Stevenage v Tranmere

Stevenage v Tranmere
Posted by Ian
The Lamex Stadium, Broadhall Way, Stevenage, Herts SG2 8RH
Saturday, August 4, 2018 - 03:00 PM
Until: Saturday, August 4, 2018 - 05:00 PM
(Adjusted for timezone: Europe/London)
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5 Dec 2015
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Bobby Hutchinson
#61
Great stuff BBTC.
Always good not to lose you're first game of the season.
Better still to come back from the dead after 35 mins and chalk a point.
So so made up for Nors.
He really is challenging Gooders for recent cult status.
 
1 Oct 2005
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#63
Strangely, I didn't worry even when we were two down. We were playing well and I thought if we could get a goal back before half time without conceding another, we could get something from the game. So it proved.
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#64
A very enjoyable game. I think a draw was a fair result as both teams had periods in the ascendancy, but I think we actually played the nicer football when we were on top. We started both halves strongly before the hosts responded, but our only real wobble came after the first goal, when we lost our heads for about ten minutes. When Stevenage went down to ten men Norwood had three chances to win the game for us, none of them easy, a couple of which resulted from great moves. That said, the hosts continued to threaten at the other end. The attacking trio of Norwood, Jennings and Smith looked very comfortable at a higher level.

I agree with BBTC that our opponents were a cut above the teams we played at NL level. It was the subtle differences that you noticed: our front players had to really work to find openings, midfielders had the ball nicked off their toe if they dwelt too long and any sloppiness at the back was punished ruthlessly, notably for the two goals we conceded. We had been the better side in the first twenty minutes, yet found ourselves two down to two opposition chances, something that simply would not happen in non-league. In general, I thought Stevenage were well organised and savvy, but I actually enjoyed seeing us play a team that tested us all over the pitch, rather than the NL cannon fodder.

Individually, I thought Norwood, Smith, Jennings, Zoum and McNulty were our best players. Harris worked hard defensively but gave the ball away too much for my liking, something that will be punished at this level. There was a hesitancy at the back on occasions, but I actually thought it was Sutton who was more guilty than McNulty. There was a foul in the build up to Stevenage's first goal, but for both the goals we conceded I thought both the midfield and central defence were too slow to sense danger, and we had chances to close down and block the shots which were spurned. We will need to sharpen up in that regard in the weeks ahead.

Stockton was poor. He had a tough job up against two very physical centre halves, but he did not impose himself enough physically and should probably have been cuter in pulling on to the full back or taking up other positions to receive the ball. It was also noticeable that, in addition to the two goals, Norwood was nearly on the end of crosses into the box on numerous occasions, yet I can't remember Cole offering anything in the eighteen yard box all game. Hopefully Micky will lift his confidence in the weeks ahead.

Man of the match, James Norwood, closely followed by the excellent Johnny Smith.
 
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Likes: Ian
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#65
I forgot to say, Tollitt looked very sharp when he came on and roasted the full back a couple of times. The best he has played since his injuries.
 

ADD

Member
2 Jun 2018
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Norwood
#70
I pretty much agree with all the comments on here.... we played some lovely football at times but we did look like an accident waiting to happen at the back with some poor defending. Stevenage showed that there is indeed a big difference between L2 and NL in terms of the speed of play and we will be punished if we don't wise up quickly. I wonder how long Steve will stay first choice - he is having to go and try and make early challenges and if he doesn't get there he is done for..... I thought Ellis might have started for him or Sutton who was a bit casual at the back a couple of times.
Agreed that Stockton was only so so but he did hold up the ball well and with a decent referee who had blown for all the early fouls on him we would have had a lot of free kicks which could have led to chances. He seemed nervous about getting in the way of Nors and often hung back rather than really challenge for the space. He will I feel grow into it and develop an understanding with Nors.....after all he only had 1 or 2 training sessions with the players and MM.
Overall however a very positive first day and actually a very good game of football...
 
8 Sep 2009
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Chris Greenacre
#71
Only one game but you do wonder about big Steve and how he’ll fare. I’m a massive fan of Sutton and he’s a threat in the opposition box as he showed winning the header for the second goal.

Harris is another who although he’s been great for us, you do wonder if this level is too much for him. I guess if everyone was fit he wouldn’t have played anyhow - Norburn and Banks being first choice.

Will give Stockton the benefit of the doubt as early days but I guess we were spoilt last season having a front 2 score nearly 50 between them.

