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Rovers v Eastleigh

Discussion in 'Matchday' started by Sparky, 16 Feb 2017.

  1. Sparky

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    Rovers face the long journey south on Saturday to an Eastleigh side seemingly there for the taking. A midweek home defeat to Braintree saw their winless home run extend to just under 4 months. Eastleigh sit 13th in the table, 15 points from rovers and by the looks of it, in a position of mid table mediocrity.

    Ironically they started the season well with Adam Dawson in good form. Changes in the dug out saw Ronnie initially take them on a good run but he was (harshly in my view), given the boot and 'mad dog' Martin Allen left promotion chasing Barnet in L2 to take up the helm. His arrival hasn't improved results overall and with rovers much in need of 3 points, and with Barrows midweek win, its getting to a stage where this is a must win game for us.

    Ex rover Adam Dugdale has been playing recently along with veterans Reda Johnson & James Constable - both a goal threat from set pieces especially Johnson.

    For rovers Steve McNulty has returned to training today after the flu but Wallace is out for 4 weeks. Despite his miss last week Nors had a hand in the 2nd goal and looked more like himself. He got the winner in the same fixture last season so I'd start him and Cook up top. Expect perhaps Sutton to come in at RB for suspended Buxton as he gives a goal threat. Expect the team to be something like:

    Davies
    Sutton Big Mac Ihikwe Ridehalgh
    Hughes
    Kirby Harris
    Tollit
    Norwood Cook

    Could be a diamond or could be 4-4-2 (unlikely away from home)

    Prediction: I'm unusually optimistic - a 2-0 win for rovers.
     
  2. Rockfords Love Child

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    I am actually uncharacteristically nervous about this one. I am not generally the superstitious type, but Eastleigh's appalling run has to come to an end some time and you can bet Allen will have his players fired up for this game. We often struggle against his sides and find it difficult against big, awkward teams generally. However, analysed logically this is a game we should be able to win comfortably.

    In terms of team selection, i think we will start with a 4-4-2 again and I would choose the following eleven:

    Davies
    Vaughan Big Mac Ihiekwe Ridehalgh
    Tollitt Maynard Hughes Dunn
    Cook Norwood

    Whatever line up is chosen, Wallace's absence may be a blessing in disguise in a match like this.

    Prediction: I think we will actually win the game and no other result is good enough really, particularly after dropping points last week. I expect that 3-400 Rovers fans will make the 240 mile journey.
     
    #2 Rockfords Love Child, 16 Feb 2017
    Last edited: 16 Feb 2017
  3. Boz

    Boz

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    Hard to figure out what's going on at Eastleigh, all sorts of ins and outs on the playing staff since Martin Allen arrived. Adam Dugdale, who had a couple of loan spells at Rovers is still there, but I couldn't name many others. On paper, it looks an easier fixture that last season, when Norwood's late goal kept our play-off hopes flickering a bit longer. One factor (again) may be the card-happy referee, Mr Hatzidakis, who sent two off in his last game and dismissed Ihky at Dagenham.

    There are a few selection issues to address and as usual these days, it's hard to second guess who Micky will send out. If McNulty had proper flu, it's unlikely he'd have resumed training by today. However even a lesser virus can leave you drained and Steve is not the fittest at his best, so I would be inclined not to start him. I think Dunn would start in a 442, though have some reservations about his stamina and distribution. For me, a 433 line-up could work better,

    Davies
    Vaughan Sutton Ihiekwe Ridehalgh
    Maynard Harris Hughes
    Tollit Cook Norwood

    Prediction: Would agree with RLC on the SWA turnout. As for the result, we ought to win, but have a nagging feeling it could all go horribly wrong...
     
  4. Kelti5

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    I would be more nervous about this game if we were at home, our best performances are often reserved for our travelling supporters to see. I won't be there myself so I will miss what I hope will be a fighting victory for Rovers.
    I think McNulty will play for his leadership qualities and because again he excels in away games when generally we play a more compact game, less open to counter attacks.
     
  5. bring back the cowshed!

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    I think Boz and RLC will be close to Micky's selection, although I expect Jake Kirby to feature.

    I share RLC's doubts about this game, although it's probably just a gut reaction as a the result of half a century of supporting Rovers. Tomorrow and next Tuesday are the sort of fixtures we need to win if we are to challenge for the championship. Form over the whole season suggests we will win both.

    The next four games, which also include the Trophy tie and FGR at home, could define our season. If we come out of February in good shape, March and April don't look too daunting.
     
  6. Cowshed Kid

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    A big 10 days for us.
    As a top five side we should win tomorrow.
    No real surprise if Wallace has an injury that will keep him out for a month. We knew there was that risk.
    As TLC says, his unavailability may be a blessing. We've definitely dipped since we tried to shoehorn him into the team.
    Can't see it being a nice or pretty game so hope to see Harris involved.
     
  7. Boz

    Boz

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    Kirby ought to have been given a start last weekend up front. However, think Norwood will keep his place and I'm unsure Jake has the physical presence to cope with the rough and tumble expected in this game from a midfield spot.
    The fixture pile-up if we progress in the Trophy is a concern. We've got the squad numbers to cope with a couple of games a week, but the regulars who play nearly every game could be at risk of a dip in performance.

    I agree Wallace's absence may work in our favour, as I wouldn't want to routinely start him in away games on pre-injury form and fitness.
     
