Saturday saw the end of our unbeaten away form so far this season, going down in an 8 goal thriller at London Road, Peterborough. To be correct, in case someone will attempt to correct it, the stadium name follows the trend of most clubs nowadays, officially named the ABAX Stadium due to a sponsorship deal in place, what I think of something like that is a discussion for another day.
Back to the football, and it just wasn’t meant to be in a game which had it all from start to finish, injuries proved costly with the likes of Jimmy Abdou and Ed Upson going off, and you could argue both had an impact changing the course of the game. Jimmy’s injury in particular disrupted the shape of the team, himself and Williams seemed to have brought stability to the side recently and looked as if an understanding was forming between the two, if you play a four man midfield you need someone in the middle who can do all the running, and we all know Jimmy is the perfect player for that job. Let’s hope this injury isn’t serious for Abdou, as for Upson playing in that wide position he often has his critics, myself included, but until the injury in the second half on Saturday he was having a brilliant game, taking the ball and gaining yards which we so desperately want to see from him on a regular basis.
Obviously in a game where you score 3 and concede 5 there is more to it than just injuries costing the result, 4 of the 5 goals for me were avoidable and should be put down to defensive mistakes. We showed fight by coming back from 2 down at the break to drawing on the hour mark, but to fold after that was hugely disappointing, each player earned that fight back and clearly what was said at half time made a difference. But after getting to that point it felt even worse at the end; I’m not alone in thinking we would go onto win the game surely? Harris seemed to be very critical of some after the game and perhaps rightly so.
The norm after a defeat is to find out from the bunch who is to blame for the goals, but the team as a whole contributed to this downfall, not one player was to blame, each made their own mistakes which proved costly collectively. Who should get the nod tomorrow against Northampton after shipping 5 goals in a game? We could’ve easily scored more in the game on Saturday, but uniquely all our goals were scored by defenders, with Webster, Craig and Beevers getting on the scoresheet. Beevers has now scored in the last 3 away games in a row, not bad going for a team that hadn’t scored from a set play for a couple of seasons! The attack didn’t help in the way we expect them to do so, both Morison and O’Brien were poor in the first half, lacking the cutting edge and never looked likely to score. Morison has been great since coming back, but he just didn’t look at the races on Saturday, whereas O’Brien looks like he could do with an international break, which we have coming up next weekend. Aiden is a key link in our side as we like to sit back and hit teams on the break, however if he has an off day like Saturday, we need a plan B.
The game itself as shown in the statistics was an end to end affair, lots going on and perhaps you could consider us unlucky not to come out with a positive result and extend our run away from home. The common feature in our previous trips away from The Den was that teams dominate the ball and we wait and hit them on the break, however Graham Westley’s side played us at our own game. We had 55% possession and were made to play the ball around the back four for a lot of the game, this allowed Peterborough to sit back and when they had the ball hit us with 4 very attack minded players in Maddison, Washington, Angol and Taylor. Compared to Wigan where we had 38% of the ball, it was clearly a game plan which was effectively put into place by Peterborough, and as mentioned left The Lions short, with no plan B. Harris reacted with a change of shape but without the threat from the front it was clearly what we missed out on and crucially, let us down in the result.
So that’s my thoughts on the game Saturday detailed in an essay, what do you think left us undone on Saturday?