Rovers v York

bigmart

bigmart
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Ian Muir
That was a very disappointing performance and we were frankly lucky to get a point against an ordinary side. Holmes Woodards and Fon aside nobody really played well, the passing was very poor there was no cohesion to the play and there was very little link up play.

Holness was for me as bad as Laird he looked very shaky especially with the ball at his feet.

First impressions can be misleading but the performance left a lot to be desired.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Whilst I would say York were the better team, don't forget we also had our fair share of chances but fluffed them in both halves. Notably Stockton in the first half and Bell-Baggie in the second.

Yes, I agree. If we had played that poorly against a top six side last season - say, Peterborough or Orient - we would have lost 4-0, which at least demonstrates that we are more competitive at this level. The stats were fairly even yesterday and York only really carved us open when we went down to ten men near the end.
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
I think on chances created Ian is right. However, it certainly felt that York had a lot more possession in the final third. The fact they didn't make the most of it may be connected with their depleted strike-force.

While I was surprised at the sponsors selection of Holness for MoM, I didn't think he was that bad. Won most things in the air and while there was a suicidal pass to an opponent early in the first half, unlike Laird he then closed the player down to prevent any significant advantage being gained. He'll be out with a hamstring problem for a few weeks, so presume either McDonald or Hill will stand in for him.
 
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Backayogo
I thought we were headless chickens. After the friendlies I thought Stockton would like a bit better however he still has the control of a wardrobe. Things have to improve.
 

Sparky

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Chris Greenacre
What was clear from Saturday is that we are very much still a work in progress. As frustrating as the performance was, several times I needed to remind myself of the fact that the club has undergone major changes both in playing staff and management. Therefore a point against a side who were in the play offs last season and clearly have been playing together for a while, was not a bad result at all.

That said there were some poor performances and not just from the debutants. I thought Fonners & Holmes did ok and Woodards was MOM for me. Clearly a player who without bad injuries could have been at a higher level. I was not impressed by the 2 central defenders but I am putting it down to nerves. Although Holness reminded me of a scruffy version of Kevin Gray. For a centre half he is neither particularly tall and nor very quick and I was amazed he got MOM.

Koumas did ok and I think Richards will offer something but he reminds me of McGurk a bit - is he a wide man or a front player - or a mixture of both. Kirby was very poor and like last season, offered nothing. He cannot beat a man and just runs about like a headless chicken. I won't go on again about why the hell he got a 3 year deal. Power didn't offer anything and like Kirby, I am yet to be convinced he has what it takes to be an effective first team player. Laird was awful.

Turning to the manager, he never really looked animated compared to Ronnie. Hands in pockets or leaning on the bench, his own style I guess - but that said I thought the crowd booing his substitution was a bit out of order given it was his first match. He did it to go a bit more direct and play ugly and to be fair to Rob, it paid off. No complaints about Cole apart from missing that sitter. I felt for him a bit though. He has done well pre season along with Richards so playing one up top at home kind of contradicted Edwards pre match claims of attacking football at PP.

So still early days and perhaps a reminder that anything above mid table respectability is not to be expected at all.
 

Higgy

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Dave Higgins
To be honest and I know they are still young, but I have never felt confident Stockton and Kirby have what it takes.....hope I am wrong.

Holness also got MOM in the Echo...who said he never missed a header, although someone did for the goal. I think the holding midfield role needs sorting asap - hopefully Laird will grow into the role, or need to quickly look at options in the squad. Don't think Max or Rowe would fit the bill.
 

Ian

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Aldo
Stockton worked hard I thought, and as has been mentioned, he's better with the ball at his feet. He spent most of the time heading balls down, not his strength and played a lot of the second half as the lone striker.

My big concern having said all that is that we don't have a 20-goal a season striker so goals will have to come from all areas.
 
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Goodison
I was near the sponsors when they selected man of the match, none of them had a clue who any of the players were and eventually one of them said number 6. I wouldn't read too much into their choice as there wasn't much of a thought process!

As for the game I thought it was nervy and scrappy, which was what I expected really. York are a very well drilled and organised side and I think they will do well this season, if they had a bit of potency in the final third (I understand their two main strikers were missing). They've clear been built with a clear plan of having a big strong side (nearly all the players were 6ft plus) with a tight defence and an attack which exploits a classic lower league weakness - set pieces and crosses. Hopefully in 6 months time you will be able to look at the Tranmere side and say they've been built to a specific vision, but it will take time.

I think a draw was a fair result, both teams had two clear chances - Stockton's air kick and Baggies one on one where he laid it off, York's two clear chances came from corners - one of which was their goal.

Player Ratings:

OFW: 4 - His communication, dealing with crosses and distribution are awful. For every 2/3 shots he saves, he causes one through his inability to command his defence. We wont mount any kind of promotion challenge with him between the sticks. God knows why we didn't offer Mooney a 3 year contract with number 1 status - he looks such much better.

