Match report v Rotherham

#1
--- No Sign Of Miller Time Against The Millers ---

Buoyant after recent results and performances, the Cherries went Black Friday weekend shopping for three points at the Big Apple stadium.

The unwelcome news that L Cook and Danjuma both dropped out, not even making the bench due to knocks, was a boon for Billing who was parachuted in resulting in a formation change rather than using Riquelme and keeping the same system.

The whistle peeped and the strange recent habit of the Cherries allowing the opposition an early sighter on goal inside the first couple of minutes continued; 45 seconds on the clock when Brooks was on hand to head an attempt clear for a corner.

Brooks looked like he was picking up where he left off last match, dribbling past Rotherham players and sliding a ball through to Stanislas that was cut out but would have been on a silver platter for Junior had it snuck through.

Unfortunately, inside the first ten minutes the changed formation already seemed to be a problem for us. The reason the 4-2-3-1 has been effective was the movement and interplay between the three behind Solanke. Take one of those out and suddenly the other team track all the our players with ease. There isn’t the same whirlwind across the line with zig-zagging runs leaving defensive players confused what to do and how to cover everyone.

It’s a change that altered our attacking play from panic inducing to easy to handle and I have to lay the fault for this at the door of JT. He received the plaudits when he got it right so he has to take the blows when he messes up.

The three in midfield should have given us a strong foothold and plenty of possession but it never quite worked as Rotherham harried and hassled us all over the pitch and played high balls in whenever they could, something that we seemed singularly ill-prepared to deal with.

On those few occasions we tried to actually play some skillful football Rotherham looked lost. Junior in particular was a threat and looks to be firmly back in some form.

On 15 minutes, he dummied a Gosling pass down the line, leaving the bemused Rotherham defender wondering to where he and the ball had disappeared. His act wasn’t complete though as he then hit a magical first time cross low into the near post. Solanke came bundling in but his sliding contact sent it wide with the keeper stranded in no man’s land.

Three minutes later the Solanke perseverance we’re coming to know and love paid off as he battled around three defenders outside their area, refusing to give up on the ball and managing to retain possession. It came out to Kelly on the left flank who crossed in for Solanke who was now in the area and first to the ball again. Still, with him looking like he would only get to the byline and nothing more the Rotherham keeper Blackwood sounded the horn and unnecessarily charged towards Solanke, clipping his heels.

For the second game running we got given a silly penalty by an opponent panicking at Solanke’s sheer bloody mindedness. Junior dispatched the spot kick down the middle to make it seven conversions from seven pens in Cherries colours for him.

1-0 and an undeserved AFCB lead could have been the springboard to better things but instead we got more drudgery than a Ken Loach film. Time and again Rotherham put the pressure on and time and again we were found wanting.

On 21 minutes Adam Smith was tight in the middle with the centre backs when the ball was sent to the right of our area by Rotherham. Smith scrambled to make up the ceded ground but that positional error meant the Rotherham player had half a yard to fire in a cross which was met with a venomous header that looked set for the top corner. However, Begovic was it’s equal, somehow tipping it over. Top quality keeping.

Rotherham could smell blood whilst my notes say of the game scrappy, scrappy and scrappy again. When you’re meant to have the style and finesse of Floyd Mayweather trying to act all Lenny McLean is an exercise in futility and we got found out as all mouth and not much in the way of fighting trousers.

Billing was having a bit of a nightmare. He was either nowhere near the ball or standing in similar areas to Gosling. This very problem actually conceded possession which led to the equaliser. A loose ball was contested near our area with both Gosling and Billing trying to be the one to pick it up. When Dan did get the ball, he didn’t then have an out pass because the player that should have been in the space for him was instead standing almost on top of him. So instead Gosling shanked it out wide for a throw in to Rotherham.

The throw was played straight back to the thrower Mattock and by the time we realised he wasn’t covered he had plenty of time to send in another dangerous cross. Three AFCB defenders and three Rotherham attackers all in our area so nobody should have been free. It remains a mystery then how Ladapo was able to connect with the cross low down without a challenge even in his postcode, poking it home with no chance for Begovic.

Social distancing is a necessary evil in the current world but I don’t want to see it as part of our defensive strategy in future please.