  8. Rockfords Love Child

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    Team is as I predicted, which I am pleased about. Well done to Lincoln, incredible achievement.
     
  9. Boz

    Boz

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    Hope McNulty is up to the task. Better balance on the bench, so maybe Micky learnt something from last weekend.

    While I was hoping for a replay and a few sendings off, well done the Imps!
     
  10. Ian

    Ian Super White!

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    Don't think we need to worry about McNulty. Come on Rovers!
     
  11. Rockfords Love Child

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    Good half from rovers but we should be out of sight. We have missed five or six good chances, norwood with another one on one.
     
  12. Boz

    Boz

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    Sounded like a comfortable win in the end and most of the other results going our way.
     
  13. bring back the cowshed!

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    We couldn't have asked for a better result and almost all of our rivals lost. I'd argue even the Lincoln result is to our benefit. I'm very pleased. You'd have got long odds on the results of the top five sides.
     
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  14. Cowshed Kid

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    Listened to Wirral and as Boz says, it sounded comfortable. Yet until the second one went in I feared a late equaliser. Pleased for Nors, though until he scored he'd had a mare in front of goal.
    Lincoln need to seriously decide where their priorities are now. You would presume it's getting out of NL but what a temptation the FA cup must be for them.
    If nowt else, they may jack in the Trophy which may benefit us.
    We have to keep plugging away but it may prove that the six point swing from either of the Lincoln defeats will do us.
     
  15. Boz

    Boz

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    Like Cowshed Kid, I was glued to Wirral Radio and had similar fears; a lot of possession and good chances, not converted. The first goal was a break after a good save from Davies, where the radio highlighted the benefits of having Maynard rather than a sluggish Wallace,.who set up Tollit for the run and goal. Norwood maybe lucky to still be on to finally convert the second, as it sounded like he was having another poor game, so thought Kirby might have replaced him rather than Dunn, who sounded like he was doing well. Hopefully Norwood will regain some confidence after finally finding the net again. Sounded solid at the back, my fears re McNulty were misplaced while Ihiekwe was the radio MoM.

    Unsure whether Lincoln progressing is a good or bad thing for us. A replay would have been best, but they're on a real high and building up decent momentum. If both of us fail to go up this season (unlikely) then they will be financially in a very strong position next season due to the Cup run finances. Other results generally went well, though Aldershot on a good run.
     
  16. Rockfords Love Child

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    A very good performance from Rovers and a deserved victory, albeit it should have been by a bigger margin. As against Bromley, we created chances at will and should have made life easier for ourselves, although the second half was as comfortable as you could wish for away from home. The 4-4-2 formation with genuine width from Tollitt and Dunn really suits us, and we also benefited today from having Maynard to do the ugly stuff in midfield. That system is bringing the best out of Tollitt who is our most dangerous player and absolutely vital to us.

    As Allen's teams always do, Eastleigh tried to frustrate us and break up play but we did well to keep our composure and play good football for long periods on a terrible pitch. The hosts lacked quality and only threatened from set plays, although Scott Davies did make one crucial save (his only one of the afternoon) from which we broke away to score the opener.

    This was one of those games where there are no obvious stars but everybody contributes. However, I was very impressed with Jack Dunn. On a couple of occasions his decision making in the final third let him down, but he has good quality on the ball and also worked very hard to retrieve the ball on many occasions. Unlike Wirral Radio, I thought Norwood played well, getting into great positions for the one-on-ones he missed in either half; hopefully the goal will lift his confidence. Maynard gave us the physical presence we have lacked in the middle and the two centre backs were solid. However, my man of the match would be Ben Tollitt who scored one goal and put another on a plate: without him we might not have won at Woking or today, despite our dominance.

    A great turnout from the SWA and a convincing performance. We have played well for three or four games now and with the two wide men, and without Wallace, we seem to have found the right formula.
     
  17. Rockfords Love Child

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    I just wanted to add that it was great to see the joy on the faces of Norwood and his team mates after he finally got his goal. At the end of the game Micky came across the pitch and gave Nors a hug and a pat on the back. Good man-management and indicates a good spirit in the dressing room.
     
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  18. Boz

    Boz

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    Thanks for the report, RLC. To clarify, Wirral Radio's observation on Norwood was based on the failure to score rather than his general performance. The commentator felt he was thinking too much, taking an extra touch and when he ultimately scored, it was by not doing that and relying on instinct. I'm unsure whether MMs actions at the end weren't tinged with relief that a player he'd stuck with had come good. The quality of his man management might be better assessed by things that we don't see; how did he tell Stockton he wasn't on the bench despite being in better form than Norwood and Mangan, will he be in touch with Connor Jennings to say well done for the goal for Macclesfield for examples.

    It was a very good turnout of 471 SWA too.
     
  19. Ian

    Ian Super White!

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    Thanks RLC. It seems like we've found a balance which has come just at the right time. If we can keep the run going, this will go to the wire.

    Really pleased for Norwood. He's worked hard last few games and this should push him on now. With players such as Tollitt and Cook also in great form, the run in seems quite exciting indeed.
     
  20. Rockfords Love Child

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    Stockton was I'll yesterday, hence he did not travel. Likewise, Harris had a knock and did not make the journey. I stand by what I said. It is good man management to stand by a player when he is in terrible form and congratulate him when he comes good. We did not see much of that sort if stuff from brabin.
     

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