Date:Thursday August 16 2012
The Kassam Stadium
14th August 2012 7:45pm
I`ve been tasked with writing a report or yesterday`s shower & I`ll start this with a warning; don`t expect any objectivity from this match report/rant; it won`t be anything like a Neil Dawson measured tactical analysis. I`m pretty pissed off. In the two preceding matches I attended; the combined efforts of Gabon, South Korea, CS Maritimo, & Asteras Tripolis provided a grand total of 0 goals, so I was really, really up for the new season. As it happened we limped pathetically out of a cup competition, yet again, to inferior opposition, after a dire match which now leaves my running total at 5 hours without seeing a goal. If you want considered opinion, go to another thread, but I`ll try my best…
Also, before I start; I absolutely will not buy into this 'concentrate on the league` 'never mind it`s OK/doesn`t matter` bullpoo. People who`ve posted this claptrap should punch themselves in the crotch. Cup competitions DO matter. You watch how much fun teams have in the later rounds of this competition. Would anybody have enjoyed a cup tie at Elland Road? I know I would. Don`t even start me on Matt Tubb`s infuriating "we want a premiership team" interview. You know how to play premier$hip teams Matt? Don`t lose to Tamworth, Accrington, Yeovil, Blyth hecking Spartans and Oxford. Whilst Oxford admittedly aren`t in the same company of the dire teams we`ve succumbed to in the past; after pooting money all over the place this summer on everything but what we actually need (clue: the stadium) and drawing a league 2 team, I really thought this was the season we`d end our truly woeful cup performances and actually go on a little run.
And you know what? For the first 15 minutes, it was looking good. Cherries were flooding forward, & looked a league above their opponents. Wes Thomas missed an easy header (just for a change) before Pugh was gifted two glorious opportunities within the first 5 minutes, the Oxford defence allowing him to receive the ball unmarked at the side of the six yard box before he fluffed both the initial shot and the rebound straight at the keeper.
15 minutes later, Oxford were easily matching us for pace, intensity and the game was far more even. So what changed? Apart from a total drop in desire and speed of build-up play, a lot of responsibility needs to go to the midfield pairing of Arter and Partington. I can`t count the number of times that Daniels and Francis were flying up the wings leaving both far too deep and miles behind the play, leaving Tubbs and Thomas unsupported. Both put in a showing far below what we know they are capable of, leading to an incident that means I have unquestionably already won the most awkward moment of the season prize in the first half of the first game.
After yet another awful pass from Arter, the topic came to fourfourtwo magazine`s season preview where the interviewed fan had picked Arter as the player he`d like to get rid of. My Dad mentioned his 15 (FIFTEEN) bookings last season, how we witnessed him try his utmost to get sent off at Bramhall Lane, his appalling record for dissent, before it was mentioned that Arter comes across as (exact words) a pr**k. Who`s sat directly in front of us during this conversation? Half-brother & England international Scott Parker, and who I presume to be Arter`s Dad and two brothers. Scott parker`s death stare is terrifying. In my defence, whilst I might have kept quiet or tempered my opinion somewhat had I realised they were sat there; I stand by it. Shaun Cooper described Arter as 'the most selfish man I`ve ever met` in his diary programme notes last season, Baudry had a few things to say in his own diary article & Arter`s twitter account serves no other purpose other than to remind me why I haven`t registered for twitter. (Pro Tip: using 'egg` as an insult makes you appear absolutely cretinous)
I`m struggling to remember any many more significant chances in the first half. Oxford had a few pot shots, we just lethargically moped around the pitch passing it around. It was dire. There were a few crosses but nobody came close after Pugh in the 5th minute & we certainly didn`t force a decent save. The only players to come out of the first half with any credit at all were the full backs and Grabban, all who injected some much needed pace in attack. Oxford almost went ahead before full time with Jalal palming away two vicious Oxford Long range shots in quick succession.
