Match report v Crawley

#1
----- Cherries Creep Past Crawley -----

FA Cup time and with a chance to put the recent league form behind them Tindall went with a very strong team from the outset, Wilshere making his first start since re-signing and none of the youngsters getting on from the beginning the notable choices.

This venerable competition sometimes produces matches of blood and thunder between teams from different tiers as the less celebrated side draws the other into a battle where heart and hard work can overcome superior technical skills.

However, it was clear from the outset that Crawley had no interest in going toe-to-toe, instead employing the other well worn technique of sitting in and then trying to get something on the break. Probably the right decision given how we’ve played against teams doing that of late.

The gauntlet was laid down to the Cherries to break them down in a 4-3-3 that saw Lewis Cook sitting almost like a quarterback, Billing going box to box and Wilshere given freedom to roam the pitch with a particular focus behind or near the front three.

The early possession showed moments of promise as Wilshere acted as a forward fulcrum around which we could pivot and Danjuma looked back to his direct running self after his recent injury layoff.

On the eighth minute a corner from the right was played in with pace, eschewing the recent habit of floating them in, only for Billings's header to bounce back off the post.

At the other end Crawley showed they had some teeth as well when the usual passing around in the left back area gave it away and the ball broke for a Crawley attacker to fire a shot across goal to which Begovic was comfortably equal. I’m starting to feel like a broken record but every single game we screw up multiple times trying to play it out from the left back position.

Every. Single. Game.

There comes a point where you have to start giving the manager pelters for not changing how the team are shaping up for passing out from the back from one specific position that continually gets caught out. I think we’ve reached it when a League Two side are getting joy out of us. Tindall and his staff need to take charge of this situation as it’s like we’re putting the location of our Achilles Heel on the electronic hoardings for the other team at the moment.

At the other end Danjuma was constantly trying to make things happen. He was a long way from always successful but the key here he was trying to mix it up rather than always taking the safe ball. Some of his passes went astray, at times he took on too many and at others he slowed it down at the wrong moment but he was constantly involved and looking to open up space on the pitch through one means or other. The creative intention was there, something we’ve been sorely lacking of late.

In a bizarre moment, for the third game of the trot we spilt blood from an opponent, although this time Lerma wasn’t on the pitch and it came from a fair challenge that led to a clash of heads with S Cook.

I’m starting to think JT got a medium in to check on our form and was informed the ground had been put under an ancient Scottish curse by the Wee Nac Mac Feegle which can only be lifted by the continual spilling of blood of innocents.

That aside, the game settled into one of those youth football training exercises of attack against defence except the attackers kept fluffing their lines.

I’m genuinely struggling to think of a player in AFCB’s history that crosses or plays the final ball worse than Rico. That fact he continues to take corners from one side is especially baffling. I’m sure I’ll be put right with plenty of worse examples but for a player that was feted for his delivery when he signed it’s a mysterious situation. The only thing I can think is maybe it’s like when England played the World Cup in Mexico and all the talk pre-tournament was how the ball will move differently there. Except he’s Spanish and the ball doesn’t move differently here than in Spain. It’s bizarre.

On 23 minutes Danjuma dropped short into a pocket of space on the left and Billing played it in to him. He used that extra time on the ball to find a pass to King in a central position who gave it a deft flick behind him for a now free Wilshere just outside the area. With the ball begging to be hit, Jack obliged sending it into the corner to make it 1-0.

That was pretty much it for the first half. There was a few moments of quality, King looking lively at times, but there was nothing that tore Crawley apart. It was pedestrian domination.

The second half started with Lewis Cook giving seppuku a go, nearly playing in Crawley only for the Cherries to break to the other end and fail to get a telling cross in. From the corner S Cook flicked the ball on and Wilshere volleyed from close range only to see the ball kept out by the keeper.

