Rovers v Crawley

Boz

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Interesting first home league game. Crawley are a side I'd expect to be upper mid table, defensively seem a bit brittle. Mike Jones, Ronnie reject likely to feature for them. Referee Mr Hill is reputed to be one of the more card-happy pedants on the FL list.

I would expect us to line up as Mansfield save Power replacing Rowe, if he's over his illness. I'd rather see JLAA than Sodje up front as he's more capable of creating something, but Ronnie seems to have a fixation on target men. At least from reported remarks, the JLAA as winger experiment is over.

Crowd-wise, the visitors won't bring many and with summer holidays, we'll be down a few. I'd be surprised if we tip 4.5k.

Score-draw feels most likely here.
 

bigmart

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2 1 home win with a crowd of just over 5000.
 

Ian

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I'd rather see JLAA than Sodje up front as he's more capable of creating something
I agree Boz. Sodje is cannon fodder for long balls. Lets play the ball on the floor and get some neat balls into the front two from out wide.

Crawley will be buoyant after their 3-2 victory against Coventry but I still see this going our way. 2-0 win with a 5500 crowd.
 

WildRover

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1-0 to us, just to start off the season at home for us
 
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Just because Sodje plays there is no reason why we should play long balls to him, and in fairness on Tuesday night the ball stayed on the floor, for the first 45 minutes at least. Akpro has not looked like creating, or even doing, anything for months and I personally think he is massively overrated.

I would rather Sodje started as I think he can form a more effective partnership with Lowe and has scored goals throughout his career, which JLAA has not.

I think the gate will be about 5,ooo for what should be a good game of football. Crawley are a decent passing side, very similar to Walsall in many ways, so it will be interesting to see how the back four cope after last week's struggles.
 

Boz

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Just because Sodje plays there is no reason why we should play long balls to him, and in fairness on Tuesday night the ball stayed on the floor, for the first 45 minutes at least. Akpro has not looked like creating, or even doing, anything for months and I personally think he is massively overrated.

I would rather Sodje started as I think he can form a more effective partnership with Lowe and has scored goals throughout his career, which JLAA has not.
A bit harsh, JLAA's season was much like Rovers great first half, indifferent second.

I haven't seen that much of Sodje, he wasn't a player who alerted the radar when playing against us. My impression is that neither he or Lowe are particularly good creators, while Sodje lacks the finishing ability of Lowe. With Akpa Akpro, there is a bit more unpredictabilty, giving more options up front.
 

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JLAA had a fantastic first half of last season. Daft red card, injuries and loss of team form finished his season off, but he's a good player who can get you goals. I think he has quite a good eye for goal and can move well with the ball. I think as long as we get service to the front two, we'll get goals. I thought Lowe was a little bit starved of service on Tues night, I'd like to see him given more opportunities in front of goal.
 
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I think Lowe will beneft most from having a good supply from out wide, which he had in pre-season when Thompson was a regular: hopefully Joe will keep his place in the coming weeks.

Sodje is no world-beater but he works very hard and does a lot of physical work outside the box which takes pressure off Lowe. I think the very fact his play is more predictable than JLAA makes him a better strike partner; Akpro is very hard to read at times, drfiting out wide and seeming to play a game of his own.

I probably have been a bit harsh on Akpro who I certainly enjoyed watching in the first half of last season, but I think some of our fans have a blinkered view of him, when his career record is pretty patchy. Based on performance levels in pre-season / this season, Sodje deserves to be starting ahead of him in my opinion.
 
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An open and entertianing game and a fair result. Crawley are an inventive side and probably deserved a point, but it is incredibly frustrating to lose two goals from set plays AGAIN. The back four actually coped quite well in open play, with Taylor having his most solid game so far, but until we can defend set pieces as a team we will achieve nothing.

I was pleased that we again tried to play from the back and there were a lot of good displays: Robbo was my man of the match, Thompson took both goals very well indeed, Lowe had a quiet game but showed what he is all about by being in the right place for the equaliser when it really mattered. Koumas looked stronger when he came on and played a couple of fantastic balls, one of which should have been finished by Akpro, who was otherwise quite lively. The referre was useless: how we ended up with three bookings in a game that was not even physical is beyond me.