The half wound down with more scuffles and scraps and me looking forward to JT ringing the half time changes since this had been a terrible 45 from us, especially on the tactical front. There was just time for Stanislas to nearly catch the keeper out with a cheeky free kick that the goalie thought was going to be crossed in. Unfortunately it didn’t quite have enough pace on it and was parried wide after a scramble back from Blackwood.

Having seen a turnaround after the Rico/Kelly half time change v Reading I was fully expecting to see something new. Riquelme for Billing perhaps and reverting to the 4-2-3-1 that has been so effective recently. So I was flummoxed that we seemed content to give the same set up more time, as if we were the ones holding on and wanted to see if we could keep the scores level.

We couldn’t. Four minutes into the second half Begovic came to the rescue of the defensive chaos in front of him again, palming away a good shot. With the ball still bouncing around it ultimately broke to that man Ladapo again who contemptuously ignored the three covering defenders and headed for the byline. As the angle started to get acute he tried to dink the ball to the far post only for it to brush off Smith and spin over Begovic dropping into the far side of the net.

In the PL Bournemouth were well known for being vulnerable defensively but you would often credit that to the quality of the opposition players. The worrying thing this here is that there was nothing spectacular Rotherham were doing but they were all over us like an pustulent rash and we had no clue how to salve it.

It was pure old fashioned get balls into the up front central area from the back, from out wide, from anywhere. Land it on a Rotherham head and then try and pick up the pieces. Please note I’m not criticising the tactic, I’m more annoyed at our complete inability to deal with it. Even once. The video of this match will be manna from heaven to watch for teams with a big man up front as an option.

Rotherham then went full niggle without a single passage of play able to go without a shove, a tug, a hack or something to break it up before we could develop anything. It was thirteen minutes of football I can see Tony Pulis watching in mounting excitement when his wife is out and he wants some special alone time.

Whatever had induced JT’s soporific performance so far finally wore off in the 62nd minute when he made some changes and went for a different formation; 3-5-2. Gosling and Smith off, Rico and Surridge on with Junior going right wing back, Rico on the left and Kelly slotting back into the centre.

I was amazed that Billing survived the cull but hoped the Surridge move might turn out to be a good one. If you’re committed to playing a match in the style of a fight, sending on Bournemouth’s Ivan Drago could make sense. But could he break them?

My internal Billing ranted monologue soon silenced when he was the assist to the assist as the changes made an immediate impact. For the first and possibly only time in the match Billing burst forward with the ball and, with the Rotherham defence on their heels at his sudden aggresive attacking play, he slid it out wide to Rico. Diego spun a cross in which was met with glee by the head of Solanke for the equaliser.

Rotherham responded immediately by putting the Cherries under pressure but twice in quick succession Billing was the man to snuff out dangerous chances in our area. Those three minutes might give him a decent looking highlight reel for the match, one reason why we should always be wary of YouTube videos.

On 66 minutes yet another cross went undealt with and Rotherham central defender Angus Mcdonald channelled his inner Steve Cook to launch a brilliant scissor kick only to see Begovic equal to it once again with another superb diving save. A Rotherham player was on hand to slot the rebound home but fortunately for the Cherries the linesman’s flag correctly went up immediately. A lucky escape.

After that the game finally opened up a bit and the Cherries did manage to create a few fleeting moments. Surridge should have done better when racing through but his poor first touch allowed a defender to get back and block.
 
#2
A move on 77 minutes was, for me, the most telling of the match. With Junior at right wing back and with Brooks in front of him finally they were next to each other for the first time in the game, in the same way the 4-2-3-1 formation would allow to regularly happen with two of the three. It almost brought a goal as their one touch passing left Rotherham chasing shadows and Junior in space and bearing down on their area. His through ball to Solanke was inches away from being perfect but the keeper rushed out and this time got it right.

Lerma tried to score from a free kick near the halfway line when he spotted the keeper way off his line but didn’t quite get enough dip on it. Then on 89 minutes the Cherries sent in a free kick that came to Surridge in acres of space and with a clear sight on goal. Unfortunately his finish looked like an attempt from a Russian boxer as he missed his kick.

Seconds out, match over and Rotherham were the clear winners on the judges scorecards even if the Cherries somehow escaped with a point. From a distance this was two points dropped. For those that watched the 90, this was a lucky draw.