We looked to settling into the familiar first half pattern of play when some more crazy play at the back nearly let Crawley back into it. From a goal kick played short, S Cook couldn’t find an option and so kocked it back to Begovic who had an attacker closing in on him. He tried to take a touch and was half tackled with the ball falling loose to the second striker. With only the Bosnian to beat the Crawley players eye's bulged as the giant keeper made himself look like an octopus, limbs spread everywhere, as he made up for the gaffe and kept out the shot.

This seemed to inject a bit of life into Crawley who’d been mostly vapid up until then. A long ball over the top had their striker Nichols outpacing Kelly only for him to tumble in the box under a challenge. The ref blew and my heart sank only for the official to give a yellow to the attacker for simulation. There’s no doubt he went down easily but it was certainly in the range of seen them given and if refs are going to start booking strikers for that then a certain forward now playing in black and white stripes will likely soon be serving a suspension for ten yellow cards.

Despite their disappointment, Crawley almost immediately won the ball back and spooned it into the area. S Cook watched from his central position as Stacey sounded the oliphant and came charging across the box to challenge for the header only to lose out as the attacker flicked it wide. That would be wide right into the space that Stacey had just vacated and in which stood Nichols who slotted the ball past Begovic with relish to make it 1-1.

Fortunately nerves didn’t have time to set in as seven minutes later Danjuma dribbled past a couple on the edge of the box, played a neat 1-2 with Brooks and then passed to King who placed it perfectly into the corner of the net to restore the Cherries lead.

A flurry of subs followed without changing the formation as Tindall tried to apply some fitness pressure on a lower league side that have been unable to train as normal for a while due to their issues with the coronavirus.

Truth be told there were more half chances, poor final balls, terrible shots and below average crosses but their keeper only really had one good save to make.

Meanwhile at the other end Kelly and Rico were in a competition to see who could give Crawley the most dangerous set pieces. I guess they don’t like playing in the FA Cup as I can’t think why else they kept doing the same silly fouls again and again.

In the end there wasn’t a lot for Begovic to do and we got through. Maybe that’s all that matters in the cup, especially when the prize is such a doozy. An away trip to Burnley where we do ever so well and the manager loves us.

Still, if they do sign King before then at least it will give Tindall the chance to talk about how we can’t be expected to compete with the budget of teams like Burnley.
 
Last edited:
#2
---- Conclusions -----

- We won. We’re through. If we somehow scramble past our bête noire in the next round it’ll be an FA Cup quarter final so that’s something.

- If the idea behind playing so much of the first team was to try and blow Crawley away and rebuild confidence then we have to say it failed. The same problems that we’re suffered in our recent games were all still there, only masked a bit by slightly lesser opponents and Danjuma’s willingness to run at opponents.

- The 4-3-3 looked interesting at times with Wilshere in the central role. He’s still not completely match fit but you could see how it would work with him.

- Please take Rico off corners. If I promise to give money to a charity JT names would that help?

Even if it gives the guy a break and a chance to reset his set piece taking and look back at what worked in Spain. It can’t have been this.

- 29 AFCB shots on goal. 10 AFCB shots on target. Yet their keeper only really have a couple that were tricky saves to make. We need to make our chances count better.

- See pretty much any previous recent game for comments on the issues playing out from the back. It still hasn’t been sorted.

There’s nothing wrong with the concept but our execution is often shocking.

- I bear no ill will to Crawley as a club but Yems can do one. Your contract ran out man. It happens to people every day. Deal with it like an adult.

- Normally I’d say children should not suffer for the sins of their father but I’ll make exceptions for a Windass or a Hessenthaler. So a nice little bonus that we sent one of them out of the cup.


---- Player Ratings -----

Begovic – 6
Sloppy moment nearly cost us, even if it was from a hospital pass.

Stacey (off on 67) – 6
Up and down as normal.

S Cook – 5
After his action man performance last time this was like a knock off version of himself bought down the market for a fiver. Not good.

Kelly – 5
Gave away silly free kicks and a little fortunate not to give away a penalty, even if it would have been soft.

