PNE / referee 2 Rovers 1

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I thought we were excellent today, and deserved at least a point from the game. Only some dubious refereeing and our inability to punish teams when we are on top in games cost us: if we had a prolific striker I think we would be serious promotion candidates this season, as so much of our game is good.

Akins produced a performance I did not think he was capable of, although I think he should have scored in the first half when he struck it wide from 15 yards. Les will have an interesting decision to make when Devaney comes back to fitness. He was matched by Goodison who was immense, and it was great to see him toying with the delightful Mellor on occasions.

Elsewhere, Baxter had a very good game. He was always tidy on the ball, and looked to play the simple pass rather than give possession away needlessly. A couple of his long range passes were of a higher standard than the majority of our squad would be capable of, and he seems to have good anticipation around the six yard box, as we saw for the goal. Weir worked tirelessly, Taylor was solid at the back, and Buchanan had a strong first half, but got caught out dwelling on the ball a couple of times after the break, his first real signs of weakness this season.

I may be biased, but I thought the penalty should never have been given. I thought Mellor actually fouled Goodison in order to get on the wrong side of him, and then, er, 'took advantage' of the minimal contact between them. The second goal, however, was frustrating and self-inflicted, given the ball away cheaply and needlessly when we had pushed men forward for a corner.

It was great to see such a large and vocal Rovers turnout today, and is just a pity that we have now lost touch with the top six. Bournemouth is a must win game next Saturday now.
 

Ian

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How many times are we going to repeat ourselves. Good performance but rubbish refereeing and inability to finish, which really costs us dearly.

14 shots we had with 6 on target. As has been the case in more games this season that we lost. Very frustrating and completely agree with RLC. If we had a striker that knew where the net was, we would be flying. Gutted for the lads, we deserved more but need to be putting our chances away.
 
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Liam Palmer
Looking at the next 6 or 7 fixtures you have to say that if we keep playing well, and especially once we get Robbo and Davaney back, we could win most of them. Apart from Charlton away on my birthday, the others are all winnable if we keep playing the way we are.
 

SonkORLY?

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Good summary and good points made since, I won't paraphrase it or them, so instead will bullet a of couple of things that occurred to me during today's game:

1. Akins.
He was brilliant today. What an unbelievable and unexpected transformation he's undergoing. Ash, too, had a very good game. There are early indications of a pattern emerging with regards to the relative home/away form of these two players, who have in common their young age and their experience of being hounded out by our fans after not playing well.

Lucas has attributed his good form to "having that self belief and confidence and blocking everything out around [him]" - I have little doubt as to the literal nature of 'everything around him' being our impatient and critical matchday crowd. Ash was boo'd pre-match in our last home game just for having the audacity to be selected by the starting line-up. Perhaps these two feel less pressure at away games, which is a bit depressing.

2. 4-3-3 vs 4-3-3.
Our fans tend to bemoan how 4-3-3 tends to take the form of a 4-5-1 quite often, and how Les burdens our wingers with defensive duties, and how Enoch is isolated, etc. But today was interesting because we were - unusually, at this level - up against another 4-3-3, albeit a very traditional one with 3 strikers. I feel it was very naive (and possibly arrogant) of Phil Brown to set his team up in such a way that offered his full-backs such little protection, especially when neither were natural to their position. We found a lot of joy attacking the flanks and ended up creating more chances than Preston, and enjoyed some good spells of possession when Preston's midfield 3 were overloaded with the responsibility of taking care of our " midfield 5". If they doubled up on our widemen they left space for Baxter/Weir, and vice versa. Given this, the stage seemed set for McGurk to play an important role but he still looks short of form after coming back from injury.

3. Mellor
Absolute ****.
 
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Liam Palmer
Interesting stuff, thanks. I think 'fans' who are impatient with the likes of Ash and Lucas (and to an extent Joss) need to remember how young they are. OK, they've been around for a while, but they are still learning and will still make mistakes. Look at the difference in Raven. When we had him first he was 19/20 and looked out of his depth. We get him back 250 appearances later and he looks the complete player for this level. We need to support these young players, especially when they are struggling.
 