--- Conclusions ---
There’s a saying that goes something like never get into an argument with an idiot as they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. You could repurpose that for today but replace argument with scrap and idiot with street fighter. Why JT decided to eschew quality on the ball to try and go toe-to-toe I’ve no idea but not only did it fail as a tactic he wasn’t nearly proactive enough in trying to change it.

There’s nothing wrong with a different approach if you think the opposition present a unique challenge. Rotherham were effective and good at what they do but in matches like this we should be the ones setting the unusual challenge to the opposition. Against a team set up to harry, niggle, be aggressive, play it long and get crosses in we need to zip the ball around so fast we leave them too dizzy to jump for the high balls. Instead we arrogantly tried to match them and were left the losers on the balance of play and chances if not the final score.

- Begovic, Solanke and Stanislas were the only positives from this match. Bego’s saves were awesome but even he I have to question about some of the crosses he didn’t deal with that maybe should have been his.

- There’s no advantage getting results against all the top six if we then drop points to most of the bottom six. This has become a worrying trend now. Is it over-confidence or something else?

- The old maxim of never change a winning team may not be possible in the modern game but changing the system when a team is flying and you have the perfect replacement which would have allowed you to keep the formation the same is a little bizarre. In my opinion, JT’s worst performance since he took over (remembering I missed the Wednesday match and only saw half of Derby).

- Billing. If he could play for 90 minutes like he played for 3 minutes he’d dominate the Championship. As it is, someone needs to find out what’s up with him as that wasn’t in any way acceptable. Until that’s resolved, Ofoborh surely has to be a better option if we really need an extra CM on the pitch.

I don’t particularly enjoy digging out an AFCB player and I don’t give a rats bottom about his languid style. I do care when he contributes close to nothing outside of that one short period. A goal poacher might get away with that. A CM can’t.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic – 8 and Man of the Match
A point today thanks to him. Still work to do on dealing with crosses but brilliant shot stopping.

A Smith (off at 61) – 5
Never looked comfortable defensively and offered little to nothing going forward. Caught out of position for their first goal that allowed the cross to come in.

Mepham - 5
In a match where header after header is lost to the opponents in the middle of the defence you have to look at your CB’s and ask questions. Not a good day.

S Cook - 5
See Mepham.

Kelly - 5
Hasn’t grown into the LB role over the past couple of games but it took King in his famed ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ period about 6 or 7 matches to adjust to his new position. That’s the sliver of hope to which I’m now clinging to with this experiment.

Lerma – 6
Was in the battle but wasn’t dominant. I’d have put money on him bruising his way through the aggressive tactics but it never really happened.

Billing – 4
Would have been a 3 if it hadn’t have been for those three minutes. They’re also extra frustrating as they showed what he can do.

Gosling (off at 61) – 6
Was all around the park in the first half without ever really taking control of the midfield. Still, a few of the decent moves that did happen in the first 45 came from him winning back the ball or setting things in motion.

Brooks – 6
After the sublime came the distinctly average. On the few occasions the match allowed he was a cut above but most of the time looked like someone’s little brother hiding away whilst the older kids had a punch up. Let down a bit by the formation but still needs to impose himself more on these games.

Solanke – 8
The only outfield player to emerge with pure credit. Battled and harried all match. Another penalty on the back of his doggedness and a good finish for his goal.

Stanislas – 7
The good stuff that did happen often went through him. Seems to be playing into form so hopefully his fitness can keep up with the schedule. That second half Brooks interchange almost made me weep for our formation from the last match.

Surridge (on from 61) – 5
As it Rocky V. Not a good one. Needs to take his chances if he wants to force Tindall into a setup that has a space for him.

Rico (on from 61) – 7
We looked a better team when he was on the pitch, although that may also have been the formation change. Still, an assist inside two minutes is worth an extra point.


Overall Grade: D-
Blimey that was a depressing watch. Kudos to Rotherham who absolutely did a job on us and will rightly feel aggrieved that they didn’t pick up all three points. JT totally dropped the ball in changing the formation, trying to out-battle Rotherham and then not changing things soon enough when it clearly wasn’t working.

Even in the closing minutes with not a lot happening on the pitch there was no sign of Riquelme. I think he might be a tad hacked off tonight. I know I would be if I was him.

Every manager has ‘learning days’ and hopefully this is one for Tindall. Nobody is stamping their authority on this division but that’s only because we’ve dropped silly points after doing the hard work. An opportunity missed.
 