Rico – 5
I’ll give him credit for getting in the forward positions. It was a shame what happened almost every time he had the ball at his feet.

L Cook – 6
A game which didn’t require too much from him.

Wilshere (off on 67) – 7
Rusty but had moments of quality on the ball and drifted around a bit trying to make things happen. A little bonus to his score for the goal.

Billing (on from 67) – 6
He was alright. Box to box and putting himself about. Didn’t dominate them but maybe enough to catch the eye of any watching scout.

Brooks – 5
Pretty woeful still. Didn’t deserve to start this game and did little to change that. Actually looked marginally better when pushed into the central role but… it was marginal.

King (off on 83) – 7
At least showed desire and also left his selfish streak in the dressing room which should be lauded as, amongst other things, it brought about the first goal.

Danjuma (off on 78) – 7 and Man of the Match
Not everything he tried came off. In fact, an awful lot bombed. However, he was the guy trying to make life difficult for a team set on sitting in against us. Great to see him back, just a shame it has coincided with Junior being out.

--- Subs ---

A Smith (on from 67) - 6
Like Stacey, up and down.

Solanke (on from 67) – 6
Comical bad control in stepping over the ball for a good chance but apart from that not a lot.

Lerma (on from 67) – 6
Ridiculous booking.

Riquelme (on from 78) – 6
Usual story. Neat at times on the ball whilst always looking lightweight.

Surridge (on from 83)
Did he touch the ball? I know he only gets minutes and that’s tough on him but he needs to make some kind of impact when he comes on.


Overall Grade: C
Let’s be honest, it wasn’t a great performance despite dominating. It felt like that came about from a function of our opposition than from our play. Still, we did the job and got through but every question I had before kick off about things that need addressing remains unanswered.

Tindall stuck to his system throughout and truthfully it was preferable to the three at the back. Wilshere could yet be the key to unlocking this season if he can get up to speed and we can learn to utilise him properly.

Que sera, sera. We’re going to Burnley...
 
Last edited:
#3
---- Conclusions -----

- We won. We’re through. If we somehow scramble past our bête noire in the next round it’ll be an FA Cup quarter final so that’s something.

- If the idea behind playing so much of the first team was to try and blow Crawley away and rebuild confidence then we have to say it failed. The same problems that we’re suffered in our recent games were all still there, only masked a bit by slightly lesser opponents and Danjuma’s willingness to run at opponents.

- The 4-3-3 looked interesting at times with Wilshere in the central role. He’s still not completely match fit but you could see how it would work with him.

- Please take Rico off corners. If I promise to give money to a charity JT names would that help?

Even if it gives the guy a break and a chance to reset his set piece taking and look back at what worked in Spain. It can’t have been this.

- 29 AFCB shots on goal. 10 AFCB shots on target. Yet their keeper only really have a couple that were tricky saves to make. We need to make our chances count better.

- See pretty much any previous recent game for comments on the issues playing out from the back. It still hasn’t been sorted.

There’s nothing wrong with the concept but our execution is often shocking.

- I bear no ill will to Crawley as a club but Yems can do one. Your contract ran out man. It happens to people every day. Deal with it like an adult.

- Normally I’d say children should not suffer for the sins of their father but I’ll make exceptions for a Windass or a Hessenthaler. So a nice little bonus that we sent one of them out of the cup.


---- Player Ratings -----

Begovic – 6
Sloppy moment nearly cost us, even if it was from a hospital pass.

Stacey (off on 67) – 6
Up and down as normal.

S Cook – 5
After his action man performance last time this was like a knock off version of himself bought down the market for a fiver. Not good.

Kelly – 5
Gave away silly free kicks and a little fortunate not to give away a penalty, even if it would have been soft.

Rico – 5
I’ll give him credit for getting in the forward positions. It was a shame what happened almost every time he had the ball at his feet.

L Cook – 6
A game which didn’t require too much from him.

