League Two Stevenage v Rovers

Match result

  • Stevenage

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Draw

    Votes: 3 37.5%
  • Tranmere

    Votes: 5 62.5%

  • Total voters
    8
  • Poll closed .
Stevenage v Rovers
Posted by Ian
Lamex Stadium
Saturday, April 23, 2022 - 03:00 PM
Until: Saturday, April 23, 2022 - 05:00 PM
(Adjusted for timezone: Europe/London)
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
I am lost for words after that performance. I agree with Brightonian that, given the context, this was the worst display of the season.

I always doubted that we could magically produce a performance today, having been abysmal away from home pretty much all season. However, I am still completely baffled that the same group of players can show fight and character against Exeter, and then produce a limp, lifeless and frankly pathetic performance today when the incentives and the prize were exactly the same. I think there are massive issues with character in this squad, and we simply don't have the resolve and 'band of brothers' mentality you need to win promotion.

I still believe the inexperience of much of the squad is a major factor, and the game simply looked too big for several players today. It is also apparent that certain players simply are not good enough. Other senior players such as MacManaman, who did another disappearing act, are simply here for a pension. The enforced changes to the side did not help, with two key absentees at the back in addition to the suspended players; we have had constant disruption to the starting eleven in recent weeks. However, there have been problems away from home all season.

Individually, I thought Foley, Cogley and Merrie had decent games, and Maynard's movement caused problems when he came on. The incident when he worked an opening but lost his footing with the goal gaping summed up the afternoon. Again, Mellon's tactics are questioned, but the attacking substitutions in the second half did at least cause Stevenage some problems and result in a few chances. The issues are not tactical in my view, although I accept that Mellon has to take responsibility for the levels of motivation, or lack of them, in the players.

Watching Tranmere away from home this season has been an utterly joyless and pretty pointless endeavour, and I am glad the punishment is nearly over.

I suppose we just have to beat Oldham and hope for a miracle, although we will probably be put out of our misery on Tuesday night.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
I have never heard Micky so downbeat and without a single positive thought. He seems to imply he doesn't know what went wrong and why our away form is so bad. He seems particularly emotional and I think he may take time to recover from this.

Jay is quite critical of some of his team mates, without naming names.

I think there may be quite a shake-out at the end of the season, but I hope Micky stays - if he feels he can build a promotion-winning side next season.

Last summer's position was not good. We had just five players contracted for this season, of whom Vaughan and Davies retired, and Jolley had not featured much. We signed Feeney on a deal, but that did not work out. Only three of the out-of-contract players re-signed plus Lee O'Connor joining permanently. Only six players finished last season and started this one. Micky had quite a rebuilding job to do and several signings did not work out, particularly Maguire, Dieseruvwe, Duffy, Walker and Watson.

This summer should provide more continuity. We have six players on extended contracts - and all are worth keeping. Hopefully, Micky can persuade at least some of the better out-of-contract players to extend their deals. If so, we should start next season with a more cohesive squad. Another key objective must be to bring in better players than last summer. Hopefully, James Vaughan already has a shopping list.
 

Ian

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The issues are not tactical in my view, although I accept that Mellon has to take responsibility for the levels of motivation, or lack of them, in the players.
I agree with this and it is clear Mellon cannot motivate some of this team. He says we will continue to fight to the end but the players are not fighting. A clearout is needed as @bring back the cowshed! says above and let's hope we get some players that are willing to fight for the team and show some desire ready for another charge next season.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Sounds dire. I think mathematically we could still make the play-offs but it is a long shot and realistically we’ll be in L2 next season. Micky has questions to answer on the subs he made today which on the face of it were negative in a game we needed to win. It didn’t sound like Warrington made much impact again today and yet played the full game. He’s a talented youngster but has been waning in recent games and arguably needed a breather. Not that Lewis is to blame for our recent woes, but imo not the best handling of a young player either.
What attacking midfielder could we have played instead of Warrington ? If we had started with Spearing that would have been a negative move, surely, in a game we had to win.

We finished the game with three strikers and a winger on the pitch in a 424 formation, with only one defensive midfielder, so I fail to see how the substitutions were negative.
 

Boz

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What attacking midfielder could we have played instead of Warrington ? If we had started with Spearing that would have been a negative move, surely, in a game we had to win.