#4
Thanks, at first sight I was a bit daunted by the length but it was a good read and I agree with your scores. Billing was awful, Kelly still looks average at best, so casual at times he's like a Billing Mini Me. Solanke, Begovich and Stanilas were the only ones who could walk away with their heads held high.
 
#6
Not sure the 4-3-3 v 4-2-3-1 was that big a deal. After all it’s just a very minor tweak in player positioning. It was more an issue of personnel. When you remove Stanislas and Cook from the central 3 and replace them with Gosling and Billing, you get a completely different skill set.

Without Danjuma we didn’t really have the pace to stretch them down the left. I get the argument it wasn’t the game for Roro but I’d have liked to have seen him at some point for exactly that reason.
 

DJ

Moderator
#9
Not sure the 4-3-3 v 4-2-3-1 was that big a deal. After all it’s just a very minor tweak in player positioning. It was more an issue of personnel. When you remove Stanislas and Cook from the central 3 and replace them with Gosling and Billing, you get a completely different skill set.

Without Danjuma we didn’t really have the pace to stretch them down the left. I get the argument it wasn’t the game for Roro but I’d have liked to have seen him at some point for exactly that reason.
Its the same thing we debated ad infinitum last season. There’s simply no quick fix with a formation or system.

Change the players a bit, or have someone off form, lacking confidence, not 100% fitness wise etc etc and that one link throws the balance off. The more players like that and it becomes harder and harder.

The difference is we can get away with it a bit more in this division.
 
#10
A move on 77 minutes was, for me, the most telling of the match. With Junior at right wing back and with Brooks in front of him finally they were next to each other for the first time in the game, in the same way the 4-2-3-1 formation would allow to regularly happen with two of the three. It almost brought a goal as their one touch passing left Rotherham chasing shadows and Junior in space and bearing down on their area. His through ball to Solanke was inches away from being perfect but the keeper rushed out and this time got it right.

Lerma tried to score from a free kick near the halfway line when he spotted the keeper way off his line but didn’t quite get enough dip on it. Then on 89 minutes the Cherries sent in a free kick that came to Surridge in acres of space and with a clear sight on goal. Unfortunately his finish looked like an attempt from a Russian boxer as he missed his kick.

Seconds out, match over and Rotherham were the clear winners on the judges scorecards even if the Cherries somehow escaped with a point. From a distance this was two points dropped. For those that watched the 90, this was a lucky draw.


--- Conclusions ---
There’s a saying that goes something like never get into an argument with an idiot as they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. You could repurpose that for today but replace argument with scrap and idiot with street fighter. Why JT decided to eschew quality on the ball to try and go toe-to-toe I’ve no idea but not only did it fail as a tactic he wasn’t nearly proactive enough in trying to change it.

There’s nothing wrong with a different approach if you think the opposition present a unique challenge. Rotherham were effective and good at what they do but in matches like this we should be the ones setting the unusual challenge to the opposition. Against a team set up to harry, niggle, be aggressive, play it long and get crosses in we need to zip the ball around so fast we leave them too dizzy to jump for the high balls. Instead we arrogantly tried to match them and were left the losers on the balance of play and chances if not the final score.

- Begovic, Solanke and Stanislas were the only positives from this match. Bego’s saves were awesome but even he I have to question about some of the crosses he didn’t deal with that maybe should have been his.

- There’s no advantage getting results against all the top six if we then drop points to most of the bottom six. This has become a worrying trend now. Is it over-confidence or something else?

- The old maxim of never change a winning team may not be possible in the modern game but changing the system when a team is flying and you have the perfect replacement which would have allowed you to keep the formation the same is a little bizarre. In my opinion, JT’s worst performance since he took over (remembering I missed the Wednesday match and only saw half of Derby).

- Billing. If he could play for 90 minutes like he played for 3 minutes he’d dominate the Championship. As it is, someone needs to find out what’s up with him as that wasn’t in any way acceptable. Until that’s resolved, Ofoborh surely has to be a better option if we really need an extra CM on the pitch.

I don’t particularly enjoy digging out an AFCB player and I don’t give a rats bottom about his languid style. I do care when he contributes close to nothing outside of that one short period. A goal poacher might get away with that. A CM can’t.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic – 8 and Man of the Match
A point today thanks to him. Still work to do on dealing with crosses but brilliant shot stopping.

