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Rovers v Posh

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Alan King, Barry Dyson
This is the fixture we would prefer not to have at this stage with current form. We'll do well to get a point and I think we could be in for a two-goal defeat. I also hope we can avoid too many bookings.

The defence picks itself and our best chance must be to play an attack-minded game. I'd be tempted to leave the side much as it started against Crewe, but obviously Jones for Holmes. The only other change might be to give Max a rest and start with Koumas. This might also be a game for Bell-Baggie to feature at some point.
 

frenchrover

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According to the official site, Ronnie is looking to bring in a left-sided centre-back today or tomorrow to be available for the Peterborough game. Given that neither Taylor and Foster apparently like playing left-side, it would seem as though one of them will miss out on Saturday. What a pity this wasn't determined before the start of the season!
 

lonerover

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I'm very nervous about this game, as they score goals for fun, although the do conceded a fair few to. If we can keep in touch, then maybe we can get a positive result from this game. Am more worried about the Thompson and Robinson injuries to be honest as the back four seemed to buck their ideas up a bit at Crewe (apart from Holmes obviously) and Jones seems a good replacement at right back. Depending how Koumas came through the reserves midweek, maybe tempted to give him a start.
 

bigmart

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If we make a loan signing for me Foster will be the one to make way, I cant see anything over than an away win 2 1.
 

Boz

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The o/s doesn't mention Thompson/Robinson being injury doubts, just Goodi and Sodje as definite non-starters. If the left-sided central defender does arrived, I'd also prefer them to be paired with Ash. Otherwise expect the same side that started at Crewe except for Jones replacing the banned Holmes.

While Peterborough will bring a few more than Crawley, I'm not expecting a crowd of more than around 4.7k. In terms of result, Peterborough have started well, although they weren't wholly convincing in beating Oldham. Anything could happen, but I fear an away win is most likely.
 

Ian

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I think apart from the sending off, there was definite improvement against Crewe. I think we'll see a better performance at home. I agree with bigmart, I would replace Foster if given the choice. However, we'll win this one 3-2. :D
 
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The problem is the lack of defensive cover in midfield rather than having a left sided centre back. He should try and sign a defensive midfielder rather than a centre back. Unfortunately once ronnie gets an idea in his head about what's needed there's no turning back - hence signing Sidibe last season, rather than bringing in a central midfielder to take pressure off power and palmer.

Saying that, I wouldn't be surprised if we won this game as we have a habit of beating the good teams but then not beating teams who aren't very good! However Assambolonga is the kind of striker who could easily expose our sides lack of pace. Prediction: 3-4
 

Ian

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I think Robbo and Thompson will be fine. No loan signing, so Jones to replace Holmes in defence.
 
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Very tough game against a side that are likely to finish in the top two. All I will predict is that if we keep a clean sheet (however unlikely) we will win the game.
 
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All I will predict is that if we keep a clean sheet (however unlikely) we will win the game.

Unfortunately we did not manage either.

A complete farce in the end but for thirty minutes of the first half we had looked lively, played some decent football and created chances. However, we are so shambolic defensively at the moment the forward players have no opportunity to give us a foothold in a game. Foster was awful: his error led to the first goal and from that point onwards the jitters returned in the back four. Their second was almost as bad, the centre half given the freedom to run 60 yards before teeing up the striker on the edge of the eighteen yard box. The new right back was out of his depth, as epitomised by penalty and sending off, which I still thought was somewhat harsh.

As difficult as the second half was, I don't think we worked hard enough to stifle them, with Koumas in particular appearing happy to simply float around the pitch; only Fon Williams and Goody really came out with any credit.

Defensively, I think Foster has run out of chances and Goody did well as his replacement today. However, do we really think Ian can play 40 games at this level ? I would dobut it, in which case we will have to find a suitable loan replacement form somewhere in the next few weeks. At right back, Jones was worse than Holmes, so we seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place in that regard.

It may be premature, but it seems we could be in a relegation battle this season. Certainly the next two games, against lesser teams, look massive even at this early stage.

On a personal level, today's game was notable as being the biggest home defeat I have seen in my supporting lifetime.
 
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WildRover

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Agree with all your comments RLC - the red card did seem rather harsh, he wasnt the last man, it was sloppy but not a nasty challenge, a yellow would have been fine, no arguements about the penalty....although ronnie has to take some of the blame subs wise...4-0 down, he takes off rowe, injured, but puts on stockton, instead of a midfield and go for damage limitation (we had trouble scoring 1 never mind 4 goals at the point). Confidence is shockingly bad at the moment! I am expecting an apology from ronnie after that performance, however i reckon we'll hear nothing of the sort...
 