Crawley were pretty impressive going forwards, but one area of concern is the ease with which they got at us down the flanks, notably for their second goal, which perhaps highlights a slight defensive weakness in the fullback positions.

The gate was disappointing and probably reflects our tailing off at the end of last season.

Just important that we did not lose today or we could have found ourselves on a bit of a downward spiral.
 

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you sure you we watching the same game RLC? The defence was awful, I hope Foster gave Ash his wages this week, as Ash was basically covering the centre of defence on his own, and can Horwood only has back? We have lost all the pace that made the 1st half of last season so successful, and the whole confidence issues that we have had most seasons is back again, along with the whole set piece issue not being addressed desipte knowing that it was a major downfall from last year. I think we are in for a long season on that showing, though at least we do seem to be finding the net again...
 
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you sure you we watching the same game RLC? The defence was awful, I hope Foster gave Ash his wages this week, as Ash was basically covering the centre of defence on his own, and can Horwood only has back? We have lost all the pace that made the 1st half of last season so successful, and the whole confidence issues that we have had most seasons is back again, along with the whole set piece issue not being addressed desipte knowing that it was a major downfall from last year. I think we are in for a long season on that showing, though at least we do seem to be finding the net again...
Er, yes I was watching the game where Crawley scored one goal in open play, one fewer than us. I am not sure what Foster's 'terrible game' had to do with our failure to pick up from set plays, where all but one outfield player has an opposing player to mark.

I did not notice any confidence issues. We scored three goals and played some good football and had the guts to level in the 95th minute.

Crawley are a good side, so only taking a point from them hardly suggests relegation.
 

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3-3 sounded like an exciting game, but it wasn't in truth. Defensively, we look a lot poorer this time around and like RLC mentions, we have weaknesses in the full back positions. There is no pace in the defence and this whole playing it around the back is asking for trouble. We don't have good enough players to do it. The majority of us playing it around the back in the first half ended up with a long boot from Ash usually towards Sodjes head. Really, what is the point?

I think Ash had more of the ball than anyone. Is that right?

I'm glad Ronnie changed it around in the second half and brought on players that can play it more in the floor. Long balls disappeared and we played some more football on the floor.

I know Lowe got us the last min equaliser, but he wasn't in the game for the other 89 minutes. We have to get him more involved, or he needs to get more involved. I don't think our front two had a shot between them in the first half.

I was pleased for Thomson who played well and took his goals well even if he did fade in the second half.

Really not sure why we can't defend set pieces, it's been a problem for a while now. Every time we address it, we end up back at square one. Needs sorting desperately. Also not sure why Ronnie is complaining about playing too deep. That's what happens when you have the ball in the opponents half and it gets played back to defence for them to faff around with.

Overall, I think we are looking vulnerable at the back and lightweight up front. I think a lot has to change if we are to be competitive this season.
 
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I think Danny Holmes is in his poorest form defensively since joining us and I just don't think Horwood can defend to be honest. His deliveries into the box are excellent and he was always noted as an attacking full back, so maybe it is a case of just having to take the rough with the smooth........

I still maintain that other than the set plays we were much better at the back than last week (not saying much I know). If we could defend basic corners and free kicks we would have won the game.

I generally support the policy of playing out from the back, we just need to be ten yards higher up the pitch when we do it and the ball needs to be shifted more quickly, which in turn needs better movement up front. I am not really sure what the alternative is. Long punts from Ash to Sodje ? I am not sure that is a viable option.

We have to remember it is still very early days and we have a much-changed side; there is plenty of time for all aspects of our play to improve.
 
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Boz

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I agree with Ian that it wasn't as exciting as you might expect from a 3-3, with defensive lapses from both sides contributing to the tally. The last minute equaliser from Lowe was fun though.

I didn't think Horwood had that bad a game. One very good cross going forward in the first half. However, Robinson in front of him was often out of position, offering him little protection, so I'm not inclined to be too critical. Thompson covered Holmes much better, yet Danny scarcely ventured out of our half except to take throw-ins. Foster was unimpressive, seeming to display most of Ash Taylor's bad points with none of his redeeming features. We are also in need of a defensive midfielder to sit closer to the back four and give an 'out' ball on the deck rather than aimless hoofs in the general direction of Sodje. Atkinson played well in patches, but like all the central midfielders on our books is more suited to an attacking role. I've previously been unhappy with our lack of defensive cover, this is made worse by the lack of balance in midfield.

