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Rovers v Fleetwood

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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
A first ever competitive meeting with the Cods and a chance for several of the players who did not feature on Saturday to get a game. I would expect that Lowe, Thompson and Sodje will all start as, unfortunately, will Ian Goodison as Dugdale is cup-tied for this game: it will be asking a lot for Ian to play another ninety minutes, so hopefully there will be no negative repercussions.

I always have mixed feelings about this competition as in reality we do not have a squad big enough to cope with action on four fronts. However, it is important we put in another performance and maintain the improvement of the last seven days. Despite the inconvenient kick off time, the gate will hopefully sneak above 2,000.
 

bigmart

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think will be a crowd of about 1800, don't think will make too many changes wouldn't be a surprise if went to pens again.
 

Boz

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Can't remember the exact rules, but think we're not allowed to change more than 5 from the last league game. Both Danny Holmes and Andrai Jones can play central defence, it would be worth giving Goodi a rest. Koumas is another who perhaps could do with a breather, perhaps a chance to give Kirby a start. Otherwise, as bigmart suggests, probably not too many changes.

I'd like us to progress in this competition, while understanding RLCs reservations. Agree with the sub 2k crowd estimate and think this will be a tight game.
 

WildRover

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Kevin Gray (ha!)
dunno why they dont do free entry for ST holders for this competition, like they used to in the LC eons ago....anyway, 1-0 win for us
 

Ian

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Aldo
For some reason, I have no interest in this one.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
With Wallace, Robinson, Dugdale and Bell-Baggie all unavailable for various reasons, Ronnie hasn't got much choice. He can't rest more than a couple of players. I'd like to see us progress, but league points are more important so I hope Goodi gets a well-earned rest. As Boz suggests, I'd play Holmes or Jones at CB. We may be forced to improvise later in the season, so let's experiment now.

I think Fleetwood will be more up for it than Rovers, so I'm not confident. If we can't get 4,000 for Bolton, I can't see many more than 2,000 turning up tomorrow, unless the novelty of Fleetwood and the cheaper prices appeal.
 

bigmart

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Although not the most important game of our season its disappointing to get nocked out by a lower league side, our squad size really does concern me as we could do with another centre half and a defensive midfielder (if only we could afford to bring back steve Jennings).
 
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What should have been a routine win against mediocre opposition ended in defeat because of shocking defending. Their equaliser was comical, a mix up between Fon Williams and Taylor in the eighteen yard box which left the striker with an open goal: in my view Fon Williams was at fault as he should be taking control on the edge of his own six yard box, knocking Taylor out of the way to clear the ball if need be. Fonners' command of the 18 yard box and his communciation with the back four still leaves a lot to be desired. After that, the defensive jitters returned and their second goal was equally poor, both Goodison and Taylor putting in limp challenges to leave the striker clean through on goal. Goody was clearly tired in the seocnd half, so hopefully this evening's problems were a one-off and not a return to the defensive form of a couple of weeks ago.

More fundamentally, I don't think the diamond formation will work for us at home. The system is fine away from home and against higher quality opposition, but despite having good possession of the ball we struggled to create tonight without any width in our play.

I am not massively concerned about going out of this competition, but the manner of the defeat was difficult to stomach. With more options for the manager, hopefully we will put this game behind us on Saturday.

Incidentally, tonight was the first time in 25 years that a crowd at PP has dropped below 2,000 for a senior game. The last occasion was a Leyland DAF game against Stockport in December 1988 which, as it happens, I also attended.
 

Ian

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Did we create any chances of note? How did Sodje get on? Low attendance, for a fairly low key affair. I know a lot of regulars who were missing out on this one. I'd agree with whoever said they should make this free for season ticket holders. A least it would bring some more through the gates.

I'm starting to think is this competition really worth it? If they scrapped it, there's still the league and two cup competitions to compete in.
 
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No, we did not create a great deal which brings me back to my point about the formation. If teams come to PP and play one up front with ten men behind the ball, we are really going to struggle to break them down unless we play with wingers. The diamond formation was great in the short term to give protection to a struggling defence, but longer term I don'tthink it will be the answer.

Sodje won a lot of headers and did ok in the first half, but was poor in the second as were most of the other players. Difficult to judge him as we kept decent possession but lacked penetration for the majority of the game. On a positive note, Jake Kirby did pretty well when he came on and seems to be adapting to first team football.
 

bigmart

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Apparently Steve Jennings was at the match tonight and is training with us, Koumas out least 2 weeks with groin injury.
 

frenchrover

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To sum up tonight's performance in one word.......shameful! One shot on target and that was the free kick from which the goal was scored. I agree with RLC that as a competition the JPT does rank well below the League as a priority but nevertheless it did represent our best chance of getting to Wembley and earning some much needed revenue. But perhaps more importantly tonight was all about staying tight in defence, maximising our goal scoring opportunities and developing that winning mentality which is so important irrespective of the competition. In all respects tonight it was a dismal failure.

