Match report v Millwall

#1
--- Cherries Draw In Dreary Display ---

After the cup respite at the weekend it was back to the grind of a league campaign with almost the whole team that started the last league match starting again, Brooks for Surridge the only change from then.

That man Brooks looked like he might be having one of his on games at the start, shortly after proceedings beginning he dribbled past three to make space for himself in the area only to see his shot deflected wide by the Millwall keeper.

AFCB were again getting trapped in that left back position by the press, Lerma lucky to get away with it when gifting the ball away there in a dangerous position. However, we finally saw the point of the play it out from the back tactic as on 11 minutes the Cherries started with the ball in that problem area and worked it across the pitch, then up, then back across the pitch again ending with Solanke laying it back for Stanislas to shoot but Millwall got the block in.

It was a glorious sweeping move with pace, accuracy of passing (the slight overhit to Solanke the exception) and movement that bypassed the press and took the opposition apart. The perfect demonstration of what we’ve been aiming for with this tactic. We need to see it a lot more now.

Apart from that and despite dominating possession, as so often of late, there was little to show for it in terms of actually creating chances. Millwall were happy to sit back and wait for a mistake and then try to hit us on the break with the most basic of balls through a Grand Canyon size gap that kept appearing between the centre backs.

One of these ended with Wallace clean through on goal but Begovic rushed out and forced the issue with the Millwall player taking a shot that the keeper was able to put out for a corner. From a subsequent corner, a Millwall player leapt highest and sent the ball looping inside the far post with Asmir stranded only to find Lerma there who, with a well timed jump, cleared it off the line. Two warning signs in quick succession that Millwall could be dangerous.

After a sharp start Brooks was getting progressively worse the more the half went on. Repeated poor passes to give the ball away was allied to being weak on the ball. He drifted around the pitch leaving Smith completely isolated on the right and so we couldn’t build up down that side, meaning the attacking impetus mainly came on the left.

I’m tempted to believe Tindall gave him license to wander to try and find pockets of space in which case that is a management issue. Going three at the back with wing backs, you can’t leave one of them on his own because you want the guy he’s meant to interact with to go walkabout. It totally nullifies the whole tactical set up and moves the responsibility for winning the game from your carefully planned set up to hoping for a moment of inspiration from an individual.

After giving the ball away and allowing a Millwall break to develop Brooks did chase back but then pushed his man in an off the ball incident to concede a dangerous free kick. This was fired in but Begovic got down well to save.

As the solitary minute of added time on the half was being played out, Kelly passed to ball to Stanislas in a left of centre position. His man stretched to get it but Junior turned him cleverly in a moment that opened up the whole pitch and suddenly the Cherries had the ball in space running at the Millwall defence for possibly the first time. He headed straight at goal and, with the three defenders all converging on him, laid it into the area for Solanke who had peeled wider. He smashed an absolute pearler of a shot low at the near post which was too powerful for the Millwall keeper to make it 1-0.

The goal was made by Stanislas making the most of the Millwall player overreaching. Excellent work and a superb finish from Dom.

The whistle went for the break and, despite having 68% of possession, we weren’t really good value for the lead having been about as threatening as the snowcat I built with the kids this afternoon.

There was an expectation changes would come and we’d see a fired up second half performance from the Cherries. Sadly, it seems scoring that goal was of huge detriment to the mindset as Tindall set them up to sit back in the second half, safety first.

Let’s get this straight. Millwall looked solid and a danger when breaking in the first half but they in no way looked spectacular. Sitting in and trying to contain us in the hope they might nick something was their best chance. Now they were forced to come out a bit and chase the game there was more space to exploit so if we went toe-to-toe we would have a very good chance of putting the game beyond doubt. There’s a difference between pragmatism and a lack of courage. This crossed that line into the latter.

The second half performance lacked purpose or drive. Genuinely snore inducing stuff that had me snaffle down almost a whole box of After Eights in an attempt to pass the time. Neither of these are giving me any pleasure now I look back on them.

After being so decisive earlier in the season Tindall is getting more and more conservative with his subs and tactical changes in games that are drifting. His hand was finally forced on 70 minutes when a Millwall player slipped and went straight through Stanislas leaving him limping off the pitch with hopefully nothing serious. Rather than a replacement attacker, Billing came on in what looked to be an attempt to shore things up even more.

Millwall hit the post after a series of odd decisions by the ref but this display can’t be put at his door.

