Date:Sunday March 11 2007
SuddickTheKing gives his views after 'Pool's 0-0 draw at home to Brighton.
After 20 minutes of this match I turned to my friend and said "These teams have been set up not to lose - the manager prepared to introduce pace or skill will win it". I was hoping that that would be Larry of course. However, as a turgid first half ground to a close there was so little of interest in the game we were watching that the half time talk was of other scores. So, my heart sank when the same eleven took the field for the second half - there are matches where a good rollocking and gee up in the dressing room will have the desired effect but this was not one of them. This one needed a change of personnel and tactics.
Brighton were in such a comfort zone with 37 year old Guy Butters in complete control at the heart of their defence, the only way we were going to upset them was to introduce the pace of Keigan Parker and the guile of Wes Hoolahan to supplement the great link play of BBB and the intelligent runs of Andy Morrell. Although KP and WH were to be brought on, to my horror Morrell was the first to be subbed - I`m sorry but you do not improve your team by taking away the quality play of one of your most influential players. The removal of Forbes was undoubtedly correct but Morrell should have been subbed on Tuesday when we were 2-0 up and cruising, not at a time when we are desperately trying to find a goal in a match we really needed to win.
Furthermore, the removal of BBB meant that we never won a header up front in the last quarter. Again, the time for subbing BBB was Tuesday when SSV could have come on and had 20 mins to score a goal when chances and supply were plentiful; on Saturday he was put on as a last throw of the dice and Butters and Co. were quite happy to see the aerial threat of Burgess removed.
Although we huffed and puffed we could not blow Brighton`s house down and unfortunately all our significant chances seemed to fall to Jorgensen. He really should have done so much better with two close range headers. Overall, we were not great with the usually impeccable Barker only above average. Coidy, Evatt and Gorkss performed well. I should add Rachubka to those three because even though he had very little to do, he produced the save of the game to keep us in it. Midfield was, frankly, poor. Forbes and Gillett were way below par, Fox was again far too deep and Jorgensen worked hard but to little effect overall. Could this be a good time to give Marcus Bean a run out? I think we desperately need something different in the 'engine room`.
Perhaps this was just 'one of those days` but at this stage of the season we cannot afford to have them - especially at home - and it was noticeable that despite a very healthy crowd the atmosphere was flat.
The only positives I take from a frustrating Saturday afternoon are the performance of Wes Hoolahan who was more like the jinking will-o`-the wisp we love, and the fact that we actually went up a place in the league. This is a tough division and it is all still to play for.
Date:Sunday March 11 2007
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