We finished the game with three strikers and a winger on the pitch in a 424 formation, with only one defensive midfielder, so I fail to see how the substitutions were negative.
I agree we didn't have a great deal of option with attacking midfielders, but as I said pre-match would have gone with Spearing/Foley alongside O'Connor in midfield and looked mainly to the wide players for attacking input. As it happened Foley was required elsewhere and neither wide player seemed to deliver. I just feel Warrington is getting burned out and your own match report doesn't list him as amongst those having a decent game. As for the substitutes, replacing Hawkes with Spearing may have been necessary but given we were trailing at that point, it's hard to describe it as positive, Maynard for O'Connor, perhaps, though Nicky fluffed his lines with the one decent chance he got and unsure it can be classed as an entirely positive move when it results in our main striker being pushed out wide. If Mcmanaman was anonymous, why no appearance from McPake? While the absentees were clearly missed, it didn't feel like we made the best use of those who were available.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
I agree we didn't have a great deal of option with attacking midfielders, but as I said pre-match would have gone with Spearing/Foley alongside O'Connor in midfield and looked mainly to the wide players for attacking input. As it happened Foley was required elsewhere and neither wide player seemed to deliver. I just feel Warrington is getting burned out and your own match report doesn't list him as amongst those having a decent game. As for the substitutes, replacing Hawkes with Spearing may have been necessary but given we were trailing at that point, it's hard to describe it as positive, Maynard for O'Connor, perhaps, though Nicky fluffed his lines with the one decent chance he got and unsure it can be classed as an entirely positive move when it results in our main striker being pushed out wide. If Mcmanaman was anonymous, why no appearance from McPake? While the absentees were clearly missed, it didn't feel like we made the best use of those who were available.
Maynard was more of an attacking threat than any other player when he came on and had our best opportunities. Hawkes was shocking in the first half and needed to be replaced. McPake has been even worse than the other wingers in recent weeks.

We were overrun in midfield in the first period so Spearing was needed to bolster things. You can't really criticise Mellon for not starting with him, and then in the same breath criticise him for bringing him on. When O'Connor went off we only had one defensive midfielder on the pitch anyway.

We finished the game with a ridiculously attacking line up in a 424, with Clarke also thrown up front in the last fifteen minutes, so the changes were not anything other than attacking.
 
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As an aside, Mellon was banned from the bench today, so it is quite possible that some or all of the decisions were made by Dawes and Parkinson.
 

drwhoman

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We can debate the team and substitutions but the simple fact is that this group of players do not have enough bottle. There are probably some that do but it is quite dispiriting when you sense that others are not on the same page. Easy said than done I know but surely we have to aim to sign players with real commitment. As has been said by others, several players have clearly seen Rovers as just another pay day.
 
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Well that stunk. Relegation form really. What has happened to our early season passing game ? People complain about senior players just picking up the dough, well the same could be said for the youth in Hawkes today, who would be a manager ? I actually thought that McManaman was one of our better players , too little too late maybe. Tranmere were wasteful all over the park. Win a throw in and your team mates just stand around like they don't want it. Win a free kick twenty yards out and what do they do , pump it straight to the keeper or out of play, its no wonder we have so few shots target. Maynard , unsurprisingly though the lack of game time, looked overweight and unfit, his comedy slip in front of goal was just plain embarassing , that said, it was one of the best opportunities that were created. Once again Hemmings and Nevitt provided little threat. Recruitment clearly has to go a bit deeper.
 

ADD

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So I read it's the rebuild we had to do last close season, it's the poor squad, it's the recruitment (though in reality the same people will be doing it this close season) but it simply isn't.
This supposed inadequate squad has the best home record in the League - fact. You simply can't achieve that if you genuinely have such a bad squad as people keep saying! It is our away performances and record this season which are atrocious.
MM said in his post match interview "the game always finds you out" and sadly I feel he is right. We set up right from the off this season tactically to play boring nick a goal defensive performances away from home which are mind numbingly dull to watch and not even effective. One shot on goal and that from 25 yards yesterday in 99 minutes of football says it all. His demeanour after the game and apology to the fans who travelled in his post match interview suggests he knows that.
 

Boz

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Maynard was more of an attacking threat than any other player when he came on and had our best opportunities. Hawkes was shocking in the first half and needed to be replaced. McPake has been even worse than the other wingers in recent weeks.

We were overrun in midfield in the first period so Spearing was needed to bolster things. You can't really criticise Mellon for not starting with him, and then in the same breath criticise him for bringing him on. When O'Connor went off we only had one defensive midfielder on the pitch anyway.

We finished the game with a ridiculously attacking line up in a 424, with Clarke also thrown up front in the last fifteen minutes, so the changes were not anything other than attacking.

As an aside, Mellon was banned from the bench today, so it is quite possible that some or all of the decisions were made by Dawes and Parkinson.
I was unable to listen to commentary for this game, so harder to get a clear picture of what was going on.

There is a difference between starting up with a defensive pairing in midfield to keep things tight which was my inclination, or switching to that when we were chasing the game at 1-0 down. However needs must and it seems from the stats that Spearing was more adventurous than usual, though sadly it didn’t turn the game around.

McPake looked reasonable in his cameo v Exeter and surely worth giving a go, with Mcmanaman being anonymous. Maynard operates best in and around the box, but unless he can deliver there the benefit of introducing him was limited. Sounds from MS comments that he’d really let himself go during the injury period. Putting a central defender as striker rarely works, be it Clarke or Goody. If he wanted to play with 4 up there was still the option of Jolley.