Less than ten minutes later we paid the price for this lack of ambition when a long free kick was flicked on by a Millwall player who beat Kelly to it all ends up and allowed Smith to tap in to equalise. A problem with marking and a problem in losing that first header so cleanly.

The Cherries almost responded immediately when Solanke held the ball up brilliantly near the Millwall area and then played in Brooks. His first touch was heavy and allowed a defender to get back and put pressure on him so the opportunity ended with a weak shot.

Tindall tried to change things up with belated subs but it was too little too late as two points drifted away on a lacklustre breeze of a performance.


--- Conclusions ---
- When you send your side out to sit on a solitary goal lead for a half and then make a sub to protect it even more you bear the full responsibility if that blows up in your face. Tindall has to carry this one on his shoulders. It was shocking tactically.

- I don’t know whether to pin some of the Brooks problem on Tindall as well or whether it’s purely the player. I suspect a bit of both. Smith was utterly pointless out there as he had nobody to work with. Why play wing backs if you aren’t going to use one of them?

- We’re stuttering. One league win in four is not good form and we’ve continued this unenviable record of dropping points against teams lower down the table. This season could still go either way very easily so JT needs to take it by the scruff of the neck. He’s been a little too hesitant in the last couple of matches.

- Defensive organisation was a problem at times. The gap in the middle of the defence that kept appearing in the first half was worrying and should have been a situation of which Steve Cook took charge.

- The best thing I can say about that performance is it’d make a good cure for insomnia. I hope that helps someone out there.


--- Player Ratings ---
Begovic – 7
Good saves in the first half.

S Cook – 6
Lack of organisation in the defence is his responsibility as the senior player.

Simpson – 7
Starting to really look a player. Some good defensive work.

Kelly – 6
Was up and down pretty well tonight.

A Smith – 6
Thankless task as often completely isolated on the right so could add almost nothing on the attacking front.

Lerma (off on 83) – 6
He battled. He gave the ball away. He won it back. He mis-controlled. He cleared one off the line. Gallimaufry on a football pitch.

L Cook – 6
Not one of his better performances. When he stepped passed players they looked worried so it is a shame he didn’t do it more.

Rico (off on 87) – 6
There wasn’t an awful lot of quality in his wing back play but he at least played the role, constantly getting forward.

Brooks (off on 83) – 5
Sean O’Driscoll once said about Brian Stock something like he’s got to decide if he’s Premier League or Sunday league. The wildly varying levels of performance we’re seeing from Brooks reminds me of that, except his choices are Champions League or Championship. He’s an absolute gem of a player but at times this season he’s all over the shop.

Solanke – 7
Took his goal well, a sign of a striker with confidence. Worked hard feeding off scraps.

Stanislas (off on 71) – 7 and Man of the Match
Made the goal with a great piece of play and we immediately looked poorer when he went off. Fingers crossed his injury curse hasn’t struck again.

---Subs ---
Billing (on from 71) – 6
Didn’t really influence things.

Riquelme (on from 83), King (on from 83), Stacey (on from 87)
No marks since not a lot happened when they were on the pitch.


Overall Grade: D
Tindall dropped the ball here. The first half we were poor and lucky to go in ahead. To then try and protect that lead was way too cautious. I understand we aren’t in the Howe era of attack, attack, attack but let’s not start to fall into the mindset of a team that only wants to protect a lead as soon as we get one.

The most frustrating thing is Millwall were absolutely there for the taking.

Having been surprised and impressed with how he started the season I’m getting a little more concerned as it goes on. It feels a little like we’re going backwards in terms of performances.

Lots of work to do, let’s get things back on track on Saturday.
 
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#4
The game screamed out for a Wilshere-type midfielder. We must surely strike a deal with JW and try him behind the strikers in what was an empty space last night (especially when Brooks went wandering).

Also, S Cook had another thin performance, both defensively and with those repeated lateral passes at the back. Let’s give CCV an opportunity vs Luton.
 
#5
The game screamed out for a Wilshere-type midfielder. We must surely strike a deal with JW and try him behind the strikers in what was an empty space last night (especially when Brooks went wandering).

Also, S Cook had another thin performance, both defensively and with those repeated lateral passes at the back. Let’s give CCV an opportunity vs Luton.
I am warming to the idea of giving Wilshere some kind of deal if we can agree terms. Last night he would have been a great option from the bench, for example. OK he might not become a regular starter and we might have to manage his fitness, but if we could come to some kind of agreement with him, he could at least get some real game time with us and help us in our promotion push at the same time. If he has a genuine desire to be playing competitive football and has some affection/gratitude towards AFCB, maybe a deal can be done ?

