Rovers v North Ferriby United

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A third league win and another clean sheet for Micky, so you can't be unhappy. FGR remain the team to beat, but they are still only a couple of wins ahead of us. Given that Micky is still getting to know his players, we are doing remarkably well. The Dover game will be a bell-weather on how we are doing, then we get a two week break because of our FA Cup exit. By then, most of the injured players should be back.
 
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Cowshed Kid

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I was saying there should be an appeal even before Nors had left the pitch.
The worst he could have expected was a yellow for going for the loose ball when perhaps the keeper was favourite.
Didn't see any punches thrown, though one of theirs was keen to push Nors about.
Terrific centre forward's header from Cook to win it.
What is refreshing now is that we have players on the bench who can come on and give us something different, make the other team less comfortable.
 

Boz

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I thought we played well in the second half and came away feeling positive. It was a very different attitude and performance to what we saw under Brabin.

I also don't accept the idea that the midfield is not creating. We created a number of chances tonight, but it is very difficult against a team that has no interest in crossing the halfway line. We scored three at Solihull, three against Woking, two against Wrexham, so there are definite signs of improvement in the attacking areas.
You made reference in your initial post-match remarks to a lack of width. However all of our goals in the games mentioned have come from forwards and the winner here was created by a left-back. It sounded like neither Harris or Maynard had good games and while Lois has enough credit from earlier games to compensate, it's a struggle to recall a good game from Harris this season. Duggan and Osborne (if he's still here)seem out of favour, limiting options in the centre of the park.
 
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You made reference in your initial post-match remarks to a lack of width. However all of our goals in the games mentioned have come from forwards and the winner here was created by a left-back. It sounded like neither Harris or Maynard had good games and while Lois has enough credit from earlier games to compensate, it's a struggle to recall a good game from Harris this season. Duggan and Osborne (if he's still here)seem out of favour, limiting options in the centre of the park.
I was commenting on the creativity of the team generally and since Mellon took over we have looked far more like scoring. Not all our goals have been created by full backs. Harris has been poor individually and will be replaced when Jennings is fit and we have other players in the squad now - tollitt, Stephenson - who are helping to create. Lack of goals from the midfielders is still an issue, as I have said myself previously.
 

Ian

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Not impressed by Harris at the moment. Seems to be disappearing in games. I like Tollitt. Very lively player who likes making runs, looks for a pass and isn't afraid to have a go.

I know NFU were extremely cautious all night but I just felt like we struggled to create anything meaningful. Their keeper was quite comfortable mainly just catching balls in the air. With the quality in the squad we should be doing better. Like I say first 45 was a write off.

It's a very fickle game as we know but had Cook not scored with a minute to go there would have been booes at FT. Maybe I'm being too harsh.

Regarding Norwood from what I could see, the keeper wasn't happy that Norwood challenged for the ball, they both pushed each other. Arms were raised. Keeper was already on a yellow for time wasting, referee should have penalised him too. Possibly a yellow at best.
 

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I felt we were far too narrow in the first half. The system that worked at Solihull simply didn't function in the first 45mins. We had no width apart from the full backs - neither of which are wingers. The first half almost reminded me of some of GBs performances - on the back of a good away performance, at home, we struggled to break teams town. We have a great target man in Cook so why we weren't playing to his strengths by playing wide midfielders I don't know.

Credit to Micky for changing it so soon into the 2nd half. Tollitt looks a good player at this level and has genuine pace. We kept plugging away but as Ian says, despite all our corners and possession, their keeper didn't have too many saves to make. Ridehalgh who does have his faults put in a great ball powered home by Cook who once again looked exhausted at the end. Even before Stephenson came on, I felt the midfield was too negative - 3 of them being Harris, Maynard & Hughes - not of them particularly creative.

The sending off looked harsh. I was pretty close in the Kop and there was nothing more than handbags from what I saw. Their keeper, presumably frustrated having just let in a late goal, went down like he'd been knocked out and I think the ref fell for it. Hopefully video evidence will be clear enough and we can appeal.

Agree with RLC re M.o.m Jeff Hughes. He drove us forward and whilst I'm not his biggest fan, he was excellent. I still think though we need more in terms of turning all this possession in the final third into real chances where we are testing the keeper. Still think some guile and creativity in the final third is needed.

No Adam Dawson on the Eastleigh bench last night for a change...
 
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Ian

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According to NFU website they were denied a deserved pint last night. That may be so but they certainly weren't denied a deserved point! :D Or maybe their manager doesn't like them drinking after the game.
 
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Boz

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I agree with Sparky that for a game where we all knew the opponents would park the bus, a more positive midfield was called for. It didn't sound like there was much played on the deck for the front players to latch on, something Hughes and Maynard are capable of. It sounded like most of the ammunition last night was coming from Ridehalgh. There have been a lot of positives from Micky's Rovers so far, but still much to be done.
 
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I don't agree with boz's comments. Our passing through midfield was perfectly ok, there was just no penetration (in the first half). Other than the goal, ridehalgh was not particularly prominent. Hughes was excellent on the ball, maynard less so. It is easy to criticise Mellon for the starting line up, but it would have been very harsh to drop almond and Kirby after the performance at Solihull. And when change was needed, it was made promptly and we won the game. More generally, NFU have only conceded one or two goals in most games and you should not underestimate how difficult it is to break down a team like them. I know brabin used that excuse every home game, but last night it was actually true.
 