Hadn’t realised MM had picked up 4 yellows, only aware of the two in recent home games. Think it’s unlikely any of the major decisions didn't come without input from Micky.
 

bigmart

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Micky was in the stands he would have been in constant contact with the bench and all the decisions will have been his.
No issue with taking Hawkes off but why not try McPake or give Jolley a run out at some stage both now join the long list of players who Micky barely uses.
This season is a total failure and unless Micky changes how we play I don't see much of a change next season.
 

Ian

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Look at the opposition. Clearly a poor team as the table suggests but they showed fight and comittment to make sure they are playing league two again next season. They wanted it more, we rolled over and took one, that is clearly worrying. so who do we blame? The players, the manager or both?
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
So I read it's the rebuild we had to do last close season, it's the poor squad, it's the recruitment (though in reality the same people will be doing it this close season) but it simply isn't.
This supposed inadequate squad has the best home record in the League - fact. You simply can't achieve that if you genuinely have such a bad squad as people keep saying! It is our away performances and record this season which are atrocious.
MM said in his post match interview "the game always finds you out" and sadly I feel he is right. We set up right from the off this season tactically to play boring nick a goal defensive performances away from home which are mind numbingly dull to watch and not even effective. One shot on goal and that from 25 yards yesterday in 99 minutes of football says it all. His demeanour after the game and apology to the fans who travelled in his post match interview suggests he knows that.
The strong home form is actually a reason for keeping Mellon, not getting rid of him. After all, the paying customers that fund the club watch their football at Prenton Park. Inconsistencies, whether between home and away form or from week to week, are not unexpected when a team or squad is not quite good enough.

I still don't think the basic tactics have been any different away from home this season.

I don't think Vaughan was as heavily involved in recruitment last summer. His role was not officially formalised until January, and I would imagine a lot of the deals last summer were in motion before he even officially retired as a plyer.
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Micky was in the stands he would have been in constant contact with the bench and all the decisions will have been his.
No issue with taking Hawkes off but why not try McPake or give Jolley a run out at some stage both now join the long list of players who Micky barely uses.
This season is a total failure and unless Micky changes how we play I don't see much of a change next season.
McPake has had opportunities but has been poor. Would anybody really want to extend his loan or keep him permanently at this stage ? He could not get in Morecambe's side either earlier in the season.

That said, Hawkes is struggling badly at the moment, and I wonder if he might be homesick or have some other off the field issue.
 
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I was unable to listen to commentary for this game, so harder to get a clear picture of what was going on.

There is a difference between starting up with a defensive pairing in midfield to keep things tight which was my inclination, or switching to that when we were chasing the game at 1-0 down. However needs must and it seems from the stats that Spearing was more adventurous than usual, though sadly it didn’t turn the game around.

McPake looked reasonable in his cameo v Exeter and surely worth giving a go, with Mcmanaman being anonymous. Maynard operates best in and around the box, but unless he can deliver there the benefit of introducing him was limited. Sounds from MS comments that he’d really let himself go during the injury period. Putting a central defender as striker rarely works, be it Clarke or Goody. If he wanted to play with 4 up there was still the option of Jolley.

Hadn’t realised MM had picked up 4 yellows, only aware of the two in recent home games. Think it’s unlikely any of the major decisions didn't come without input from Micky.
I still think Maynard was one of our better players when he came on, and caused them problems at the back. It is harsh to single him out.

I was wondering yesterday whether the dynamic in the dressing room is right this season. It seems more than a coincidence that we have had exactly the same collapse at the end of this season that we did under Hill last year.

Clarke is a strong character and a leader, but I wonder whether there is the same camaraderie in the group and the same togetherness that we had in the promotion years. McNulty, Davies and Norwood were strong personalities but had a genuine rapport and were able to bring other players with them. It seems from the sidelines sometimes that Clarke barks orders at the rest of the squad, many of whom are very young and inexperienced and may or may not feel invested in the process.
 
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bigmart

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Look at the opposition. Clearly a poor team as the table suggests but they showed fight and comittment to make sure they are playing league two again next season. They wanted it more, we rolled over and took one, that is clearly worrying. so who do we blame? The players, the manager or both?
That is the same as last season, how many times did we hear comments from the likes of spearing or Clarke last season which are being repeated now
 

bigmart

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McPake has had opportunities but has been poor. Would anybody really want to extend his loan or keep him permanently at this stage ? He could not get in Morecambe's side either earlier in the season.

That said, Hawkes is struggling badly at the moment, and I wonder if he might be homesick or have some other off the filed issue.
Hes hardly had a look in though I'm recent weeks and surely worth ago ad it's clearly not working as it stands away from home
 

Sparky

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Chris Greenacre
RLC makes an interesting point about Clarke and the dressing room. I have often thought whether some players would thrive having him as captain and some would go the opposite way. I remember last season he gave McDonald a few rollickings and I wondered how the young lad would cope. Similarly this season you can imagine he’s handed some out to the likes of hawkes and mcpake who are young lads and may not take it too well. Some need a telling off and some need the arm round the shoulder.
 
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