A Smith (off at 61) – 5
Never looked comfortable defensively and offered little to nothing going forward. Caught out of position for their first goal that allowed the cross to come in.

Mepham - 5
In a match where header after header is lost to the opponents in the middle of the defence you have to look at your CB’s and ask questions. Not a good day.

S Cook - 5
See Mepham.

Kelly - 5
Hasn’t grown into the LB role over the past couple of games but it took King in his famed ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ period about 6 or 7 matches to adjust to his new position. That’s the sliver of hope to which I’m now clinging to with this experiment.

Lerma – 6
Was in the battle but wasn’t dominant. I’d have put money on him bruising his way through the aggressive tactics but it never really happened.

Billing – 4
Would have been a 3 if it hadn’t have been for those three minutes. They’re also extra frustrating as they showed what he can do.

Gosling (off at 61) – 6
Was all around the park in the first half without ever really taking control of the midfield. Still, a few of the decent moves that did happen in the first 45 came from him winning back the ball or setting things in motion.

Brooks – 6
After the sublime came the distinctly average. On the few occasions the match allowed he was a cut above but most of the time looked like someone’s little brother hiding away whilst the older kids had a punch up. Let down a bit by the formation but still needs to impose himself more on these games.

Solanke – 8
The only outfield player to emerge with pure credit. Battled and harried all match. Another penalty on the back of his doggedness and a good finish for his goal.

Stanislas – 7
The good stuff that did happen often went through him. Seems to be playing into form so hopefully his fitness can keep up with the schedule. That second half Brooks interchange almost made me weep for our formation from the last match.

Surridge (on from 61) – 5
As it Rocky V. Not a good one. Needs to take his chances if he wants to force Tindall into a setup that has a space for him.

Rico (on from 61) – 7
We looked a better team when he was on the pitch, although that may also have been the formation change. Still, an assist inside two minutes is worth an extra point.


Overall Grade: D-
Blimey that was a depressing watch. Kudos to Rotherham who absolutely did a job on us and will rightly feel aggrieved that they didn’t pick up all three points. JT totally dropped the ball in changing the formation, trying to out-battle Rotherham and then not changing things soon enough when it clearly wasn’t working.

Even in the closing minutes with not a lot happening on the pitch there was no sign of Riquelme. I think he might be a tad hacked off tonight. I know I would be if I was him.

Every manager has ‘learning days’ and hopefully this is one for Tindall. Nobody is stamping their authority on this division but that’s only because we’ve dropped silly points after doing the hard work. An opportunity missed.
Hi Kriska, I would just like to say a heart felt thanks to taking the time to write such a thorough and most enjoyable report. ( wish the match had been so good ! ) I am sure there are many many people who couldn't watch the game, but will so appreciate you giving up your time for them. Good man !!
 
#13
Not sure the 4-3-3 v 4-2-3-1 was that big a deal. After all it’s just a very minor tweak in player positioning. It was more an issue of personnel. When you remove Stanislas and Cook from the central 3 and replace them with Gosling and Billing, you get a completely different skill set.

Without Danjuma we didn’t really have the pace to stretch them down the left. I get the argument it wasn’t the game for Roro but I’d have liked to have seen him at some point for exactly that reason.
It's two sides of the same coin, you can argue formation or personnel. If we had a Lampard or a Scholes type you could have kept the same formation without a 'winger' type. We don't and so the players on the pitch meant it dropped into more of a defensive shape but that turned out to be absolutely crucial in changing out attacking impetus.

All the good stuff in the recent games came from one of the trio behind Solanke being on the ball and having a similar type of player to bounce it off and buzzing around in space dragging defensive players out of position. There were times I watched Brooks or Stanislas get on the ball, get their head up and look at a massed defensive rank in front of them with Solanke surrounded by bodies and their opposite number way over on the other side of the pitch.

The replacement man in the middle simply didn't have the game style to get into the positions needed. Gosling did a few times but not nearly enough.

If someone with my very basic tactical knowledge could see that would happen before kick off then let's not pretend that JT didn't expect it. He clearly took the decision to try and out battle Rotherham in the middle of the pitch and to sacrifice some attacking play in exchange. He had exactly the player on the bench if he wanted to keep things the same, a player that he's turned to numerous times this season as a sub already so must have some trust in, and yet he chose not to use him.

