County v rovers

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Re- McNulty & Manny, that’s why I made reference to it being interesting to see how Ellis & Sutton play together. Ahh well, we have the answer to the team changes now.
 
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Re- McNulty & Manny, that’s why I made reference to it being interesting to see how Ellis & Sutton play together. Ahh well, we have the answer to the team changes now.
We get the answer on Monday. Mellon clearly believed Macca, Buxton and Ridehalgh - only just back from serious injury - could not play twice in three days and I think he is right. Southport only played three first teamers today.......
 
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For what it is worth, I thought that in possession of the ball today's performance was encouraging, a lot better than the recent games against Cambridge and Crewe for example. The first half was even. although I thought we edged it, and we were much the better side after half time. Our use of the ball was good and Cole was effective playing behind Norwood in the 451 formation.

The obvious problem was defensive. In previous away games there was not enough protection for the defence in midfield, but that was not the case today, with Harris and particularly McCullough having good games. Considering how little football they have played, I also thought Sutton and Ellis had solid games the penalty incident aside, winning a lot of headers and making timely interceptions.

The problem was at full back. We know Caprice can't defend away from home, and today he got nowhere near tight enough to his man all afternoon and allowed crosses to come into the box at will. On the other flank, Zoum made a couple of decent bursts forward, but spent much of the rest of the game giving the ball away in bad areas, notably for the second goal. I am not sure what has happened to him since his injury.

Elsewhere, there were some good displays. In addition to the midfielders already mentioned, Connor Jennings continued his strong form and Jonny Smith was scintillating. Every time he got the ball I thought something was going to happen, and he has either scored or assisted all of our last four goals.

It was hugely disappointing to lose to poor opposition in a game where we were the better team for long periods. However, if we put in the same performance in the attacking areas on Monday night, with the regular back four in place, I don't think we will have any problems and Mellon's selection decisions will (in my view) have been vindicated.
 

Cowshed Kid

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Absolutely. I hope those wasted points don’t come back to haunt us.
The next two away trips are as tricky as they could be so unless our home form holds up we'll be on a slippery slope.
MM had every right to expect the team he put out to get a result. Of the back four only Elliott has been virtually unused.
If you score two goals away from home you expect to come away with something but we don't seem to h
 

Cowshed Kid

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Apologies, last post cut short!
It should have gone on to say that we don't have the belly for away games at the moment and that, despite today's result, still think we'll do the job on Monday.
 
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The next two away trips are as tricky as they could be so unless our home form holds up we'll be on a slippery slope.
That is a massive assumption to make. Why is our home form any more likely to deteriorate, than our away form is likely to improve ? And even if we lose one / both of the next two away games, how can you assume that our away form will remain uniformly poor for the rest of the season ?

It is December, not April.
 

Cowshed Kid

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It's our home form that's keeping us where we are at the moment RLC..
I'm not suggesting for one minute our home will dip but we do need to pick up away points.
Hopefully away form will turn around but not at expense of home form.
I might swallow a close defeat at Bury but not one at Silkmen who, predictably before they play us, are coming into form!
 
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I've just seen the goals on Quest. The defence was all over the place. particularly for the second goal. Ellis' challenge for the third was clumsy and unnecessary. Maybe it's the price you pay for changing everyone in the back four. It looked leaderless without McNulty.

I just hope MM doesn't bollock them too much and they get over it - mentally and physically - by Monday evening. It was the manner of the defeat that really annoys me.
 

Ian

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We picked a team that we believed could get us a result, it was nothing to do with Monday and obviously we have to look after the energy levels of people who we don’t believe can go twice in three days.
No, you picked a team with a makeshift defence because your priority is Monday's game. Three points down the tubes. At least they'll be fresh for semi-professional, National League North side Southport :rolleyes:
 
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No, you picked a team with a makeshift defence because your priority is Monday's game. Three points down the tubes. At least they'll be fresh for semi-professional, National League North side Southport :rolleyes:
Southport are professional actually. A National League North side that we could not beat at Prenton Park a couple of weeks ago. I am not sure why you think the replay will be such a walk in the park.

Regardless of whether we were playing Southport or Real Madrid, McNulty, Buxton and Ridehalgh would not have been capable of playing in both games. Mellon made the right decision.
 
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What today's result and several others recently tells us, is that the squad depth is not good enough at the moment. That can only be improved by bringing in better players which requires money - something the Tottenham game can provide for us.
 

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Choosing a weakened side and coming away with another league loss does not indicate to me that he made the right decision. I guess we have to agree to disagree on this one.

Southport are professional actually. A National League North side that we could not beat at Prenton Park a couple of weeks ago. I am not sure why you think the replay will be such a walk in the park.
We also struggled to beat Oxford City at home in a not so thrilling 3-3 (the same level as Southport) who were then abysmal in the replay. Teams raise their game when they come to PP. We won't need to get out of second gear to beat Southport who are 2 divisions below us.
 
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Choosing a weakened side and coming away with another league loss does not indicate to me that he made the right decision. I guess we have to agree to disagree on this one.


We also struggled to beat Oxford City at home in a not so thrilling 3-3 (the same level as Southport) who were then abysmal in the replay. Teams raise their game when they come to PP. We won't need to get out of second gear to beat Southport who are 2 divisions below us.
It is a completely different context. Oxford City were a tippy-tappy footballing side, which made the replay easy for us. They tried to take us on in a game of football, which they were always going to lose against better players.

By contrast, Southport are physical and direct. They will try to negate our passing game by bombing balls into our eighteen yard box, as they did at Prenton Park. That is why Mellon rested the back four today: they need to be physically at their sharpest on Monday night.

The incentive for Southport is also much bigger than for Oxford. They have a potential tie against Spurs to play for, making it one of the biggest games in their history. That adds extra intensity to the game, which was not there in the Oxford replay.

If you accept that the players I mentioned can't play in both games (I am sure Mellon has taken advice from the medical staff in that regard) would you have rested them on Monday ? And if the defence was as crap on Monday as it was today and we got knocked out, guess who would be blamed ? Yes, Mellon.

People questioning the team selection today should ask the owners why we don't have greater squad depth, not put the boot into the manager who is trying to do his best by the club.
 
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Cowshed Kid

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Deep down, the two sides of the selection argument on this site knew that changes would be made.
Seeing the team sheet I was reasonably happy.
Ignoring Monday, that team, on paper, was more than capable of getting a result against a team that hasn't won for two months.
 
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Ignoring Monday, that team, on paper, was more than capable of getting a result against a team that hasn't won for two months.
Yes, I agree. We had a right to expect a better performance from experienced players like Zoum, who probably put in his worst ever performance in a Tranmere shirt today.
 

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I think you are giving Southport too much credit. They are two divisions below us for a reason and any balls bombed into the box should be dealt with by any of our central defenders. We conceded three yesterday and should have played our strongest team.
 
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