Orient 2-1 Tranmere

SonkORLY?

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Game sounded surprisingly open - fair play to them for having a go at us I guess. 22 shots, 11 on target, 12 corners between both teams.

Not a good result though. We should be taking a point at the very least from games like this. While we were lucky to stay top, Swindon, Bournemouth, Brentford, Sheff and Yeovil (who are in incredible form) are all within 5 points of us now. 3 of them have games in hand, as do Doncaster. When you look at things like that, you can see that our obsession with staying top is becoming increasingly superficial. On current form, we could easily be 7th in a few weeks - that's not an over-exaggeration. We are in trouble.

I still think we will finish the season strongly with Aggro, Wallace and ABB returning to the first team. But, like vs Carlisle, the side we put out today had more than enough quality to win and we've put a ton of pressure on ourselves by turning in 0 points from two easy games.

I think we need 12 points from our 4 games next month, because March is going to be hell otherwise. Make or break time.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/tranmere-rovers/fixtures
 

bigmart

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We need to start scoring goals and start games better but if we dont get things sorted quickly we wont even make the play offs.
 

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Worryingly it looked like we were second best all afternoon. Not quite the desire and commitment we are looking for at this stage of the season. It's a wobble like Ronnie says, but really, I can't believe we are still top.

I just hope the players don't think this league is sewn up already. That attitude will kill our promotion hopes. Let's hope Ronnie has a few tricks up his sleeve.
 
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Awful performance. We were completely outplayed and outfought today. A lot of credit must go to Orient. When I saw the players they had available earlier in the week I knew they would be a good side, and they were. All of their big players - McDonald, Cox, Rowlands - played well, whereas not one of our outfield players comes out with any credit.

We started extremely poorly and were basically battered in the first half. The penalty save by Fonners papered over the cracks because we should have been out of the game by half time. Ronnie switched things at half time, putting McGurk and Stockton up front and Amoo out wide (I personally would have got Bell Baggie on for Amoo straight away) and we did improve a bit, at least having a bit of concerted pressure, but did not remotely play well enough to deserve anything from the game.

This match was basically a re-run of Carlisle, only Orient were loads better than Carlisle and we were even worse than last Saturday. The worry for me is that none of the requisite quality or character was shown in this game. Earlier in the season we played poorly but still managed to battle our way to take something from games, but today there was no fight, no spirit, no leadership. Basically we were sh**e.

The points above about our league placing are right. It is our direction of travel that is everything. We have played two must-win games against lower placed sides and lost both of them. The absence of Akpro today was not the key factor as the whole team performance was flawed.

It seems the pressure is finally starting to get to the players, or perhaps post-Brentford they are believing their own hype ? The intensity Orient played with today was fantastic and we have to realise that we are going to face that in each of the next 15 games: an old cliche I know, but we have to play eash match as if it is a promotion decider.

The next two games will probably define our whole season, and I think we need six points. Hopefully RM will be able to get them going again for Friday.
 
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I should just add that our away support today was unbelievable. Never seen such a big turnout for a routine game in London - must have been about 6-700.

They even had to open up the overflow seats as we filled the away section (never thought I would see that happen at Brisbane Road !).

Postscript: On another thread someone suggested our poor defending today was due to the absence of Gibson. Gibson would definitely improve us, but the whole back four were shocking today, it was not just Daniels.

I think the more telling absence today was probably Wallace: he may have managed to get a better grip of things in the centre of midfield, where we were outplayed for the majority of the game.
 
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The game started ominously with two Orient attacks almost leading to goals. Then McGurk gave away a free kick on the left 25 yards out. The Rovers defence again failed at a set piece and despite fon Williams making a point blank save, MacDonald followed up to score an easy goal. Soon afterwards, their winger Cook got past Taylor on the by-line and got clattered. OFW made a great save from the fierce spot kick.

What should have been a turning point seemed to have little effect on the game. Rovers passing continued to look very pretty in midfield but they never got through the home defence. At the other end, our defenders played well as individuals but failed to gel as a unit.

