Yeovil v Walsall – In-depth Tactical Analysis

The whole team defended superbly well today with the two centre-halves being the pick of the bunch. Johnstone hardly touched the ball at all and we restricted them to a couple of long range efforts from their big centre-half.
The first half was pretty equal I thought. Brandy going the closest with a long-range effort the keeper could only parry away. Although they had good spells of possession (their right-back appeared to be everywhere) they couldn’t do anything with it.
As soon as the second-half started we got Brandy more into the game and were all over them as we had wave after wave of attacks in the first ten minutes but came away with nothing to show for it and no real chances created.
Grigg came the closest just before he was substituted, at last forcing their keeper into a save from a run of successive corners. Hemmings came on for Grigg and Brandy played up top, with Hemmings on the left and Paterson on the right. We still couldn’t create a decent chance though and the game huffed and puffed to its inevitable goalless conclusion.
Although we were the slightly better team I think a draw was the best result.
Sawyers had a few minutes at the end and won a couple of headed flick-ons but you can’t really judge him on that alone.
Man of the match is anyone from Butler, Downing, James or Adam Chambers. I will plump for Downing who looked in control throughout and also kept possession well.

There were also two farcical moments when we went down to ten men. Brandy came off for five minutes in the first half as he appeared to have lost a shin pad or something like that and disappeared down the tunnel then got called back and after much faffing around on the bench eventually came back on.
Then with a couple of minutes left, Hemmings came off as I think he took a whack in the face. Baxendale was ready to come on, the paperwork handed in, then all of a sudden Hemmings rose from the dead (appropriately, for this time of year) then sprinted back on, leaving Baxendale jilted at the altar. Can anyone clear up what actually happened in both these cases?

Hartlepool United v Walsall – In-depth Tactical Analysis

A disappointing day.

I can take losing or drawing but to approach this game the way we did has left me more disappointed. Why did Featherstone play? I like him but he is not a creative player. We should have played Baxendale instead and played more positively.

When Featherstone came off we looked a lot better. Hemmings had an impact straight away and had our best chance of the game as we dominated the last 30 minutes. It also Brandy more into the game. Loads of half-chances were created and on a better day and with Grigg in the team we would have taken those.

Johnstone had a decent debut making a fine save in the first half as Hartlepool coped with the windy conditions better and twice narrowly missed scoring. His distribution could be better but it was very windy so I can let him off with that.

We scrapped and fought throughout an awful game. We needed some quality and only got that towards the end when Hemmings came on. As well as Hemmings’ miss, Bowerman, Paterson, Mantom and Brandy all squandered decent chances as we panicked in front of goal.

Roll on Yeovil.

Walsall v Tranmere – In-depth Tactical Analysis

The Brooklyn beer The Gilbert Alsop is sipping at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham tastes lovely tonight although it is hurting my sensitive tooth. A comfortable victory over Tranmere has meant all the travel and the cold hasn’t been a problem at all.

Although I may well be the oldest person here by at least fifteen years and look conspicuous,  as I am using a laptop whilst everyone else appears to be listening to a band that I can hear but cannot see, I don’t give a damn. We are four points off the play-offs and that is all that matters to me.

A Ronnie Moore team plays hoofball and that is exactly what we got from Tranmere tonight and we weren’t troubled by it one bit. The only problem was scoring the first goal as we went into the break having missed some very good chances and Mantom striking the post from range.

Tranmere almost scored after the break but James Chambers got a couple of impressive blocks in and then it was a repeat of our opening goals against Shrewsbury and Swindon. Brandy runs at the defence, gets tripped up and Grigg puts away the penalty. 1-0.

It was only five minutes later that we got out second. Westcarr from 30 yards out thought about hitting it, I thought ‘pass it’, he ignored my cosmic vibes and promptly smacked the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The Tranmere keeper, their best player by some distance, stood no chance at all.

After that we created more chances but couldn’t beat the keeper. Our only trouble was Brandy spontaneously combusting. He got booked for a very reckless challenge when he could have seen red and then proceeded to get involved in lots of niggly confrontations. Late on he raced clear and appeared to dive and look for the free-kick. The ref waved play on but shortly after gave him a severe ticking off. Thankfully, minutes later, he was brought off for Featherstone, for him to play his regulation last few minutes.

Man of the Match was Westcarr and I couldn’t argue with that too much but I would have given it to James Chambers who impresses me more and more. Taylor got forward well and had some good shots, surely he will score soon. Elsewhere, we worked hard, particularly our middle four and Grigg up front. Paterson should have scored in the first-half and once we got Brandy more into the game in the second-half it was game over for Tranmere.

Another 20 minutes before my train comes and I should get to bed for about two thirty. Tooth hurty? It might well do mate, but I have got to have a beer to celebrate this victory, haven’t I?

Swindon v Walsall – In-depth Tactical Analysis

“Football, bloody hell.” This game can be filed under that category. Paterson with a header (a header!) in the 89th minute from an excellent cross by Hemmings (Hemmings!) means we draw the game 2-2.

It was just deserved today. Paterson’s goal the only goal of any quality. Swindon’s goals came from a lucky deflection and then a howler from McCarey as he fumbled a shot that was going wide and presented it to the Swindon player. Grigg’s goal was, of course, a penalty after Brandy had been tripped.

Swindon are a good team. Well organised and keep possession well. But so are we, and although Swindon got on top in the second half they didn’t create a notable chance until McCarey’s mistake.

When Brandy was taken off for Hemmings in the 82nd minute, I thought our chance had gone, but, what do I know. Hemmings skinned the full-back late on and waited and waited for Paterson to arrive then delivered the best cross of the game for Paterson to head home. You beauty!

Butler gets my nod as man of the match. You need leaders in games like this and he stood out today. When we were under pressure just before half-time he ran 30 yards to win one header and give us relief.

Downing was composed. The Chambers’ twins did well. Adam, in particular, kept scrapping against a physically imposing team. As did Mantom.

We were not as creative as we have been. Taylor hardly got forward at all. Grigg worked hard but fed off scraps. Brandy was too deep to do any damage. Westcarr linked up play well but his shooting was on a par with Ian Roper’s.

Paterson? He was muscled out of it for most of the game but he never gave up. That is why he was there at the end to bag us a share of the points. An amazing end to an amazing game.