Wilshere (off on 67) – 7
Rusty but had moments of quality on the ball and drifted around a bit trying to make things happen. A little bonus to his score for the goal.

Billing (on from 67) – 6
He was alright. Box to box and putting himself about. Didn’t dominate them but maybe enough to catch the eye of any watching scout.

Brooks – 5
Pretty woeful still. Didn’t deserve to start this game and did little to change that. Actually looked marginally better when pushed into the central role but… it was marginal.

King (off on 83) – 7
At least showed desire and also left his selfish streak in the dressing room which should be lauded as, amongst other things, it brought about the first goal.

Danjuma (off on 78) – 7 and Man of the Match
Not everything he tried came off. In fact, an awful lot bombed. However, he was the guy trying to make life difficult for a team set on sitting in against us. Great to see him back, just a shame it has coincided with Junior being out.

--- Subs ---

A Smith (on from 67) - 6
Like Stacey, up and down.

Solanke (on from 67) – 6
Comical bad control in stepping over the ball for a good chance but apart from that not a lot.

Lerma (on from 67) – 6
Ridiculous booking.

Riquelme (on from 78) – 6
Usual story. Neat at times on the ball whilst always looking lightweight.

Surridge (on from 83)
Did he touch the ball? I know he only gets minutes and that’s tough on him but he needs to make some kind of impact when he comes on.


Overall Grade: C
Let’s be honest, it wasn’t a great performance despite dominating. It felt like that came about from a function of our opposition than from our play. Still, we did the job and got through but every question I had before kick off about things that need addressing remains unanswered.

Tindall stuck to his system throughout and truthfully it was preferable to the three at the back. Wilshere could yet be the key to unlocking this season if he can get up to speed and we can learn to utilise him properly.

Que sera, sera. We’re going to Burnley...
Don't agree, King MOTM, Wilshere very good. Kelly was 3/10
 
#6
That's as maybe but he was still the guy breaking the lines of their defence. Without that they'd have been mostly comfortable.

Contrast that with his equivalent team mate on the other side of the pitch...
 
#7
Unfortunately Mrs IH was into a Scandi thriller and I completely forgot it was on. Caught the final 16 minutes. Brooks poor. Riquelme played like an excited kid shooting on sight but he’ll grow out of that. King looked interested. Solanke, what the hell was that ? Managed to deal with stuff at the back from what I saw.
Is the quarter final too much to expect ?
 
#9
I thought Brooks was even worse than the past few weeks this evening. Confidence completely shot. Also thought Billing had another poor game, and note his involvement (or lack of) for the Crawley goal, but it was nice to see him appear somewhat interested.

I thought Wilshere was very classy first half and his reliability complemented Danjuma's risky creativity.
 
#10
Think Brooks was marginally improved on derby (albeit that was a particular low point for him). He still gave the ball away a bit (again) but he was instrumental in King’s goal - the flick back to Danjuma was very skilful.

Billing was okay; Wilshere composed and showed glimpses of how he might be able to help us break through teams that sit deep.

Not sure about the Danjuma love-in. He was good at times but was often as wasteful as Brooks when in possession. As for Rico... I feel sorry for him at times because he selflessly runs the overlap and doesn’t ever get passed the ball by Danjuma - time after time he ignored Rico, cut inside and slowed down play. Agree that Rico’s deadball deliveries were poor today but I don’t recall a single occasion where he was passed the ball following an overlapping run such that he could then cross from the by-line.
 
#11
I thought Brooks was even worse than the past few weeks this evening. Confidence completely shot. Also thought Billing had another poor game, and note his involvement (or lack of) for the Crawley goal, but it was nice to see him appear somewhat interested.

I thought Wilshere was very classy first half and his reliability complemented Danjuma's risky creativity.
You've not been watching the past few weeks then. Alot more energy about Brooks tonight and involved in alot more build up play without frequently running into players or giving the ball away. Got a few shots away (albeit mostly off target) Still not back to his best but night and day compared to the past few performances IMO.
 