HT 0-0 (Running total since I`ve seen a goal: 3 hours 45 minutes)
But wait, guess what happened in the second half?! heck all. Mystifyingly, Gregory came on for Tubbs, with Grabban moving up front alongside Thomas.
I`m struggling to fill this section for the second half, it really was that dull. If I am being kind, I`d say we were unfit & (cringe) 'lacking match sharpness`, but in all honesty it didn`t look like any of them were all that bothered. No urgency, no movement, no effort and just generally woeful play from us. A trademark Harry Arter spoon over the bar from 30 yards led for another uncomfortable time for the Arter entourage after a guy behind us went a lot further than describing him as a 'pr**k.` He was, as many others have posted; very poor, but nobody was great even throughout 30 minutes of extra time. Grabban, previously one of 3 shining lights with the full backs produced a feat of astonishing incompetence when he air kicked a cross which would have won us the game in the closing minutes of extra time.
So penalties it was. Now, I remember watching Steve Robisnson miss a penalty at Stoke, the third penalty they`d given us in our past 3 visits. From memory, we missed all 3.
We`re rubbish at penalties (Last goal at Dean Court anyone?!), let alone shoot outs & always have been in my memory but the first 3 were actually very good. Well placed. Oxford went first, so after they scored their fourth, & Pugh`s tame effort was palmed away with ease by the U`s Goalkeeper Oxford made our fifth penalty irrelevant by making it 5 out of 5. Another cup exit.
Player ratings and MOM
Jalal 6. Had very little to do aside from 2 first half saves, but never looks like even nearly saving a penalty, even when diving the right way. Certainly not at fault overall.
Francis 7 Still occasionally wanders off leaving us dangerously exposed but is a cracking player. His wonderful crossing ability will get us many assists this season.
Addison 6 Solid, but wasn`t ever really tested. Occaisionally scuffed a clearance but did his job.
Zubar 6 Distribution still average but otherwise same as above. I prefer Cook to both.
Daniels 6.5 Better than the rest but faded badly in the second half. Actually made an effort
Grabban. 7 Again, faded a little and seemed to be played out of position but he showed a lot of promise. Excellent touch and control, superb vision and awareness & I`m excited to see what`ll happen on Saturday
Arter 5 Poor; usual egomaniac performance; total lack of effort in defence, attempted wasteful pot shots/glory passes and a valliant effort to get booked for dissent; shouting directly into the referees face.
Partington. 6 I`ve seen him play much, much better. Probably lacking match fitness after a long time out, some promising moments.
Pugh 6 Skilful as ever but looked well off the pace. I presumed unfit/tired until a lengthy sprint for a defensive clearance well into extra time confirmed he wasn`t bothered. Capable of significantly better. On a separate note for the love of god let Grabban/anybody else take free Kicks. No points are gained in football for hitting the wall.
Wes Thomas. 6 Not dangerous. Held the ball up well, still finishes easy headers like the elephant man.
Tubbs 6. Lightweight, anonymous, summed up team performance.
Mcdermott: 6.5 Briefly injected some pace passion and movement into the game actually seemed to care. After realising his off the ball movement and runs were totally invisible to his team mates quietened down.
Wakefield/Gregory. Anonymous. Can`t even think of anything to write but neither made a big mistake
Date:Thursday August 16 2012
Footballers found not guilty (Friday May 24 2013)
10 years ago today (Friday May 24 2013)
Flahavan: I am staying to fight for the shirt (Friday May 24 2013)
Cherries linked with Brentford striker (Thursday May 23 2013)
Win a kit for a local youth football team (Thursday May 23 2013)
Introducing the 'All Departments' podcast (Thursday May 23 2013)
Mitchell: It is paramount we keep Howe (Thursday May 23 2013)
Three more games added to pre-season schedule (Thursday May 23 2013)
Pitman: No-one expected us to go up that day (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Mitchell: Season ticket sales are fantastic (Wednesday May 22 2013)
|5. Sheff Utd||46||19||18||9||+14||75|
|7. Leyton Orient||46||21||8||17||+7||71|
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