It was a tactical call to be more solid in the middle and it turned out to be a bad one. We never really controlled the match from the centre of the park and Billing and Gosling often tried to occupy the same space.

Tindall got it wrong. Nobody is perfect and he's had a mostly excellent start. There's just some frustration that we're dropping points in matches we shouldn't, otherwise we'd be clear and away as pacesetters in this division.
 
#14
"There's just some frustration that we're dropping points in matches we shouldn't, otherwise we'd be clear and away as pacesetters in this division. "
I agree, but there's a lot to be said for NOT being the runaway pacesetters in the early season. All too often, those teams blow up halfway through. I'm quite happy being tucked in 2nd or 3rd place, keeping plenty in reserve for the final sprint next spring.
 
#15
A move on 77 minutes was, for me, the most telling of the match. With Junior at right wing back and with Brooks in front of him finally they were next to each other for the first time in the game, in the same way the 4-2-3-1 formation would allow to regularly happen with two of the three. It almost brought a goal as their one touch passing left Rotherham chasing shadows and Junior in space and bearing down on their area. His through ball to Solanke was inches away from being perfect but the keeper rushed out and this time got it right.

Lerma tried to score from a free kick near the halfway line when he spotted the keeper way off his line but didn’t quite get enough dip on it. Then on 89 minutes the Cherries sent in a free kick that came to Surridge in acres of space and with a clear sight on goal. Unfortunately his finish looked like an attempt from a Russian boxer as he missed his kick.

Seconds out, match over and Rotherham were the clear winners on the judges scorecards even if the Cherries somehow escaped with a point. From a distance this was two points dropped. For those that watched the 90, this was a lucky draw.


--- Conclusions ---
There’s a saying that goes something like never get into an argument with an idiot as they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. You could repurpose that for today but replace argument with scrap and idiot with street fighter. Why JT decided to eschew quality on the ball to try and go toe-to-toe I’ve no idea but not only did it fail as a tactic he wasn’t nearly proactive enough in trying to change it.

There’s nothing wrong with a different approach if you think the opposition present a unique challenge. Rotherham were effective and good at what they do but in matches like this we should be the ones setting the unusual challenge to the opposition. Against a team set up to harry, niggle, be aggressive, play it long and get crosses in we need to zip the ball around so fast we leave them too dizzy to jump for the high balls. Instead we arrogantly tried to match them and were left the losers on the balance of play and chances if not the final score.

- Begovic, Solanke and Stanislas were the only positives from this match. Bego’s saves were awesome but even he I have to question about some of the crosses he didn’t deal with that maybe should have been his.

- There’s no advantage getting results against all the top six if we then drop points to most of the bottom six. This has become a worrying trend now. Is it over-confidence or something else?

- The old maxim of never change a winning team may not be possible in the modern game but changing the system when a team is flying and you have the perfect replacement which would have allowed you to keep the formation the same is a little bizarre. In my opinion, JT’s worst performance since he took over (remembering I missed the Wednesday match and only saw half of Derby).

- Billing. If he could play for 90 minutes like he played for 3 minutes he’d dominate the Championship. As it is, someone needs to find out what’s up with him as that wasn’t in any way acceptable. Until that’s resolved, Ofoborh surely has to be a better option if we really need an extra CM on the pitch.

I don’t particularly enjoy digging out an AFCB player and I don’t give a rats bottom about his languid style. I do care when he contributes close to nothing outside of that one short period. A goal poacher might get away with that. A CM can’t.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic – 8 and Man of the Match
A point today thanks to him. Still work to do on dealing with crosses but brilliant shot stopping.

A Smith (off at 61) – 5
Never looked comfortable defensively and offered little to nothing going forward. Caught out of position for their first goal that allowed the cross to come in.

Mepham - 5
In a match where header after header is lost to the opponents in the middle of the defence you have to look at your CB’s and ask questions. Not a good day.

S Cook - 5
See Mepham.

Kelly - 5
Hasn’t grown into the LB role over the past couple of games but it took King in his famed ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ period about 6 or 7 matches to adjust to his new position. That’s the sliver of hope to which I’m now clinging to with this experiment.