Ian

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Complete shambles. Game was over after 35 minutes.
First goal came about because yet again we were faffing around the back. We don't have the quality to do that. Foster had all the time in the world to clear that ball. Some of the players just aren't good enough. Agree with RLC, Jones looked completely out of his depth. Welcome back Holmes.

Not only is our defence poor, but we need to be doing more up front. Yes, we had a few chances before the collapse and we fluffed them all. I don't recall the keeper making one save, not one. All off target.

Regarding the sending off, not sure why ppl are saying it was harsh. Jones got caught out again and he brought the player down, last man, time to go. It's a shame because I thought Bell-Baggie was quite lively and sadly had to give way for Koumas.

If Ronnie doesn't make changes, we'll be facing a very long, tough season. The loan signings this season have turned out to be really disappointing.
 
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An embarrasing, pathetic and shambolic performance. Peterborough are a quality side but giving them the freedom of Prenton Park to do as they pleased was criminal. What's most concerning is the total lack of organisation throughout the team - on set piecies we're hopeless (another goal conceded), defensively there's no shape (their goal were number 6 ran straight through) and going forward there's no plan - its just pass it across the back 4 then get one of Taylor, Foster or OFW to hoof it. The team made no effort to pass the ball around at all - the midfielders all just charge off to make a 4-2-4 and wait for a hoof, when Peterborough had the ball they just stood and watched.

Unfortunately Ronnie has assembled a very inbalanced squad by wasting money on Koumas and Sodje, when he already had Kirby and Stockton, rather than bringing in a defensive midfielder and a versatile defender. Unless Cresswell is sold at Ipswich and we gain the funds to sign these two players, I think we are in serious danger of going down this season. Whilst Foster is an appaling defender, signing another centre back is not going to solve the problem of us not defending as a team. Ronnie claims in his comments that it's individual mistakes, but it's not - it's the whole team that's failing. We're not organising, we're not covering, we're not pressing, we're not communicating and we're not providing options for the man on the ball. Unless Ronnie realises he needs to address these areas and not just stick in some random under 21 centre back, he should consider his future as manager. When a manager can't identify the problem with his team it's a very dangerous path.

Player Ratings:

OFW 4: Made one excellent save and several decent saves to keep the score down, but is communication with the team is non-existent and his kicking is diabolical.

Jones 4: Looked promising going forward and linked up well with Baggie - but his defending was naive and he failed to get to grips with the opposition. Perhaps unlucky to be sent off with men back, but it was a stupid challenge.

Taylor 4: Looked out of his depth and failed to hold the line, also seemed to miss a header in the build up to the penalty.

Foster 0: Has this guy won a competition to play or something? We should launch a Foster aid to pay up the rest of his contract to get rid of him.

Horwood 3: Tidy on the ball, but hopeless defensively.

Baggie 5: Looked lively and got past a few players but as usual didn't know what to do once he had beaten his man, unlucky to be taken off.

Atkinson 2: Was he playing? Did nothing all match.

Power 3: Tried hard at right back, but like Atkinson was anonymous in midfield.

Robinson 2: Did nothing besides give the ball away and run down blind alleys.

Lowe 3: Worked hard, but should have at least hit the target in the first half when the keeper shanked his clearance. Then got himself booked and injured making a stupid challenge.

Akpa-Akpro 5: Did his best to hold the ball up and had some nice touches. Should have scored when he had two quick shots in the first half.

Subs:

Koumas 0: Burnt a few calories.

Stockton 4: Ran around a bit but wasn't effective at relieving the pressure.

Goodison 6: One dodgy header apart, he settled the back 4 down and at least got the team into some kind of shape, got some studs into Assambolonga which was nice as well - showed the determination and will that the other players lacked.
 
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Unfortunately Ronnie has assembled a very inbalanced squad by wasting money on Koumas and Sodje, when he already had Kirby and Stockton, rather than bringing in a defensive midfielder and a versatile defender.

I don't disagree with the general thrust of your argument, but I don't think Stockton and Kirby are comparable with Koumas and Sodje. Neither of the two youngsters are ready to play yet and it is likely that neither of them will make it at League One level. After last season's shortcomings up front we needed to bring in a further experienced striker, and Sodje gives us a different option up front.

The singing of Koumas troubles me more as time passes, as much because of his influence in the dressing room as on the pitch. He appears to be a primadonna (cf. his comments about being 'forced to play with the kids' last week), which is the last thing that is needed in a struggling side with an apparent lack of leadership from the senior players off the pitch.

I would not blame RM for the defensive signings in the summer. In pre-season the back four looked fine, even against decent opposition, and I doubt he would have imagined that a back four with so much experience would struggle as it has ( I wonder if Foster's lack of recent football at Barnsley is a major factor in his poor form ?).