I would also give CCV a league start now. He can play a penetrating pass out from the back, feeding the wingbacks or midfielders DIRECTLY and with zero "faff". This will add speed to our attacks, at least if he continues to play as he did in the cup game. Definitely worth a try since something back there needs to change. We need to be braver and more intent to move the ball forwards as soon as we have it at our feet.
 
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#7
“Genuinely snore inducing stuff that had me snaffle down almost a whole box of After Eights in an attempt to pass the time. Neither of these are giving me any pleasure now I look back on them.”

This gave me a good chuckle!

Very disappointing not to shut out a side that struggled to score goals but onto the next one we go
 
#9
--- Cherries Draw In Dreary Display ---

After the cup respite at the weekend it was back to the grind of a league campaign with almost the whole team that started the last league match starting again, Brooks for Surridge the only change from then.

That man Brooks looked like he might be having one of his on games at the start, shortly after proceedings beginning he dribbled past three to make space for himself in the area only to see his shot deflected wide by the Millwall keeper.

AFCB were again getting trapped in that left back position by the press, Lerma lucky to get away with it when gifting the ball away there in a dangerous position. However, we finally saw the point of the play it out from the back tactic as on 11 minutes the Cherries started with the ball in that problem area and worked it across the pitch, then up, then back across the pitch again ending with Solanke laying it back for Stanislas to shoot but Millwall got the block in.

It was a glorious sweeping move with pace, accuracy of passing (the slight overhit to Solanke the exception) and movement that bypassed the press and took the opposition apart. The perfect demonstration of what we’ve been aiming for with this tactic. We need to see it a lot more now.

Apart from that and despite dominating possession, as so often of late, there was little to show for it in terms of actually creating chances. Millwall were happy to sit back and wait for a mistake and then try to hit us on the break with the most basic of balls through a Grand Canyon size gap that kept appearing between the centre backs.

One of these ended with Wallace clean through on goal but Begovic rushed out and forced the issue with the Millwall player taking a shot that the keeper was able to put out for a corner. From a subsequent corner, a Millwall player leapt highest and sent the ball looping inside the far post with Asmir stranded only to find Lerma there who, with a well timed jump, cleared it off the line. Two warning signs in quick succession that Millwall could be dangerous.

After a sharp start Brooks was getting progressively worse the more the half went on. Repeated poor passes to give the ball away was allied to being weak on the ball. He drifted around the pitch leaving Smith completely isolated on the right and so we couldn’t build up down that side, meaning the attacking impetus mainly came on the left.

I’m tempted to believe Tindall gave him license to wander to try and find pockets of space in which case that is a management issue. Going three at the back with wing backs, you can’t leave one of them on his own because you want the guy he’s meant to interact with to go walkabout. It totally nullifies the whole tactical set up and moves the responsibility for winning the game from your carefully planned set up to hoping for a moment of inspiration from an individual.

After giving the ball away and allowing a Millwall break to develop Brooks did chase back but then pushed his man in an off the ball incident to concede a dangerous free kick. This was fired in but Begovic got down well to save.

As the solitary minute of added time on the half was being played out, Kelly passed to ball to Stanislas in a left of centre position. His man stretched to get it but Junior turned him cleverly in a moment that opened up the whole pitch and suddenly the Cherries had the ball in space running at the Millwall defence for possibly the first time. He headed straight at goal and, with the three defenders all converging on him, laid it into the area for Solanke who had peeled wider. He smashed an absolute pearler of a shot low at the near post which was too powerful for the Millwall keeper to make it 1-0.

The goal was made by Stanislas making the most of the Millwall player overreaching. Excellent work and a superb finish from Dom.

The whistle went for the break and, despite having 68% of possession, we weren’t really good value for the lead having been about as threatening as the snowcat I built with the kids this afternoon.

There was an expectation changes would come and we’d see a fired up second half performance from the Cherries. Sadly, it seems scoring that goal was of huge detriment to the mindset as Tindall set them up to sit back in the second half, safety first.

Let’s get this straight. Millwall looked solid and a danger when breaking in the first half but they in no way looked spectacular. Sitting in and trying to contain us in the hope they might nick something was their best chance. Now they were forced to come out a bit and chase the game there was more space to exploit so if we went toe-to-toe we would have a very good chance of putting the game beyond doubt. There’s a difference between pragmatism and a lack of courage. This crossed that line into the latter.