Holmes: 7 - Solid game and did reasonably well going forward, looks much fitter than he has for a while.

Ikiewe: 7 - Very calm and composed, didn't really do anything wrong (reminds me of Gibson). Man of the match.

Holness: 6 - Was a bit shaky at times but looks fairly solid. I thought he could have been more vocal, especially when OFW wasn't sorting out balls over the top.

Woodards: 6 - Very solid defensively but pretty poor with the ball. Hopefully that was down to nerves, as if he can keep the ball better he will be a very handy player. He could also be considered for the defensive midfield role if Laird continues playing like he did.

Kirby: 3 - Never looks to beat his man, always passess backwards, doesn't run with any purpose, out of his depth. His only moment of note was his lay off for Stockton's air kick - maybe he'll learn that he needs to be a bit more aggresive and get forward to do this more.

Power: 5 - One or two good moments in the first half but didn't really have any influence. Correct decision to take him off.

Laird: 3 - One of the worst debuts I can remember - up there with Godwin Antwi! Played like he couldn't trap a bag of cement and seemed to be colour blind, hopefully it was just nerves.

Richards: 5 - Worked hard but clearly out of position and couldn't seem to make his mind up on which foot to use. Put him upfront or don't play him.

Koumas: 5 - Anything positive in the first half usually involved him, but was anonymous in the second and didn't seem comfortable in the hole. I'd play him in a free role from left midfield or in a midfield 3.

Stockton: 4 - Wasn't his day, touch was off, and he got bullied easily by their defenders. Needs to learn to mix it up with big centre backs.

Subs:

Rowe: 7 - Came on and grabbed a great goal, also very good with the ball and shows that more than one player can take a corner. Would like to see him given a run of games.

Baggie: 6 - Typical Baggie: lively and unpredictable and never completely in control. Got the assist for Rowe's goal and surely worth a start ahead of Kirby.

Odajeyi: 6 - Did what Stockton didn't: Got stuck in to their centre backs and dished some out, caused a bit of chaos which contributed to the goal. Could be worth a start alongside Richards (Classic little and large combination).


I think the reaction of some of the "fans" to Koumas getting taken off was pathetic. He hadn't done anything in the second half and it was clear the system wasn't working. Koumas isn't exactly some kind of brilliant performer either, he plays well in 5/10 minute flashes but most of the time he's a passenger. I'm beginning to question the wisdom of building a system around a player as erratic as Koumas.

Also, as an opposition player, the fans booing the substitions must be music to their ears and a great morale boost. I can understand people might have been frustrated that Laird stayed on, but it was pretty obvious that Laird was kept on to play the holding role in a midfield 4. As we saw last season, Rowe, Power and Koumas are all incapable of playing this role.

Hopefully Rovers will improve over the next few games but it's not going to be a quick process and people need to give Edwards time. After so many of years of hoof coaching from Parry, Moore, Little and others it's going to take a while for changes to take effect.
 

frenchrover

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aldo
I agree with most of roverstillidie assesments of the players, OFW is still failing to control his area and without doubt Mooney would have been a much better option, but that's water under the bridge now. Kirby and Laird were really poor and must up their game pretty quickly as there is no room for passengers in such a wafer-thin squad. My only disagreement with rtid is in relation to Stockton...I thought he worked extremely hard against two very good and proven central defenders, yes he must "toughen up" particularly when challenging for aerial balls but it was always going to be difficult for him up front on his own. RE having promised to play football must quickly get a grip with the tendency for the defence to merely pump the ball long all the time which they did for most of the first half on Saturday. I'm still not sure about Holness I did think Ihiekwe was really assured in defence and without doubt Woodards was MOM by a mile.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
I think some of the criticism of Fonners above is very harsh indeed. I thought his all round game was good on Saturday and while he has weaknesses, he is still almost certainly the best keeper in League Two.

While it is true that Odejayi came on and put himself about, Stockton is not remotely the same kind of player and we need to play a style and system that gets the best out of him, not leave him isolated and hack balls to him at neck height: just because he is tall does not make him a natural target man. The partnership of Stockton and Richards worked well in pre-season and if we are going to be a footballing side there is no point starting with Odejayi.
 

bigmart

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Ian Muir
Mooney should have saved our goal it wasn't struck that well, im more than happy to still have Fon in goal the critisicm of him is a bit over the top
 

Boz

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I would also add that while Odejayi did some decent things when he came on, he was another big striker with a great reluctance to try winning anything aerially. At least Stockton tried to win balls in the air..
 

bigmart

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I would also add that while Odejayi did some decent things when he came on, he was another big striker with a great reluctance to try winning anything aerially. At least Stockton tried to win balls in the air..

one header went back into out half !!!
 
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Goodison
Just to clarify, I don't think Stockton is a target man, but even as a poacher type forward you have to be able to stand up to big centre backs and unsettle them. Lowe did this very well last year, hopefully Stockton can add it to his game.
 
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