We were lucky to reach the interval only one down. But for OFW and the home team’s poor finishing, we would have been dead and buried by half-time.

The second half was much more even. To an outsider, it would have looked like two teams in mid-table. Neither team looked like they had much of a cutting edge. Out of the blue, Rowlands made up for his penalty miss by scoring a goal out of the blue. It was almost as good as Buchanan’s winner there last season.

The game changed once Amoo and McGurk had been replaced by O’Halloran and Bell-Baggie. We had pace on the wing and Stockton had some support. From being a tight affair, the game was now end to end. At long last, a brilliant through ball (by Robinson, I think) split the home defence and resulted in our goal which was well taken by O’Halloran. It was the first shot we had which looked like going in. We had hardly got near their goal all game. We never quite managed to prise open the Orient defence again and the game petered out.

Man for man, I do not think there was much in it, but Orient won because they battled, played as a team and did not let us play our normal game.

Our MOM was OFW by a mile. All the others must share the blame. I have already mentioned the defence, but I was quite impressed by Daniels. He was not always solid today but he could develop into a useful player. The midfield generally worked well together while in the middle third of the pitch, but rarely got the ball through to Stockton or Amoo, who seemed very isolated until the substitutions. Power was impressive and always looked to have more time than he actually had. He has a great first touch and an accurate pass. The right two players were subbed, as both had had quiet games. O’Halloran was a handful and Stockton looked a better player once he came on.

The season is now two-thirds over and we have been top for almost all that time. On today’s performance we do not look like promotion contenders. However, I expect neither did Doncaster, Brentford or Swindon this afternoon, which is why we are still top. My prediction is that we will not get automatic promotion. Bournemouth will be champions and one of the other clubs with cash will be second. I think we might just manage to hold onto a play-off spot. We are not the team we were in the first third of the season.

Just to finish on a positive note, I thought the SWA were magnificent today. We packed the away end and chanted for most of the match. There was no booing or even groaning, even at the end. It is just a shame the fans' performance was not matched on the pitch.
 

SonkORLY?

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"I think they think we can play now and that one or two of them think we’re better than we are. They’ll get a rude awakening, starting on Monday."
 
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My prediction is that we will not get automatic promotion. Bournemouth will be champions and one of the other clubs with cash will be second. I think we might just manage to hold onto a play-off spot. We are not the team we were in the first third of the season.
BBTC, I agree with almost all of your post, the exception being this paragraph. I think the second auto spot is still wide open as nobody other than Bournemouth (and Walsall and Yeovil recently I suppose) has anything remotely resembling consistency.

Today's performance does not reflect our displays in the majority of the season - it was by far the worst I have seen - so I don't think we can reasonably assess the rest of the season based on today's showing. I think we have to assume there will be an improvement in the remaining games. I agree that even if we do get better, the promotion race looks a bit of a lottery this year.

We were never going to be able to sustain the form of the first two months. If we had, we would already be promoted given that League One is so competitive this season.
 

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There is no such thing as an easy game and if players (and fans) don't realise this they are in for a rude awakening.

Thanks for the reports, though they make grim reading. I did feel that in the Carlisle game, there was too much territory conceded in central midfield and it sounds similar here. Perhaps, given the length of time Wallace has been out, consideration should have been given to loaning a central midfielder. I'm a little bemused Ronnie singling out the defence for criticism, when it sounds as though the whole team, including the manager, by delaying substitutions and persisting with Amoo, did badly.
 
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LC, I hope I am wrong and you are right. The fact that you've seen more games live than I have adds more weight to your judgement.

Boz, I stand by my view that all the outfield players must take some responsibility although Max Power tried his best and Stockton and Amoo had virtually no service until the substitutions.
 
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I agree with BBTC that it would be wrong to single out the defence. Every part of the team malfunctioned yesterday. I think the biggest problem - and the most worrying - was the failure to even compete and win second balls in all areas of the pitch. Our usual spirit and workrate was completely absent. My suggestion that Bell Baggie should have come on earlier was a minor quibble, I don't think it would have made any difference to the outcome.
 