#12
These games are hard to judge tbh, the gap in quality was clearly huge. Didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know ie we have some very talented individuals but look pretty disjointed as a team a lot of the time, Danjuma needs to release the ball earlier, we need to stop messing around at the back, we badly need a new left back, Jeff likes to kick people ect
 
#16
Think Brooks was marginally improved on derby (albeit that was a particular low point for him). He still gave the ball away a bit (again) but he was instrumental in King’s goal - the flick back to Danjuma was very skilful.

Billing was okay; Wilshere composed and showed glimpses of how he might be able to help us break through teams that sit deep.

Not sure about the Danjuma love-in. He was good at times but was often as wasteful as Brooks when in possession. As for Rico... I feel sorry for him at times because he selflessly runs the overlap and doesn’t ever get passed the ball by Danjuma - time after time he ignored Rico, cut inside and slowed down play. Agree that Rico’s deadball deliveries were poor today but I don’t recall a single occasion where he was passed the ball following an overlapping run such that he could then cross from the by-line.
Agree , lack of team ethic again ? Dan wanting to do it all on his own ....
 
#17
Danjumas running with the ball at his feet were the build up to both the goals. It’s good to see as it just causes the opposition that bit more panick rather than having a slow build up from 30 yds. Wilshire the same at times but from deeper positions. I think we’ve missed ball carrying with purpose, instead being fed a diet of the little flick passes that seem more show pony than substance to me.
Agree that Brooks was a little better but still seemed to slow things down a at times, where have his one touches and effervescence gone?
A team full of confidence and desire could have possibly scored 6 last night given the chances but we just don’t seem to all, collectively, believe in the cause.

Need to get the transfer window shut and heads together as to what we can achieve as a team.
 
#18
Think Brooks was marginally improved on derby (albeit that was a particular low point for him). He still gave the ball away a bit (again) but he was instrumental in King’s goal - the flick back to Danjuma was very skilful.

Billing was okay; Wilshere composed and showed glimpses of how he might be able to help us break through teams that sit deep.

Not sure about the Danjuma love-in. He was good at times but was often as wasteful as Brooks when in possession. As for Rico... I feel sorry for him at times because he selflessly runs the overlap and doesn’t ever get passed the ball by Danjuma - time after time he ignored Rico, cut inside and slowed down play. Agree that Rico’s deadball deliveries were poor today but I don’t recall a single occasion where he was passed the ball following an overlapping run such that he could then cross from the by-line.
Rico choosing to shoot into the side net when played through first half, at least his poor crosses were along the ground rather than giving the defenders heading practice.
Danjuma caused a yellow card which should have been followed by a second for their defender who then had to be subbed.

Brooks didnt track the runner for the crawley goal. He seemed more involved when moved into the middle in the second half.

Begovic and steve cook need to sort out when it is good to play from the back and when the long ball into the channels is the option.

Good to see adam smith rediscover his forward gear.

With no gosling or ofoborh midfield needs someone in.
 
#19
Didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know ie we have some very talented individuals but look pretty disjointed as a team a lot of the time
This is what is glaringly obvious to me. We're not just disjointed but it looks like a lot of players are currently only playing for themselves. So many occasions where a pass was the obvious choice and would've lead to a goal scoring opportunity, instead only to either run into a Crawley player, or a blocked shot, or blazing miles wide.

I don't know what it is, but something seems really off at the club at the moment and Tindall needs to get it sorted PDQ.
 
#20
The dip in form among many players is alarming and showed even against League 2 opposition. Brooks, Kelly, Rico, Lerma, S Cook ... and others below par. What's happened here over the course of just a few weeks?? We were banging goals in, now struggling to get shots on target.

This isn't just about formations but some systematic problem in the squad. Training? Morale? Lack of leadership? All these? It's even more worrying than our struggles last season and a huge challenge for JT. Has he got the management skills to get these players into some sort of form??? If not, his time at DC might be rather brief.