Lerma – 6
Was in the battle but wasn’t dominant. I’d have put money on him bruising his way through the aggressive tactics but it never really happened.

Billing – 4
Would have been a 3 if it hadn’t have been for those three minutes. They’re also extra frustrating as they showed what he can do.

Gosling (off at 61) – 6
Was all around the park in the first half without ever really taking control of the midfield. Still, a few of the decent moves that did happen in the first 45 came from him winning back the ball or setting things in motion.

Brooks – 6
After the sublime came the distinctly average. On the few occasions the match allowed he was a cut above but most of the time looked like someone’s little brother hiding away whilst the older kids had a punch up. Let down a bit by the formation but still needs to impose himself more on these games.

Solanke – 8
The only outfield player to emerge with pure credit. Battled and harried all match. Another penalty on the back of his doggedness and a good finish for his goal.

Stanislas – 7
The good stuff that did happen often went through him. Seems to be playing into form so hopefully his fitness can keep up with the schedule. That second half Brooks interchange almost made me weep for our formation from the last match.

Surridge (on from 61) – 5
As it Rocky V. Not a good one. Needs to take his chances if he wants to force Tindall into a setup that has a space for him.

Rico (on from 61) – 7
We looked a better team when he was on the pitch, although that may also have been the formation change. Still, an assist inside two minutes is worth an extra point.


Overall Grade: D-
Blimey that was a depressing watch. Kudos to Rotherham who absolutely did a job on us and will rightly feel aggrieved that they didn’t pick up all three points. JT totally dropped the ball in changing the formation, trying to out-battle Rotherham and then not changing things soon enough when it clearly wasn’t working.

Even in the closing minutes with not a lot happening on the pitch there was no sign of Riquelme. I think he might be a tad hacked off tonight. I know I would be if I was him.

Every manager has ‘learning days’ and hopefully this is one for Tindall. Nobody is stamping their authority on this division but that’s only because we’ve dropped silly points after doing the hard work. An opportunity missed.
I agree totally with your report, well done praise when required criticism ALL SO. A poor showing need to stop picking in my opinion a negative starting 11. Billing & Gosling both do not fill me any enthusiasm, both one paced also give the ball away rather a lot. We always seem to pick a lesser side against the bottom sides thinking we will win, but they try a lot harder against the top sides in the division. This will give them a boost. We all like to see team win but Rotherham where the better side Begovic save our backside. Hopefully a lesson learned & a more balanced side against Preston.
 
#17
A move on 77 minutes was, for me, the most telling of the match. With Junior at right wing back and with Brooks in front of him finally they were next to each other for the first time in the game, in the same way the 4-2-3-1 formation would allow to regularly happen with two of the three. It almost brought a goal as their one touch passing left Rotherham chasing shadows and Junior in space and bearing down on their area. His through ball to Solanke was inches away from being perfect but the keeper rushed out and this time got it right.

Lerma tried to score from a free kick near the halfway line when he spotted the keeper way off his line but didn’t quite get enough dip on it. Then on 89 minutes the Cherries sent in a free kick that came to Surridge in acres of space and with a clear sight on goal. Unfortunately his finish looked like an attempt from a Russian boxer as he missed his kick.

Seconds out, match over and Rotherham were the clear winners on the judges scorecards even if the Cherries somehow escaped with a point. From a distance this was two points dropped. For those that watched the 90, this was a lucky draw.


--- Conclusions ---
There’s a saying that goes something like never get into an argument with an idiot as they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. You could repurpose that for today but replace argument with scrap and idiot with street fighter. Why JT decided to eschew quality on the ball to try and go toe-to-toe I’ve no idea but not only did it fail as a tactic he wasn’t nearly proactive enough in trying to change it.

There’s nothing wrong with a different approach if you think the opposition present a unique challenge. Rotherham were effective and good at what they do but in matches like this we should be the ones setting the unusual challenge to the opposition. Against a team set up to harry, niggle, be aggressive, play it long and get crosses in we need to zip the ball around so fast we leave them too dizzy to jump for the high balls. Instead we arrogantly tried to match them and were left the losers on the balance of play and chances if not the final score.

- Begovic, Solanke and Stanislas were the only positives from this match. Bego’s saves were awesome but even he I have to question about some of the crosses he didn’t deal with that maybe should have been his.

