Friday, 31 October 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Friday, 10 October 2008
Admittedly he came on with only about twenty minutes left, but again he showed enough spark, movement and intelligence to suggest he's much too good for the Conference. Let's hope we can keep him for a while longer; after all, the postponement of the Histon game robs us of his services for a match unless we can rearrange it while he's still with us (November 11th is the favoured date I've been told by a number of people at the club by the way!)
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Clearly it's a gamble to pick a young lad as captain, and there is a nagged doubt in the back of my mind about his propensity to pick up knocks. However, as a clean break from the Little era it's a pretty effective gesture as Taylor certainly hasn't been a first team regular this season. Maybe that's the main reason why my gut feeling is this is a good move.
If you want to see how a long ball side should set itself up, have a look at Histon next Saturday. Any side whose assistant manager is John Beck is bound to play that way,although he has taken a step back from his landmark spell at Cambridge where he took direct football to its ultimate conclusion. Players were instructed to kick for touch when they had the ball, aiming for markers he'd put on the advertising hoardings, rather than pass to team mates on the basis that the more time the ball spends in the opposing half the better chance you have of scoring.
By contrast, if you want to see how a team shouldn't set themselves up for route one, look at what we were like against Grays Athletic. I'd already been concerned at the Ebbsfleet game, assuming that we were launching long balls at Shaun Whalley's head because of lack of passing ability in midfield only to discover Little had instructed the side to get it forward early irrespective of the quality of service. Grays was the apotheosis of this pointless approach. Tom Kearney, a player brought in to link things neatly in midfield, had clearly been ordered to lump the ball forwards early rather than move it around the pitch in one of the most obvious cases of a square peg in a round hole I've ever seen.Sadly we played the long ball game incredibly poorly.
We just didn't observe the basics of such an approach, with our midfielders launching long balls from deep in their own half so that even if Jeff Louis was able to bring the ball down, he was so isolated he had no chance of using it. Take a look at how the game at Salisbury turned around for an example of what route one teams need to succeed. For the first twenty minutes they murdered us; they owned midfield and therefore were able to put long balls into the box from high up the pitch, meaning there were plenty of players in the danger area looking to poick up the bits and pieces from the target man. However, we then got a grip on the middle of the pitch and the game changed dramatically. All of a sudden they were launching long balls from deep in their own half, an it was easy to pick their strikers off. Little did we know on that promising afternoon that a couple of weeks later we'd be doing exactly the same thing!
A look at the Forest Green game suggested Saunders might be able to bring the most important attribute required at the moment; organisation. The second goal was a wonderful example of how the long ball should be played. I've felt all season that players don't really make runs off Louis to benefit from his flick-ons, which is ludicrously wasteful as I'm really warming to the big man; he certainly wins his fair share in the air. When Nat Brown launched a long ball through the middle two runners sprinted into the channels either side of Louis, Whalley down the left and Marc Williams down the right. If Louis got the flick there was a good chance someone would be in on goal, and that was exactly what happened; it fell to Williams who prodded in his second. It was a treat to see Louis being used correctly. Not that it seems Saunders wants to go down that route, but it's good to be able to mix it up, especially at our level, and if you have a target man like Louis you'd be daft not to use him!Saunders still has plenty of work to do at the other end.
We've only kept two clean sheets all season, in our first two home games, against sides that played a good chunk of the game with ten men. Saturday was too early to judge Saunders' defensive impact, as he'd not had time to sort the back four out, and the wind hardly made it an easy game for defenders, but he must be aware of a continuation of recent unacceptable patterns which the first goal represented. It was the third time in our last four games that we've conceded a goal from a straight ball over the top of our defence. That's a basic situation, and we can't let it continue to happen. Furthermore, of the seventeen goals we've conceded this season, nine of them have come from set pieces. That is another sequence we can't allow to continue. Ludicrous as it might sound, if we were solid from set pieces we'd be very well placed in the table-after all, we're only four points off the play-offs. That's an indication of the fact that, with everyone beating everyone else, the Conference is wide open. We've been playing badly yet we're still in the mix, which suggests this division might not be quite as tough to get out of as people think.
Let's hope the new manager effect can kick in and kick-start us!
Monday, 6 October 2008
My first sight of him didn't let me down either. This was one brawny guy! He was built like The Thing from the Fantastic Four (scouring Marvel Comics being another of my childhood pastimes) and tackled accordingly! I was immediately in awe of this guy, and his forthright style meant he made a much greater impression on me than someone who made just ??? appearances for the club ought to have done.
The mythology of Darracott was not compromised by the manner of his retirement. A serious injury brought a premature end to his Racecourse career, indeed his entire career. And yet what stands out to me about that was a quote from a specialist, saying that most people would be banging their head against the wall in pain with such an injury, but Darracott calmly sat in the waiting room, unflappable.
Friday, 3 October 2008
Just take a look at our last five managers:
So it's Brian, DS, Brian, Brian, DS. Logically then, the pattern will continue like this:
So I can exclusively reveal that our next four bosses will be Brian Kidd, Brian Talbot, Brian Horton and Dave Sexton. We'll have to get through our next four quickly though, as Sexton's seventy-eight already!
I should even confess to feeling a twinge of sympathy for those who were excited by the news! "Poor lamds, they'll soon come crashing down to earth!"
Of course, such feelings are wrong and unfair. Any new manager should bring a wave of optimism and hope with him. The least you can do is give him a fair crack of the whip. And Wrexham will come again; of that I'm certain. We are a big club in Conference terms and eventually that will see us back into the Football League.
So one day the correct appointment will be made. Maybe it was made yesterday!