SonkORLY?

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Interesting stuff, thanks. I think 'fans' who are impatient with the likes of Ash and Lucas (and to an extent Joss) need to remember how young they are.

I think so too, but more importantly perhaps we need to also remember that our role as a supporter is to - shock horror - support the team; not just financially, but vocally and in our unremitting loyalty to the players and to the club. That's kind of what being a football fan is. We have too many armchair managers at games who seem to miss the point.

Good to see Humey again today.
 
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2. 4-3-3 vs 4-3-3
Our fans tend to bemoan how 4-3-3 tends to take the form of a 4-5-1 quite often, and how Les burdens our wingers with defensive duties, and how Enoch is isolated, etc. But today was interesting because we were - unusually, at this level - up against another 4-3-3, albeit a very traditional one with 3 strikers. I feel it was very naive (and possibly arrogant) of Phil Brown to set his team up in such a way that offered his full-backs such little protection, especially when neither were natural to their position. We found a lot of joy attacking the flanks and ended up creating more chances than Preston, and enjoyed some good spells of possession when Preston's midfield 3 were overloaded with the responsibility of taking care of our "5" midfielders. If they doubled up on our widemen they left space for Baxter/Weir, and vice versa. Given this, the stage seemed set for McGurk to play an important role but he still looks short of form after coming back from injury.

An interesting point. I think I am right in saying Brown switched to 4-4-2 after we equalised and Mayor came on. In his post match interview he quite snidely seemed to suggest our approach had frustrated his freewheeling side in the first half, which I think was his way of saying we had bossed the game and he got his tactics wrong.

I thought it was significant how much better our football was today with Baxter 'in the hole'. Joss just isn't suited to playing this role (perhaps that is why he is frustrated ?), and probably accounts for the dip in our level of performance against Yeovil and Carlisle.

Regarding the barracking of young / out of form players, a group of kids behind me were actually sarcastically 'cheering' Lucas every time he beat the full back. Unbelievable really.
 

SonkORLY?

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An interesting point. I think I am right in saying Brown switched to 4-4-2 after we equalised and Mayor came on. In his post match interview he quite snidely seemed to suggest our approach had frustrated his freewheeling side in the first half, which I think was his way of saying we had bossed the game and he got his tactics wrong.

Yeah. It's a shame that the game didn't really settle enough in that period (between Mayor coming on and Mayor coming off again 10 mins later) to get a real idea of how things had changed, but I think PNE would have been much better equipped to deal with the threat of Akins/McGurk had they started in a 4-4-2. Obviously we then have the numerical advantage in the middle, but it would have forced us into playing narrow and left us very reliant on Baxter to find space between the lines.

And yeah, Labadie playing there is a bit depressing and one-dimensional, whereas Baxter/Robbo have more of a holistic impact in that position. When Labadie plays there then Labadie can take long shots, but when Baxter/Robbo play there the way we play as a team changes.
 

DIW

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Yeah what a gutter. On the way up there I couldn't see us taking anything from the game but the lads performed really well and deserved so much more. Agree with everything that's been said, especially the great performance put in by Akins today as well as Ash. Goodi was excellent as well but we're used to that. Mellor was indeed a disgrace.

Only surprised no-one has yet mentioned that drop ball - what a joke. We have got to turn this lot over at Prenton Park.

Support from the travelling fans was excellent as well - more evidence of getting behind the team like this at home might be a good idea.

Finally - I love going to away games but why do I always end up sitting just behind people with loud mouths who repeatedly shout unfunny comments throughout the game? There are some real morons in our away support.
 

Ian

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Regarding the situation with Mellor. Les warned them before the game not to touch him as he goes down like a sack of spuds. So what did Goodison do, tap him on the shoulder. The second goal was also a soft one to give away. They are their own worst enemies at times.

Having said that, the performances are so much better this season, you can't help feeling it for them after today's game.

Interesting comments from Phil Brown, think he was shocked at how well we played today.

