Colchester v Rovers

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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Another crucial game and probably the last chance saloon for Rovers: another defeat here and we may be cut adrift in the bottom four with winnable games running out.

It seems that Koumas will return on Saturday, which would be a massive boost. However, with Goody re-arrested tonight as part of the spot-fixing probe, there could be further disruption in the back four. I have suggested in recent weeks that we should be more cautious away from home and play a 4-5-1 to try and pick up the odd point. However, in our current predicament I think we have to be bold and play 4-4-2 in an attempt to win the game.

Colchester are currently in even poorer form than ourselves and we have had the Indian sign over them in the last couple of seasons. On that basis, I am cautiously optimistic, although it really is time for the hard luck stories to end and for Rovers to pick up three points.
 

Boz

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My preference is for more caution away from home rather than throwing it to the wind. We musn't lose this, a draw wouldn't be fatal to our survival hopes, but losing arguably would.

If Koumas is fit, he should replace Kirby. Arthurworrey was approaching fitness, given Goodi may still be helping the police with their enquiries when the team head to Essex, he may be needed. Otherwise one of Holmes/Pennington in central defence.
 

bigmart

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I think this is a very winnable game and have a sneaking feeling we will win it 2 1
 
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A good result. I'm looking forward to the reports. (A good shout, bigmart!) I also thought we'd win. Whenever I miss a game in the south-east, we usually do. And if I show up, we lose. I'm not superstitious, except where Rovers are concerned.

Another goal for Lowey. That's 20. Where would we be without him? Our second-highest scorers have just three.

Most of our rivals also won, but at least we are still out of the bottom four (just!) and our fate remains in our own hands.
 
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Boz

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It was a much-needed win given the victories for Crewe, Carlisle and next-up fellow strugglers Shrewsbury. Even if it was achieved in borrowed shirts, after the referee insisted sky blue and blue and white stripes clashed. Will be interesting to hear from anyone in attendance.
 

Ian

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Massive win and JLAA playing well. Maybe our fortunes are turning..
 

bigmart

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We badly needed that win though it seems to have come at a cost with Koumas injured again & Arthurworry also going off hopefully they be ok for next week.
 
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Vital and thoroughly deserved victory for Rovers. In the first half both sides had chances, with Colchester on top on possession. However, despite the disappointment of conceding just before half time, Rovers upped their game in the second half, controlled the match and deserved the victory.

Jean Louis was absolutely superb today, scoring one goal and creating the second: it was his best performance for eighteen months and the way he is going he might end up with a new contract. Max Power was equally impressive, really taking responsibility when Koumas went off, while Matthew Pennington was excellent at centre back in the second half. Defensively we struggled early on, with Arthurworrey failing to cope with the physicality of Jabo Ibehre; if Goody is out for an extended period I would prefer Penno to play centre half. During the first thirty minutes we missed several chances, including a one-on-one for Ryan Lowe when he appeared to think he was offside but wasn't, but we were also indebted to Fonners for a couple of great saves when the game was still at nil-nil.

Overall, Colchester were physical and direct, an approach that caused us a lot of problems in the opening stages. However, Rovers had a constant threat of their own through Akpro's pace and Colchester simply ran out of ideas in the second half: we were the team trying to play through midfield throughout and fully merited the win in the end.

We now surely have to follow up with victory against Shrewsbury next week and finally give ourselves some breathing space.
 
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Forgot to mention Pennington's goal-line clearance in the 85th minute, a real heart-in-mouth moment. A great performance from him today.
 
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Interesting to hear John Mac say that Arthurworrey was not injured yesterday and that he chose to replace him with Pennington at centre back. A brave and brilliant decision.
 

Boz

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Interesting to hear John Mac say that Arthurworrey was not injured yesterday and that he chose to replace him with Pennington at centre back. A brave and brilliant decision.

It certainly worked yesterday. My misgivings about Pennington as a central defender mainly relate to if he is physically strong enough; presumably he stood up to big lads like Ibhere in this game? Positionally, he tends to occupy a more central position than Holmes when playing right-back. Is this an indication Arthurworrey's loan spell won't be extended for a further month?

Maybe McMahon will extend this bravery to dropping the out of form Jake Cassidy...
 
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It certainly worked yesterday. My misgivings about Pennington as a central defender mainly relate to if he is physically strong enough; presumably he stood up to big lads like Ibhere in this game?