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Think Boz has hit the nail on the head - lets face it, after the superb January, where we were thinking it would be slim pickings, and yet beat both Crawley and Brentford, looking at Feb, it looked like, bar the Swindle game, that every other match would be a banker, with only notts county being a tricky tie ON PAPER. Donny fans said the same about their matches as well, so maybe complacency has set in a bit, but it will be interesting to see how Ronnie addresses this. We havent the squad to make wholesale changes, Goody is past it, Thompson, Black?? they are about all we have in reserve, but neither have had any game time lately.

We need a striker in, that much is obvious, and I am really surprised that we cant get anyone considering where we are in the table, and agree with Boz again, we should have got a midfielder in to cover for JW, MAx has done brilliantly, but he was not supposed to be playing week in week out at this stage, all things being equal.

At this point, it is squeaky bum time, as I cannot see us getting an opportunity like this again for a long time, but OTOH, compared to the last few seasons, at least we arent panicking about going through the relegation door, but potentially thru the promotion one!
 

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I don't even think it's necessary to pick out certain players. The squad is good enough, but they need to start playing as a team again and giving maximum effort. I would have thought Carlisle was the eye opener they needed, but sadly they were worse against Orient.

I just don't understand being in the position they are in and given the fact that this opportunity may not come around very often they would perform the way they have been recently. Who'd be a manager eh? Must be very frustrating for Ronnie.
 

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nerves/over-confidence

ronnie seems to think we're suffering at the latter end of the spectrum
 
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nerves/over-confidence

ronnie seems to think we're suffering at the latter end of the spectrum
In a strange way, the victory at Brentford and the euphoria that followed it (Ronnie's contract etc.) was the worst thing that could have happened to us (the three points were obviously welcome). For the first time everybody at the club from the board down seemed to be acting as if promotion was inevitable.

Perhaps at the end of the season we will look back on these defeats as a welcome wake up call.
 

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And incredibly we remain top even after a couple of poor performances. So we are still carrying that 'invincible' tag. I'm assuming we're going to be knocked off our perch tomorrow by either Bournemouth or Donny. I hope that serves as a wake up call.
 
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nerves/over-confidence

ronnie seems to think we're suffering at the latter end of the spectrum
Interesting. It could be both or it could just be inexperience. The thirteen who played on Saturday were nearly all very young and I doubt if more than one or two have never played in a team challenging for promotion. Half the team have played only a handful of league games. With only one "old head" (Robbo), it's perhaps not surprising they are finding it difficult to cope. Although the return of Wallace and Gibson will be welcome, unfortunately it won't do much to help with this problem.

I'm assuming we're going to be knocked off our perch tomorrow by either Bournemouth or Donny. I hope that serves as a wake up call.
Whenever we have got knocked off the top, we have responded positively and climbed back up immediately. Assuming we finally slip down, we will have a chance to bounce back on Friday. The Shrewsbury game will be interesting.
 

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Just hope we dont freeze in front of the cameras again! 2 of the most important home games coming up of the season, we really need to win both, and its the shrews game im more concerned about than Swindle...
 
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Interesting. It could be both or it could just be inexperience. The thirteen who played on Saturday were nearly all very young and I doubt if more than one or two have never played in a team challenging for promotion.
As well as the youth of the team, you also have to consider how many games our small, inexperienced squad have played this season. Taylor, Holmes, Palmer etc. are virtual ever presents and have had no real rest all season.

I think it must be tremendously mentally tiring to play in a top of the table side for 5 and a half months where the opposition are up and at you every game from the first whistle. It looked like the players were not trying on Saturday but maybe they just had nothing left in the tank ? Possibly Saturday's performance just demonstrates how well we have done to cope with the pressure of being top in previous games and stay there as long as we have.

Despite Wallace's youth, I think his return will benefit us greatly as he is a naturally strong character and leader on the pitch.
 
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Very bad set of results for us tonight with everyone bar Doncaster winning. Down to third for the first time since the opening day and only two points of 7th, although there is a big gap to 8th.

However, if we win on Friday the table won't look too bad.
 
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