Bitter? Me? Of course, which explains why there was no Workington report!
Not towards our conquerors of course, I wish Workington all the best in the next round and to be honest if I had to choose a club that would knock us out, I would have chosen a side like them. No, it was our own players who stoked my ire, to the point that I wanted nothing to do with the game for the rest of the weekend! Perhaps better that I sit down now and analyse, although I have just deleted a thousand words of text that turned into a semi-rant at everything I perceive at being wrong with the squad at the moment. I won’t insult the intelligence of my readership by dictating that to you, after all I’m sure you have been able to formulate your own thoughts on it by now, maybe different and contrary to my own?! Instead, just a few thoughts…
Firstly, my anger at the performance has taken me by surprise, certainly we have seen what appeared to be far more incompetent performances in the past, although maybe not this season. It took me a while to realise it was because we have such a talented squad, the drop off in performance was so extreme it can’t simply be explained away by the inconsistency of youth, or the settling in of new players. This involved under par performances from a good half a dozen or so players, and very poor performances by at least three players in key positions. In a game of such importance, how could this have happened?
Of the players I want to single out, by far the worst was Kennedy Adjei. We have seen signs of complacency creeping into his game over the last few weeks, especially as since Steven Gregory picked up his injury Kennedy has had no competition for his place. Judging by Adjei’s performance on Saturday, I don’t think the vastly superior Gregory will have much competition for his place when he returns either! You have to wonder just how motivated Adjei is when, a week away from his competitor for a first team place regains fitness, he puts in a performance like that. He must have been told about the importance of retaining possession in training a million times judging by his managers reaction every time he gives the ball away. Yet even though there is no-one else who really fits in that holding position, Terry Brown still removed him with an hour to go.
The annoying thing is we know on his day he has the talent to do a job. Quite why he can’t produce this every week is his business, it will be the difference between him staying or going in the summer, but you have to say its worrying that he could not perform against a side from the division below when we needed him most. Adjei also wasn’t on the field when we blew it in the last five minutes, the blame he has to accept comes as part of the fact the game really should have been under control by
Blanchett and Taylor, two other players whose performances were questionable to say the least, had no such excuse. Blanchett could have got away with a defence that he is still settling in at the club, but he is an experienced player and must have known that the last ten minutes are a time for concentration, not to lose the plot. And when Lewis Taylor plays well, he can be the best player on the pitch. On Saturday he was more of a liability than anything, constantly giving possession away, running into blind alleys, seemingly nowhere near on the wavelength of his team mates.
In fact Johnson, Hatton or Brown, despite not performing quite as badly, should still be looking in the mirror this morning. Johnson thought he had forever to distribute the ball from the back and frequently came unstuck. Such a lack of concentration from a player who has experience higher up the pyramid is unforgivable. Hatton was patchy, summed up by one brilliant run into the Workington half, before laying the ball off to a dark-shirted player to his left… only to see he had actually passed to the referee, no Dons player was within twenty yards and a grateful Workington man was making his way forward on the counter attack. Hatton has what it takes to be a great Conference/League 2 midfielder in future, but after two and a half years in the side he really needs the chance to step back, play a bit of reserve football, and learn to get his head up and pick a pass. Maybe he could go on loan to a friendly BSS club? Either that or the reserves, for a good half-dozen games, and I guarantee he will come back a more determined and confident player.
I’m starting to think I was correct all along about Sebb Brown, but now I know more about him I wish I wasn’t. We all want the kid who grew up wanting to play in goal for Wimbledon to be our number one, but the truth is had James Pullen played on Saturday we might be looking forward to a trip to Stevenage after a lucky escape. While there was little he could do about the freak second goal, a decent punch would have cleared the danger for the first, and I really need to see the video to work out how the third squeezed through him.
In fact looking at the lineup for tonight’s game against Tooting, it seems only Blanchett, Adjei and Judge are being punished by being forced to play. All I can say is I bet there are a couple of lads feeling lucky they picked up a minor knock. And Judge can consider himself quite unlucky, it was only his attitude at being subbed that got him the gig tonight. I just wish he had shown such passion when he was on the field! Still, heres a man in his mid-thirties still behaving like a spoilt kid – he probably feels a fool and hopefully will come back stronger next time.
As for where this leaves our season… Well we are still in sixth place. The playoffs would be a big ask, but if the lads get their heads down and work, nothing is impossible for them. It would really make up for the disappointment of missing out on the trophy!If they really apply themselves, well I wouldn’t like to be FGR next weekend thats for sure. And if they don’t make it, but they have gone down in a blaze of glory and entertained us all the way only to be beaten by better teams? Well thats fine in my book. We could easily fall to pieces and end up finishing eleventh, but what if we did make it into the playoffs? What if the lads took us to Wembley? What if they went on and won the thing???
Well, there would still be miserablists like myself bemoaning the fact we never won the Trophy on our way…