Fleetwood are a good Conference side or at best an average 2nd Division set-up but tonight we failed miserably throughout to threaten to breakdown their defence. We looked "pretty" at times passing across the back four or through the mid-field but without any end product at all. Ryan Lowe was totally anonymous sitting behind the front two and neither Stockton nor Sodje ever looked like causing the Fleetwood defence any trouble. In fact Fleetwood were more than happy for us have all the possession we wanted and just wait for the inevitable breakdown of move after move.

As RLC says their first goal was laughable and Fon Williams needs to take a long hard look at himself because whilst he is very good as a "shot-stopper" he leaves an awful lot to be desired in so far as his decision making is concerned and his ability to dominate his 18 yard box is totally lacking. Unfortunately to be a really good keeper you have to be able to have all these attributes. I cannot believe he will ever be first choice for Wales and his inclusion in their squad is, I believe, an unneccessary distraction to his club career.

Tonight the admission prices were reduced but frankly the club should consider reimbursing all monies to those few who bothered to turn up as we should not be expected to pay good money to watch, what at times, looked like a training session. As a supposed cup tie it was, Goody's two clattering "tackles" excepted, a spineles dispirited performance. We all know the squad is threadbare and there have been dressing room "spats", but if Moore cannot motivate them to better than this then he really should begin to consider his position.

So on to Saturday and Stevenage, play like this again and without the shadow of a doubt another defeat is on the cards.
 
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I think some of French Rover's comments above are a bit harsh. It was not that bad a performance, just a typical JPT game. At half time we were cruising and if it had not been for a couple of individual errors we would have comfortably won the game. Ryan Lowe was actually my man of the match last night; I was impressed with how sharp he looked playing in an unfamiliar role 'in the hole'.

Fleetwood are also much better than Conference standard. They are the wealthiest club in League Two and one of the promotion favourites.

In the majority of recent seaons we have gone out of this competition in the early rounds, regardless of league performances, so it is dangerous to read too much into JPT games. It is the crazy season if we start questioning the manager's position after going out of the Johnstone Paints.
 

andrewesq

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I know the early stages of this comp are annoying ( I think the devaluing came when half the teams are given byes to the next round and we the regional drawing - but no doubt the crowds would be more than 2K if we were in semis or final). We should have won at half time we were ahead, but 2nd half was poor terrible defending, but as Ronnie says even at 1-1 we could have played on and motivated ourselves to win instead we caved in. Disappointing,
 

Ian

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I can see were frenchrover is coming from. I think the general pattern is more concerning than the individual game. Regardless of the competition, there's a worrying pattern forming.

We are struggling in defence, we are struggling to score goals and create chances and some players are anonymous in games. I think it's only going to continue until something drastic happens. I can guarantee on Saturday that we'll struggle in defence and have only a couple of shots on target.

I also agree that playing it around the back really has no benefits because apart from wasting time and not really being positive at home. Ronnie calls for patience but patience will be getting thin if this continues. We need to be more direct and get the ball in into the danger areas.
 
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I think the general pattern is more concerning than the individual game. Regardless of the competition, there's a worrying pattern forming.
Yes, but the Bolton and Oldham games were a big improvement on previous matches and suggested our form was heading in a better direction. Plus we have had several key players missing for the last couple of games.

Our defending has been better since Foster left so time will tell if last night was a brief hiccup. I agree that there is an issue regarding creativity with the formation we are currently playing, but if we do remain more solid at the back we will have the option of switching back to 4-4-2.
 

Boz

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I was puzzled at the team selection v Fleetwood. It seemed like an opportunity to rest Goodi, although it sounds like he was one of our better players apart from the mix up for the goal. While it is encouraging that Lowe did well played out of position, he really should have been deployed as a striker; Ronnie's unhealthy obsession with having a target man meant Sodje filling that role.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
Last week we made two steps forward. On Tuesday was it a step back? The danger with experimenting in the JPT is that you lose continuity and possibly momentum. If Ronnie and the team learned something from the game and the players can put the experience behind them, then we can move on to Saturday with some confidence. But if we don't win our next match, I fear we are back to square one.

Good news that Steve Jennings could be joining us. Coventry have released some good players. Steve could be our saviour if James Wallace's absence continues.
 

Ian

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The only key player we are really missing is Wallace.
Good news that Steve Jennings could be joining us. Coventry have released some good players. Steve could be our saviour if James Wallace's absence continues.
We must be struggling if we think Steve Jennings can save us. What's the obsession with bringing back ex-players?
 
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I doubt that Jennings is coming as his wage demands are apparently way beyond what we can afford. Ronnie confirmed today that he is not actually training with us.

However, it appears we may be signing an out of contract left back.
 
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