Yes, he was physically far stronger than Arthurworrey and also took up better positions. I think competitive spirit and positional know-how are just as important for a centre back as height, and in both regards I would say Pennington is ahead of Arthurworrey.

Ian Goodison is not a giant but I have rarely seen him outmuscled by anybody at this level.

In answer to your second question, I would think there is no way Arthurworrey's loan will be cancelled as we are so short of numbers in that area. In any case, I think he can still do a job against the less physical strikers in League One.

Cassidy probably had his poorest game for us yesterday and looked woefully short of confidence. He could probably do with a couple of the games out of the firing line, but I think that would oblige us to pay Wolves a few thousand pounds we don't have. In any case, I still prefer him to Stockton, who has apparently been really poor for the reserves recently.
 

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On central defenders, perhaps we should be grateful that McMahon is less of a dinosaur than Ronnie who likes them to have the physique of Lurch.

I think Stockton may have lost heart, given his total lack of opportunity. He should be given time to make a difference as sub, not just a few minutes at the end.

If Ronnie took Cassidy on a play or pay deal then it was a mistake. He's been a bit unlucky with chances, but too often goes missing in action. For some of the away games, I'd opt to play Lowe up front with either JLAA, Koumas if fit or one of the wingers supporting.
 
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He (Stockton) should be given time to make a difference as sub, not just a few minutes at the end.
.

I agree with this but disagree with your comment regarding Cassidy's supposed lack of commitment. I think he always gives 100% effort, which Stockton does not, and that is why Cole has been overlooked.
 

Boz

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I agree with this but disagree with your comment regarding Cassidy's supposed lack of commitment. I think he always gives 100% effort, which Stockton does not, and that is why Cole has been overlooked.
Well it would be boring if we all agreed with everything.
For example, I felt that in the 2nd half of the Carlisle game, Jake was fairly anonymous, after a decent opening half. I haven't been to any away games since his return, so maybe he's more influential in those?
Agreed Stockton is frustrating at times, but he also has scored more with his limited time on the pitch. Building up his confidence rather than freezing him out seems the better way forward when working with a limited squad.
 

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Shipping JLAA out on loan seems to have had a positive effect, maybe they should do the same to Stockton.
 
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Shipping JLAA out on loan seems to have had a positive effect, maybe they should do the same to Stockton.

A fair point. However, even when they are out of the first team picture, young players sometimes have to respond positively to setbacks as, for example, Max Power has this season. He was quite unfortunate to be out of the side for several months but, by all accounts, had a positive attitude in training and reserve matches and now he is reaping his rewards in the first team.

Cole needs to show a similar attitude if he is to progress, but so far he has not demonstrated the same maturity as Power, or even Kirby.
 

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Maybe not but he hasn't been given the same opportunities as Power either. Stockton's 'chances to impress' are usually limited to 10-15 minute cameos towards the end of a game, usually even we are losing and not playing very well. How many games has he started this season?

Although I do remember Ronnie commenting last season about his attitude and although a good talent, needed to mature and get stuck in. I just wonder how he would fair with a 5-6 game run, maybe not in this team but might do his confidence the world of good.
 
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I just wonder how he would fair with a 5-6 game run, maybe not in this team but might do his confidence the world of good.
Young players need to play to develop. This is as true in League One as in the Premier League. This is why we are offered so many starlets on loan from the PL youth teams. A spell in a League Two or Conference team would do Cole a world of good. He'd be guaranteed time on the pitch and a couple of goals would do wonders for his confidence. I think it would also be a wake up call. A loan spell worked for JLAA, as it did a few years ago for Steve Jennings, who was a different player once he returned from Hereford. However, now is not the time to loan anyone out. Wait till next season.
 
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Maybe not but he hasn't been given the same opportunities as Power either. Stockton's 'chances to impress' are usually limited to 10-15 minute cameos towards the end of a game, usually even we are losing and not playing very well. How many games has he started this season?

He has actually started a number of games this season, and was pretty regular last season after Cassidy went back to Wolves. He has not made the same impression as Power or Kirby when playing ninety minutes, it is as simple as that. He has been given the same opportunities as Power, but is not as mature and has not taken them.

Power had not started a game in eighteen months when he played at Sheffield United last season, but forced his way into the side through a positive, ninety minute performance. He has done the same again in the last few weeks since Wallace got injured.

I agree that Stockton should be getting more time on the pitch as a substitute, but there is no reason to believe there is some conspiracy against him at the club.
 
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