Like AM I really hope Tollit can stay fit and get a run of games. But if we stick with 4-4-2 it sounds like CJ and Smith will be ahead of him. But good to have strength in depth.
 
1 Oct 2005
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#72
Agreed that Stockton was only so so but he did hold up the ball well and with a decent referee who had blown for all the early fouls on him we would have had a lot of free kicks which could have led to chances.
Absolutely, ADD. He looked lively early on, then once when he got the ball in midfield he was given a big hug by their defender. It was right in front of the referee. I could see it half a pitch away, but the ref appeared not to. I wonder if these sort of incidents affect Cole. They shouldn't and he needs Micky to get him in the right mindset. The worst thing we supporters can do is to compare him to Andy Cook and complain if he doesn't score 25 goals this season. Andy is a stronger and more complete player. But at his best, Cole is very good at this level.
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#73
McNulty will be fine at this level. The problem yesterday was a lack of protection from the midfield in the build up to the goals, with Harris and Banks going AWOL for the second, as Micky referenced in his interview. Longer term, I think Ellis might edge ahead of Sutton however.

Lack of pace at the back was nothing to do with the goals we conceded yesterday. It was a failure to read the danger quickly enough, and Mac is a better reader of the game than any other defender we have.

I agree with the comments about Stockton. I thought he was generally poor yesterday but I still think it was the right decision to bring him in, and long term it could prove a good signing. I genuinely believe that if we still had Cook we would be challenging for promotion again this season, but that is life I suppose.........
 
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M

Mal

Guest
#74
Only one game but you do wonder about big Steve and how he’ll fare. I’m a massive fan of Sutton and he’s a threat in the opposition box as he showed winning the header for the second goal.

Harris is another who although he’s been great for us, you do wonder if this level is too much for him. I guess if everyone was fit he wouldn’t have played anyhow - Norburn and Banks being first choice.

Will give Stockton the benefit of the doubt as early days but I guess we were spoilt last season having a front 2 score nearly 50 between them.

Like AM I really hope Tollit can stay fit and get a run of games. But if we stick with 4-4-2 it sounds like CJ and Smith will be ahead of him. But good to have strength in depth.

To put things in perspective on the scoring front, results for August and September last year...

August W 2 D 3 L 2, Goals for 5 (3 in one game) Against 6 and didn't score in 4 games

September W 2 D 1 L 3 Goals for 2 Against 3 and didn't score in 4 games

October W 2 D 2 L 1 Goals for 8 (4 in one game) Against 6 didn't score in 1 game

So Cook and Norwood were not free-scoring then, although Norwood missed three of first four due to suspension..

in my opinion, we need to give Stockton a chance to bed back in with the team and for the team to better the W6 D7 L6 in first 3 months. Maybe he will do well, maybe not but he deserves a run in the team to see if he can perform like he did at the end of the previous season.

Unfortunately , the site has seemingly lost all the links to the reports so I cannot analyse how many games Cook and Norwood scored in. It is all very well scoring four and three and two in a single game but what matters is hitting one that results in a win, a bit like Macclesfield last season. They didn't have a prolific scorer but the ones that the forwards did score in usually resulted in a win. I cannot access the data at the moment so not sure how many games Cook scored in last season for his 27. I think it was only two in his first thirteen games.

At least we didn't;t have anyone receive a straight red in the first game this time!
 
15 Mar 2010
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Jason Koumas
#75
Cook and Norwood only played as a regular partnership in a 442 from October onwards, which is when our form improved dramatically. Until then, we did not have a settled forward line and generally played a 433 with Cook or Alabi as a lone striker, which did not work.

However, I agree that Stockton deserves time and I think we were right to sign him.
 

Boz

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30 Sep 2005
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Iain Hume
#78
Somehow MM has got to find a way of giving Mullin game time as well. It sounds like Stockton didn’t get off to the best of starts or make the most of his previous experience playing alongside Norwood, but wrong to judge on one game, agree he needs more time.
 
1 Aug 2017
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Mungy's Hairdresser
#79
Stockton will do just fine under MM as I said previously if the SWA stick with him! BTW, I assume you guys have all seen that Quest free view channel are showing L1 & L2 goals for an hour & a half each Saturday night. SWA received a nice ‘welcome back to the league’ mention last night!
 
1 Oct 2005
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#80
Stockton will do just fine under MM as I said previously if the SWA stick with him! BTW, I assume you guys have all seen that Quest free view channel are showing L1 & L2 goals for an hour & a half each Saturday night. SWA received a nice ‘welcome back to the league’ mention last night!
No I hadn't so thanks for the heads up.