seen more dangerous attacks and another goal or two.
Not too bad a crowd with nearly 16,000 coming up to Christmas. We're in form and winning games so surely if the prices are dropped then more fans would be encouraged to come.
Noisy away support and just over 500 of them made the trip down so kudos to them.
|Birmingham City v Brentford Your Report added at 00:23:35|
Going to my first away game today I wondered whether I would be encouraged to make a trip again. Which Town team would turn out? The one that does well in the first half, gets a goal then lets itself down second half by letting the opposition back into the game? Or the one that is hidden in there somewhere, one that can play well, and have the integrity to get itself back into games when they concede? The report tells the story.
Backed by a large (and loud) Town following, the Blue Army started with a bang, winning corner after corner in the first 5 minutes. We could have gone in front inside the first minute when McGoldrick was played through on goal but opposing number 1 Alnwick spread himself well to save his shot. Smith's header from the resulting corner was saved, Berra's follow-up shot somehow blocked off the line, before the big New Zealand international hooked over.
Again Town attacked and won another corner which Smith again used his aerial presence to get a head to it, only to see it go behind off a defender. He was not to be denied again though. From the next corner, taken by the back-from-suspension Cresswell, he rose and thumped a header through the bodies guarding the goal and into the back of the net.
This gave the large support, who were already in high spirits, and extra boost as Town seemed to be dominating proceedings. McGoldrick was excellent with his movement and intelligent play and helped give the Blues an attacking edge. The crowd cheered again when Terry Connor happily gave a wave in the away direction after being requested to do so by the vocal support. However, we didn't really press hard enough after the first 20 minutes for and we were nearly made to pay for it when Gerkin seemed to react late to an ambitious shot from an obscure angle which he ended up palming against the post and away.
Little else happened in the first half as it ended with Murphy passing a shot through to the 'keeper. Town deserved to be on top at the break with Charlton not showing any real signs of getting back into the game. We could have had another one in the frantic first 10-20 minutes but as per usual seemed to settle for just the one and defend it. A tactic which has undone is in recent games.
The second half started and after McGoldrick hit a couple of shots through to Alnwick, the game went a bit flat. Town resorted to hoofball, thus taking McGoldrick out of the game. To be fair to his strike partner though, Murphy did well to challenge for all the balls sent his way and won a fair few of them. Unfortunately though, playing the ball up in the air was never going to get us anywhere.
As it was looking more likely that we wouldn't score again, the attention focussed on defending, which we did very well. Charlton struggled to break us down with Smith winning anything and everything that went up in the air. Chambers, who was caught out by pace last week, did well to remain solid and not let much get past him. Cresswell was also having a good game defensively but apart from his corners, he was rarely seen attacking the opposition box. Berra was solid but his centre-back partner was taking centre-stage.
Gerkin flapped at a dodgy cross from the right but nothing came of the resulting corner. With both teams not playing particularly well, the game became a bit like a training ground drill of getting defenders to practice headed clearances as the ball spent quite a bit of time off the grass.
With Hunt, Nouble and Edwards coming on for Tabb, Murphy and Anderson, the game moved into the closing stages. As Charlton tried a ball over the top, Berra shielded the ball out for a goal kick from Michael Morrison. The Charlton man was clearly frustrated and showed it by giving Berra a shove in the back. What resulted was the most entertaining piece of on-field action seen in the 2nd half. Several players gathered round each other as pushes were dealt from both sets of players. Someone pushed Gerkin into the action and Edwards tried to calm everyone down. Nouble however decided to stick up for his teammate and charged into the scuffling group, sending the Charlton players in retreat. He, along with morrison, was booked for his actions.
The game then ended with the general consensus being that Town deserved their three points but could have let the game slipped if they were up against a team with more quality. Again, a good first performance was not followed up by a matching second half performance as all the Town players forgot you could pass the ball along the floor. We perhaps could have got another in the first half but were guilty of doing the classic Town thing of holding onto the ball too long, thus wasting an opportunity. In the second half we defended very well but showed absolutely nothing going forward, giving Charlton the opportunity to attack, which they equally failed to tae effectively.
Gerkin: 6 - he didn't have a lot to do in truth but seemed to have good communication with his back four and did well when called upon. Still reacts too late to some things and flapped at a couple of crosses.
Chambers: 7 - one of his better games at right back. Was never seriously tested but defended solidly.
Berra: 7 - again, did the necessaries well and was a strong physical presence.
Smith: 8 - man of the match for me. Won absolutely everything in the air, both when defending and attacking, and scored a great headed goal to show that he is a real threat in the air.
Cresswell: 7 - didn't see too much of his attacking creativity today but his corner deliveries were largely good, with 1 or 2 hitting the first man. Defended well second half.
Anderson: 5 - really not sure on him at all to be honest. Hasn't played brilliantly for us yet and didn't show that he deserves to be starting every game. Didn't take players on and drifted inside too much. 1st half corners were good but was almost non-existent in the 2nd half.
Tunnicliffe: 5 - Not great today. Played alright in the 1st half and gave support on the left for Tabb (coming back to him in a bit) but faded in 2nd half and didn't add much.
Skuse: 6 - the pick of the midfield 4, won a few headers in midfield and made a couple of important tackles. Again, faded a bit in 2nd half but did enough to show why he needs to be picked every game.
Tabb: 5 - he is not a left midfielder. He showed that he can be quite tenacious but was frankly wasted out there. If he played in the middle then we might see a better side of him. However, Hunt to start left midfield in the future please.
Murphy: 7 - a good showing by Big Murph. Won a lot of headers and kept any Town threat of scoring alive as he was the main target man with balls being lumped to him at every chance. Not as nimble as McGoldrick but definitely a good asset to have in the squad.
McGoldrick: 7 - although the team decided to take him out of the game by playing long balls all the time, he showed what he is capable of when he had it at and around his feet. Smart movement, great vision and good positioning showed what a danger he is. A real shame we didn't utilise his talents in the 2nd half. Still undecided on whether he should have scored in the first minute or whether it was a great save.
All the subs had little impact on the game as it was all about defending which looked like it was being left to the back 5.
After all that, do I want to take out a whole day to go to an away game again? Of course! The support (about 2,500) was awesome and although I know it's unlikely we'll reach that sort of figure any time soon, I was really glad that I was a part of it all.
|MK Dons v Rotherham United Your Report added at 17:47:30|
I always like the optimism of the TWTD report but if we are supposedly playing well and still losing, what does that say about us? That we can't score? That we can't defend? I like to be optimistic but we better pull something out of the bag soon or we might never pick ourselves up in time.
Having said that, Charlton and Barnsley are winnable games and you would think that we can get lots of points out of our (relatively easier) October fixtures.
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