"When 17,500 fans turn up you want to win in style, it was certainly exciting in the second half when Tranmere decided to play attractive football which stifled us.
 

Boz

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Thought an ex-Rover might be influential today, but it was Humey I was thinking of rather than Danny Mayor. #-o

Interesting reading, sounds like we deserved something out of this one. Should Les have changed things sooner when Preston had a man sent off? Wouldn't it have made more sense to keep Enoch on and replace a midfielder with Tiryaki? I'm never that enthused with Goodi playing up-front, which sounds like how we finished.
 
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I think it would have made more sense to leave Enoch up front with Tiryaki, but to be honest with only ten minutes left and Preston determined to cling on to their lead, the horse had already bolted by then. The real killer was the manner in which we conceded the second goal, having worked so hard to get back in the game.
 

Claire

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My first away game for some time
+ points
£10 admission - no wonder it was 17,000 + crowd - well done to PNE for that
Improvement in team performance - I think I might be the only 1, but in the 3 pre-season games I saw Akins I said he would be one to watch this season
Our fans out singing theirs - can we carry this on at home please

- points
The score - defo not a penalty- Mellor shud be ashamed of himself - blatent cheating
The linesman nearest to us - apart from 1 decison might as well have stayed at home, got his pay yesterday for doing absolutely nothing
The constant barracking and abusive behaviour between both sets of fans, no need for it. I paid to watch a game of football NOT listen to constant abuse!

Is it normal practice for the Police to take photographs of away fans - one of them seemed to spend most of the match doing it and I'm sure it wasnt to put in his photo album!!

Bring on Bournemouth
 
M

Mal

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Would Baxter and Robinson be a good combination or are they similar in style and it's a case of one over the other. If not, who should Baxter replace?
 

Boz

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Is it normal practice for the Police to take photographs of away fans - one of them seemed to spend most of the match doing it and I'm sure it wasnt to put in his photo album!!

Heavy-handed policing and taking snaps of away fans seems to be a Preston speciality, it's happened twice when I've been with away fans there, yet to go with Rovers. The same doesn't seem to apply with policing at other Lancs sides, have been to Blackburn and Burnley with Rovers without similar antics.
 

SonkORLY?

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Would Baxter and Robinson be a good combination or are they similar in style and it's a case of one over the other. If not, who should Baxter replace?

Baxter is more than good enough to play slightly deeper if need be, but realistically would have to replace Weir in that instance.
 
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I have seen it suggested on other sites that our slightly different formation and style of play this season doesn't suit Enoch, and this may be a reason for his current struggles (in addition to the injury of course). This argument makes sense to me, as Enoch is a pretty conventional striker, rather than the adaptable, mobile kind of forward who might thrive in a 4-4-1-1.

I wonder if it is worth trying Lucas up front with Devaney on the right ?
 

SonkORLY?

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I have seen it suggested on other sites that our slightly different formation and style of play this season doesn't suit Enoch, and this may be a reason for his current struggles (in addition to the injury of course). This argument makes sense to me, as Enoch is a pretty conventional striker, rather than the adaptable, mobile kind of forward who might thrive in a 4-4-1-1.

You think? We're getting more players around him this year than we did last. His form isn't entirely inexplicable, he's just playing very badly. His touch is off, his movement is awful, he doesn't ever look like being a goal threat. Never wants to take a shot on, rarely looks to receive the ball and link-up play.

I'm not sure about Akins as, despite dramatic improvements, he is still rather lacking in composure.
 

Sparky

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Thanks to those who went for the reports. Sounds like I thought it may go...once again we give a good account of ourselves but are found lacking in the clinical department, i.e. punishing teams when we are on top. I suppose thats the big difference between having someone like Mellor, Wright-Phillips etc as opposed to Enoch at the moment.

On that subject....how did Enoch do ? Most reports touch on Jose and Akins (who continues to surprise me after last season)....but I presume the big man just ran about, put in a shift like recent weeks, but still doesnt look like a goal threat ?
 
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