Boz

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My view from the outset was an injection of pace was required for this game. As Jennings was injured, this could have been achieved while still retaining Kirby and Almond, if that was felt desirable.

It is inevitable that there will be different viewpoints about our struggle to break NFU down and appreciate that my observations were second hand as I didn't make the game.

Haven't seen anything regarding appealing the Norwood red card yet?
 
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Mellon said last night we are appealing, so I assume we are waiting for a response. Having watched the highlights, it was a ludicrous decision even by the refereeing standards of this division.

Ricky Miller is available to play for Dover on Saturday unfortunately, so we could really do with Norwood for that game.
 

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I noticed in MM's post match comments he touches briefly on the fact that we don't really have any wingers while referencing Tollitt and Stephenson as bring able to do a job there. Not to sure where this leaves Mekki in the pecking order though.. Just watched the highlights as well and the referee was completely conned by their GK. Hopefully the appeal will be successful.
 

Boz

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Re wingers; Stephenson was alternating playing on the wing and up front for Chorley, Tollit looks more of a striker. Agree Mekki seems out of the picture, MM ought to be aware of Daren Askew, the first year pro who plays there and made the bench once last season. I hope that Micky is going to give the younger players a chance, rather than write them off, maybe someone will ask about this at the OSC meeting. Mitch Duggan doesn't seem to be in favour despite a good start. Hope that Paul Carden, who had the bottle to give Duggan a chance, does well in his new job at Warrington
 

Sparky

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I actually think Tollit is more of a winger than a striker. He has real pace which he again showed on Tuesday. He can beat and stretch defenders and although his delivery isn't perfect, that's probably why Pompey were willing to let him join us. The more pace we have the better so I'd try and keep him as long as we can. He linked up quite well with Nors once or twice too.

Stephenson is different in that he is less of a winger and more of a front man I would say. A better finisher but like Tollit I guess, far from the finished article.

Mekki is a bit of a conundrum. I think if you looked at the overall minutes he has played since he's been with us, he hasn't contributed enough in my view. He has showed flashes of skill but was very limited in pace and has real fitness issues, often tiring last season and rarely playing a full 90. Probably why before us he never settled anywhere and I'll be surprised if he's with us next year. You probably have Almond, Kirby, Stephenson, Tollit all ahead of him in the pecking order and rumours exists that we're after another winger.

Re the sending off, I've had a look a few times and thought Nors did raise his left arm a bit, nothing to knock the keeper over but I would not be surprise if any appeal fails. Hope I'm wrong as Saturday will be hard enough as it is. Miller will be a real test especially for Big Mac with his movement etc. Big Steve will have to deliver another forearm smash !
 
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Re wingers; Stephenson was alternating playing on the wing and up front for Chorley, Tollit looks more of a striker. Agree Mekki seems out of the picture, MM ought to be aware of Daren Askew, the first year pro who plays there and made the bench once last season. I hope that Micky is going to give the younger players a chance, rather than write them off, maybe someone will ask about this at the OSC meeting. Mitch Duggan doesn't seem to be in favour despite a good start. Hope that Paul Carden, who had the bottle to give Duggan a chance, does well in his new job at Warrington
He has only been in the job a few weeks and is having to do a significant amount of assessment whilst trying to hit the ground running in this league. There is a time and place for blooding youngsters. No point paying for full time pros if he isn't going to try them out in the initial assessment. Once he has assessed who can do what, and there is no reason to believe he is ignoring youth, I am sure Micky will do what he thinks is the best option. And that may or may not include trying out some youngsters.
 

Cowshed Kid

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Nors' appeal up in smoke.
Video evidence inconclusive apparently.
Outrageous!
 

Boz

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He has only been in the job a few weeks and is having to do a significant amount of assessment whilst trying to hit the ground running in this league. There is a time and place for blooding youngsters. No point paying for full time pros if he isn't going to try them out in the initial assessment. Once he has assessed who can do what, and there is no reason to believe he is ignoring youth, I am sure Micky will do what he thinks is the best option. And that may or may not include trying out some youngsters.
IF, like his predecessor, MM doesn't want to use the younger players then is there any point in keeping them on? Could use the money for more seasoned pros instead.

I have no idea what his view is on youngsters, which was why my hope was Micky would be asked about this at the OSC event tonight. If they're good enough then they're old enough as the saying goes.

I am surprised the Norwood red wasn't overturned.
 
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Give the man a break, he has enough other issues to deal with as it is without being castigated for not playing kids who were nowhere near the first team set up before he arrived. He has already shown he is willing to play younger players by backing almond, Kirby and Stephenson, but they have to be ready and they have to be good enough. It almost seems that as our prospects on the pitch improve, some people have to divert attention to another 'problem' to have a moan.
 

Ian

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To be fair RLC, Boz has always been an advocate of playing the kids. I do however think there is plenty of time for this development, but it certainly isn't now.
 
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