I thought Lowe worked quite hard, but in this game was required to go looking for the ball as not much getting through to him. Sodje won most of the ball in the air, but there was nobody close to him to benefit from his flick-ons. Akpa Akpro gave Crawley more to think about defensively when coming on. Due to our lack of pace, I did feel there was a case for bringing on Bell-Baggie at some point, though both subs the manager made were positive.

MoM Either Thompson for the well-taken goals or Robinson for all-round effort.
 

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Holmes while not a bad defender overall is slow on the turn and doesn't possess much pace. He struggles against someone wily and quick. He's also useless going forward. He kind of freezes if he steps past the half way line. Horwood doesn't seem too bad, but it's early days. Unsure about Foster.

On a side note, Andy Doyles answer to our defensive problems is to bring back 40-year old Ian Goodison. Brilliant..
 

bigmart

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We are poor at the back at the moment with only really Ash in any sort of decent form the other 3 are struggling at the moment and this is rather concerning.

When we pass the ball around and pass it at pace we look quite a decent side but we are lacking in pace throughout the side and at times we pass the ball far too slowly. Thought Max had a poor game and was beaten far too easily for the 2nd goal. Thompson was easily mom and hopefully now he will go on and have a good run in the side.

As for Crawley being a good side I doubt it as they look as poor as us defensivly.
 
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Although Crawley are poor at the back, they have quality going forwards and will probably finish in mid table or slightly higher. This was the third game in a row that they had scored three goals.

I think the lack of pace in the back four may be the reason why the defence is so reluctant to squeeze up to the half way line. Because the back four are too deep, the defence can't get in contact with the midfield and when we play out from the back the only option is a sideways pass or a 60 yard punt. Yesterday Atkinson showed for the ball a number of times but had to come deep into his own half to pick up the ball from the centre backs. This is also having the knock-on effect that Thompson is receiving the ball too deep, on the half way line instead of in the final third, whcih may be a reason why the service to Lowe is so poor at the moment.

Boz makes an interesting point about getting exposed down the left because Robbo is going walkabout in the mdifield. I think he is doing this because of our lack of physical presence and defensive cover in the middle. I think we are going to have nominate one of the midfielders to sit in front of the back four for the whole game (or bring in a defensive midfielder) to get the right balance in the side.
 

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If we are going to have a man sitting in front of defence we may have to have 5 across the middle and if Robbo is continually out of position may be he should have licence to roam...although we have been here before. Our midfielders are more attacking minded, but maybe Rowe could offer some cover at the back, but may need to improve a tad first.
I agree with earlier points re weak defence with not a lot of options waiting in the wings. Apart from set plays I felt the Crawley guy took an age to get round the back and get his head up....Horwood switched off while ano dealt with it. Think we will continue to ship goals until it is sorted, which might take new additions.
 

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I think Ronnie is more than willing to dip into the loan market again if the defensive problems aren't sorted out. No guarantee that will improve things though.

I was also frustrated Koumas came on and played so deeply. He really needs to be playing in a more advanced midfield position, but I guess this goes hand in hand with the comments above regarding our positioning and play style.
 
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for me our midfield is the main problem.
having a weak centre mid is having a knock on effect in the whole team.

Robbo coming in to help out,
Thommo dropping back,

This is leaving gaps everywhere else.

The club needs to make a decision over Wallace.... I am a huge fan of his, and think he is the the best player by a country mile...

BUT
He is likely to be out for another 4-5 weeks min, plus 3 weeks to gain match fitness..... We need a strong match winning midfielder NOW!!

Facts:-
1. Wallace is the biggest earner in the squad and his wages will be stopping us from getting a decent laoan midfielder.

2. We might only get 15 games from him this season before he can walk away on a free. Can we justify his wages for a possible 15 games?
(if he signed a contract extension I would be happier).

Defo summit to ponder over...............


I like Max Power, but for me he still looks like a boy playing with men. (When he pulled the Crawley attacker just outside our area in the first half showed this point up.)

Right Foot Rowe is not the answer either.
 
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