Writer: Audenshaw Cherry
Date:Sunday March 23 2014
Saturday 22nd March 2014
This was probably the worst AFCB match, quality wise, that I have ever watched (apart from the last 45 seconds). A fellow fan told me that the Charlton match was worse.
Let's be clear, Barnsley were abject. I'm sure that they practice with goals posts in the stand (at the side of the pitch) because that's where they passed the ball with some consistency throughout the match. They will go down.
At times we were only a little bit better, trying to play the ball in very tight spaces, poor distribution (I thought O'Kane was particularly at fault).
The BBC statistics make it sound like we were on top for much of the game but the ball often stayed in the middle swapping sides frequently.
It wasn't until late in the second half that we started to assert some pressure and their goalkeeper made two great point blank saves to stop Ritchie on one occasion and I don't know who on another. Ritchie also hit the bar - the ball bounced down onto or near to the line - with a really good snap shot.
The goal seemed to happen in slow motion but still too quick for me to understand what actually happened although it looked like the keeper made a mistake and the ball bounced high and the onrushing COOK forced the ball into the net.
Cue delirium in away end and despair on the Barnsley side.
There was barely time for Barnsley to kick off before the referee blew the whistle. The ref didn't have a good game and Harte had to check with the ref twice to assure himself that the goal had been awarded because he (the ref) made some bizarre decisions throughout the game.
Camp 7 - Commanded his box well and made a couple of smart saves
Francis 5 - Not his best game. Seemed to dwell on the ball at times and also put us under pressure at the back. Linked well going forward
Cook 6 - defensively strong, long throw ins didn't work at all. Popped up at the end for the winner. O'Grady and their other forward gave both him and Elphick trouble but they held firm.
Elphick 6 - much the same as Cook although he didn't take any throw ins or score a goal. Solid
Harte 6 - Very assured and put some good tackles in against a very tricky winger. Some of his crosses were over hit though.
Ritchie 7 - Good strong performance and was very unlucky not to score on three or four occasions. One great shot smashed against the bar then on or near to the line and bounced out.
O'Kane 5 - I thought some of his decision making and passing put us under a lot of pressure at the back. After hearing such good things about him I was a tad disappointed
Surman 5 - A mixed performance. Some solid tackling but his shooting (and to be fair with him he did shoot) was poor. Should have taken a one on one chance with the keeper in the first half.
Fraser 8 - A great game. Made space to receive the ball, ran at their defence and tackled back well. Took some punishment from their defence (The ref gave him nothing) I think he was our most dangerous attacker
Grabban 5 - Frustrating always on the wrong side of his marker, inches away from a cross and making some very strange runs.
Kermorgant - 5 Not really on the pace. Didn't get great service but when did get the ball was not really effective.
NO SUBS USED - Surprised me. Thought Eddie could have brought on Rantie to run at their defence but what do I know.
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Date:Sunday March 23 2014
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