- There’s no advantage getting results against all the top six if we then drop points to most of the bottom six. This has become a worrying trend now. Is it over-confidence or something else?

- The old maxim of never change a winning team may not be possible in the modern game but changing the system when a team is flying and you have the perfect replacement which would have allowed you to keep the formation the same is a little bizarre. In my opinion, JT’s worst performance since he took over (remembering I missed the Wednesday match and only saw half of Derby).

- Billing. If he could play for 90 minutes like he played for 3 minutes he’d dominate the Championship. As it is, someone needs to find out what’s up with him as that wasn’t in any way acceptable. Until that’s resolved, Ofoborh surely has to be a better option if we really need an extra CM on the pitch.

I don’t particularly enjoy digging out an AFCB player and I don’t give a rats bottom about his languid style. I do care when he contributes close to nothing outside of that one short period. A goal poacher might get away with that. A CM can’t.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic – 8 and Man of the Match
A point today thanks to him. Still work to do on dealing with crosses but brilliant shot stopping.

A Smith (off at 61) – 5
Never looked comfortable defensively and offered little to nothing going forward. Caught out of position for their first goal that allowed the cross to come in.

Mepham - 5
In a match where header after header is lost to the opponents in the middle of the defence you have to look at your CB’s and ask questions. Not a good day.

S Cook - 5
See Mepham.

Kelly - 5
Hasn’t grown into the LB role over the past couple of games but it took King in his famed ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ period about 6 or 7 matches to adjust to his new position. That’s the sliver of hope to which I’m now clinging to with this experiment.

Lerma – 6
Was in the battle but wasn’t dominant. I’d have put money on him bruising his way through the aggressive tactics but it never really happened.

Billing – 4
Would have been a 3 if it hadn’t have been for those three minutes. They’re also extra frustrating as they showed what he can do.

Gosling (off at 61) – 6
Was all around the park in the first half without ever really taking control of the midfield. Still, a few of the decent moves that did happen in the first 45 came from him winning back the ball or setting things in motion.

Brooks – 6
After the sublime came the distinctly average. On the few occasions the match allowed he was a cut above but most of the time looked like someone’s little brother hiding away whilst the older kids had a punch up. Let down a bit by the formation but still needs to impose himself more on these games.

Solanke – 8
The only outfield player to emerge with pure credit. Battled and harried all match. Another penalty on the back of his doggedness and a good finish for his goal.

Stanislas – 7
The good stuff that did happen often went through him. Seems to be playing into form so hopefully his fitness can keep up with the schedule. That second half Brooks interchange almost made me weep for our formation from the last match.

Surridge (on from 61) – 5
As it Rocky V. Not a good one. Needs to take his chances if he wants to force Tindall into a setup that has a space for him.

Rico (on from 61) – 7
We looked a better team when he was on the pitch, although that may also have been the formation change. Still, an assist inside two minutes is worth an extra point.


Overall Grade: D-
Blimey that was a depressing watch. Kudos to Rotherham who absolutely did a job on us and will rightly feel aggrieved that they didn’t pick up all three points. JT totally dropped the ball in changing the formation, trying to out-battle Rotherham and then not changing things soon enough when it clearly wasn’t working.

Even in the closing minutes with not a lot happening on the pitch there was no sign of Riquelme. I think he might be a tad hacked off tonight. I know I would be if I was him.

Every manager has ‘learning days’ and hopefully this is one for Tindall. Nobody is stamping their authority on this division but that’s only because we’ve dropped silly points after doing the hard work. An opportunity missed.
Excellent report and analysis.
 

Garbo

UTC Legend
#19
...aah well we will get these types of games, I have never really known us to be great against direct teams like Rotherham...god knows we used to struggle v Burnley enough times in The PL !

Defensively we are getting pulled apart still but at least we have something up front to counterbalance that in this league!

Tinkering with formations is more of a worry, although losing Danjuma and Lewis must have been a factor in this..

There are a few connundrums like Rico or Kelly at LB?...and Stacey or Smith at RB?..the spine of the team looks set with Bego-S Cook & Mepahm-L Cook & Lerma-Solanke..

I would like to see Riquelme given a chance to start and show if he can cope with the physical aspects of the game required?

Billing..Surridge..and Gosling (to a lesser degree) may be lacking and that is something hopefully will turn around over the forthcoming busy period of matches.