The second half performance lacked purpose or drive. Genuinely snore inducing stuff that had me snaffle down almost a whole box of After Eights in an attempt to pass the time. Neither of these are giving me any pleasure now I look back on them.

After being so decisive earlier in the season Tindall is getting more and more conservative with his subs and tactical changes in games that are drifting. His hand was finally forced on 70 minutes when a Millwall player slipped and went straight through Stanislas leaving him limping off the pitch with hopefully nothing serious. Rather than a replacement attacker, Billing came on in what looked to be an attempt to shore things up even more.

Millwall hit the post after a series of odd decisions by the ref but this display can’t be put at his door.

Less than ten minutes later we paid the price for this lack of ambition when a long free kick was flicked on by a Millwall player who beat Kelly to it all ends up and allowed Smith to tap in to equalise. A problem with marking and a problem in losing that first header so cleanly.

The Cherries almost responded immediately when Solanke held the ball up brilliantly near the Millwall area and then played in Brooks. His first touch was heavy and allowed a defender to get back and put pressure on him so the opportunity ended with a weak shot.

Tindall tried to change things up with belated subs but it was too little too late as two points drifted away on a lacklustre breeze of a performance.


--- Conclusions ---
- When you send your side out to sit on a solitary goal lead for a half and then make a sub to protect it even more you bear the full responsibility if that blows up in your face. Tindall has to carry this one on his shoulders. It was shocking tactically.

- I don’t know whether to pin some of the Brooks problem on Tindall as well or whether it’s purely the player. I suspect a bit of both. Smith was utterly pointless out there as he had nobody to work with. Why play wing backs if you aren’t going to use one of them?

- We’re stuttering. One league win in four is not good form and we’ve continued this unenviable record of dropping points against teams lower down the table. This season could still go either way very easily so JT needs to take it by the scruff of the neck. He’s been a little too hesitant in the last couple of matches.

- Defensive organisation was a problem at times. The gap in the middle of the defence that kept appearing in the first half was worrying and should have been a situation of which Steve Cook took charge.

- The best thing I can say about that performance is it’d make a good cure for insomnia. I hope that helps someone out there.


--- Player Ratings -


Overall Grade: D
Tindall dropped the ball here. The first half we were poor and lucky to go in ahead. To then try and protect that lead was way too cautious. I understand we aren’t in the Howe era of attack, attack, attack but let’s not start to fall into the mindset of a team that only wants to protect a lead as soon as we get one.

The most frustrating thing is Millwall were absolutely there for the taking.

Having been surprised and impressed with how he started the season I’m getting a little more concerned as it goes on. It feels a little like we’re going backwards in terms of performances.

Lots of work to do, let’s get things back on track on Saturday.
To me a true as it happened poor tactics. Keep making mistakes & giving the ball away. If we carry on like this we will be lucky to make the playoffs. These are the games we should win easily, no excuses. D in my opinion a little better than I would give. A good report of how the play went , keep it up. Say it as you see it
 
#10
Rico isn’t a wing back . Adds no balance apart from he is left footed .
Could not cross the road let alone a ball.

I think the left wing back role is the major role in the team that needs to be addressed
 

CherryBare

Fans' Favourite
#11
Rico either plays a blinder or has a mare, unfortunately its mostly the latter, I think we should move Kelly to left back, we have more centre back options
 
#12
Thanks for another good report. Tbh I enjoyed the game, most of it anyway. I thought McNamara ? fell over very easily, more than Smith and Brooks combined, which is some achievement.
 
#13
Can't agree with how you saw this.

For example, the point of 3 at back is that your Wing Backs don't need the man ahead of them, Smith should be able to gamble knowing Steve Cook can cover and still leave 2 CBs in place. Plus there was a great ball to Smith the one time he got forward which he just needed to bring down to shoot rather than head clear.

Rico tried a lot of forward passes and some didn't come off, but he won it back if he lost it, made a great pass to Kelly after stepping inside, and deserves credit for some much improved corners.

I will agree on Brooks, he was wasteful and in the worst areas to allow counter attacks. I am also concerned he might be on wrong side of refs, reputation for going down softly so when he is fouled we don't get benefit.

Finally, the officials played a big part. How cooper stays on the pitch, why he penalised Solanke when we have a 2 on 1 is beyond me. JT was talking to the officials for a while after the whistle. He won't publicly complain, but I guarantee he submitted negative feedback. Instead of 2 up against 10 men, cooper plays a vital role in their goal, and a good B+ becomes a C- for the same essential performance.