Where he is culpable is in failing to sign a defensive midfielder. Perhaps he imagined Wallace would be back by now, but it was always a gamble to believe that two very inexperienced midifelders would have the experience / intelligence / physical presence to combine attacking and defensive duties at this level. But even here we have to bear in mind how difficult it is for us, with the peanuts we are offering players, to bring in experience in all positions; maybe a defensive-minded midfielder was not available to us on wages we could afford (after all, Rowe and Atkinson combined are probably costing the club next to nothing, and I would doubt Koumas's salary is exorbitant). On a shoestring budget, there will inevitably be gaps in certain areas .

We did play decent football in the first half hour today, but the creative players are fighting an uphill battle when goals are continually gifted to the opposition. Understandably at three-nil and down to ten men, our play became completely ragged.

I agree that OFW's communication is terrible and is not helping the malfunctioning back four.
 

Ian

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Koumas 0: Burnt a few calories
This made me laugh.

Regarding Goodison, it was interesting to see him organising the defence when he came on. Something we are sorely missing.

Poor discipline again today. A sign the players are really struggling.
 

Boz

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Like RLC, my personal worst in terms of Rovers home defeats. I did see the 6-1 at Hull, but that had the substantial mitigation of Theo being in goal for half of the match.

Up until the penalty and sending off, while clearly second best, we were making a fight of it. There had been one excellent cross by Baggie early on, which the forwards didn't attack and I think at 0-1, Lowe should have at least tested their keeper with the scuffed clearance that came to him. I didn't understand our use of short corners and that Robinson was taking all corners again, none of which came to very much.

My opinion was the sending off was harsh. Red cards are for denying obvious goalscoring opportunities, at first glance, the fouled player wasn't directly in front of goal and there were a couple of other covering defenders. While not an excuse, the referee seemed to give every minor touch against a Peterborough player as a foul and let challenges against Baggie and JLAA go unpunished.

After the sending-off, I did not fathom Ronnie's substitution. Goodison should have come on at that point, either moving Ash/Foster to right-back or replacing Foster. Koumas is not a defensive midfielder; Baggie put more effective challenges in than he managed, and Jason is nowhere near fit. Stockton for Lowe later on was more understanable given the latter's injury and the yellow card from the wild challenge which caused it.

On RTIDs player ratings, largely agree. I'd have given OFW a 5, although did wonder if he perhaps should have gone for the ball that led to the first goal. A 4 was generous for Jones, who showed little defensive ability and made minimal impact going forward. Aside from Goodi, I felt Akpa Akpro was our best player, kept battling despite taking a lot of punishment and had just about our only effort on target.

I share the concerns that Ronnie is blind to the lack of a defensive midfielder and lack of teamwork and organisation. While they are a good team, play-off certs, maybe automatics, we made Peterborough look world-class by comparison here. Agree a long, hard season ahead and short of any inspirational loan signings, don't see any light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon.
 

bigmart

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that was one of the worst performances ive seen in watching rovers for nearly 40 years, we were totally shambolic hardly put in a tackle all day and the defense was truly awful.

unless we get in a couple of decent signings we are certain to go down. Foster is clearly finished and is on a 2 year deal, Lowe is struggling Robinson spends more time falling over than doing anything, Atkinson was very poor and the rest were very bad or worse except Baggie who did ok and Akpa Akpro put himself about.
 

WildRover

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Which brings the next question - bearing in mind we havent won a game (bar the mickey mouse cup against a L2 side) for what? 20ish games.....how much longer before the booing of Ronnie, etc starts? In some ways last season has made it difficult simply because the bar has been raised so much higher, and relegation was not even on the horizon before August!
 

Higgy

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I must admit I was surprised Ronnie was surprised when he was told by both centre halfs that they can't/won't play on the left of the central two.........may be more home work required in future.

Two things getting in the way of having a defensive midfielder are we don't have any apparently, and the formation. 4-4-2 does not really lend itself to a defensive midfielder- with one sitting back the other cetral guy would get overun furether forward. If we played 5 across the middle it would help and I wonder if for now, whether Rowe could do the job - he is a strong energetic lad and seems to like a tackle, although granted a lot to prove and not preferred position - but desperate times......?

Don't rate Bell- Baggie - has some skill and pace, but nothing seems to result from it. Hope Thompson back soon as even without his recent improvement he did get the odd effort on goal when played last seaso. If Kirby is behind Bell-Baggie in pecking order he clearly can't be any good.

Just a thought it might be harder to bring loanees in now we have had a bad start.
 
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