Posts Tagged ‘official opening’

Game 05 – Bristol Rovers

3 October, 2008

The official opening of the new stadium.  I didn’t get there in time but I’ll bet Lord Mawhinney didn’t mention the real name of Cuckoo Farm at any stage.  I think he stayed for the game but the former Secretary of State for Transport must have wondered quite early on when the bus was going to come and get him.  A game without a whole lot of spark and imagination, from either team. The U’s failed to put Rovers under any sort of pressure.  No desire to win the ball, no thought behind forward passes, no direction.  Noticeably no direction from the bench. There were a few moments when the passing linked up but nothing that threatened a goal.  The away fans were the most docile I’ve seen all season.

It’s rapidly becoming the case that the substitutes warming up at half time produces the best action of the game.  Then there’s the abysmal timing of the home fans in E8.  For the second time this season (see Oldham match as well) they started a pathetic chant at a totally inappropriate moment.  There we were, defending a corner not long after the break and E8 broke into a short chorus of ‘Can you hear Bristol sing?’.  You could hear the groans everywhere else in the stadium as we realised that this was a bad omen.  It was pretty damn obvious we couldn’t hear them sing because their team was so bad, but to choose the moment when their team were having their best chance of the game!  Priceless – for Bristol Rovers of course.  It only took about 5 seconds and the ball was in the back of our net. The game just about died after that.

There was a moment just after the hour mark when two substitutions were made by Kit Symons and the whole home support joined together, as one, in a massive gasp of  “What!?”.   He took off Perkins, our best player of the last few weeks.  What on earth was going on?  Symons clearly doesn’t want the job for good.  He didn’t perform much himself anyway.  He did collect a stray ball that dragged him out of the safety of the technical area and that may have been the only time his hands left his pockets.  The team’s performance was a mirror of the manager’s body language – ineffectual, static, nothing.

It’s about time someone with no history at the club was brought in to sort out the wasters.  Personally I wouldn’t mind if the starting line up changed dramatically.  Gerken makes me nervous and the only times he makes great saves are the occasions he has dithered long enough to give the opposition a chance.  The defence needs re-shaping, starting with the return of the club captain.  We need some steel in there to stop the backing off that happens when we are put under the slightest pressure.  Most of the midfield need the rough end of a pineapple up their backsides to wake them up.  They don’t think where they are passing the ball, and occasionally try something fancy which no-one else is expecting.  They don’t like getting their kit dirty, and seem to hang back before making a last moment desperate lunge at thin air rather than get involved in a tackle.  Jackson doesn’t like to get his hair messed up and only jumps into the general vicinity of an airborne pass.

Worst of all they don’t pass properly to their own forwards, which is not entirely their fault as the forwards don’t know what they are supposed to be doing anyway.  Platt may be a target man but what on earth does he achieve by flicking the ball on with his head to an opposing defender? None of our players have any sense that tells them to look for a team-mate or to run into space to receive the ball.  As I said last time we continue to look like the away team in our home stadium.  The last word goes to the police horses who were brought in for a crowd of 4,811 – work that one out.  I think they know more than they are letting on.