Match report v Stoke

#1
--- Solitary Goal Saves Eyes From Being Glazed Over At Potteries ---

After a good performance that garnered no points last time out, Tindall set up the Cherries up for a potential battle in a snow hit Stoke. Bringing in some heft up front with Surridge for Brooks and adding an extra man to the CB defensive line with Billing dropping out of the squad, presumably injured.

It was a tepid start to the game with the teams mostly holding each other at arms length. The ball moving around the pitch but rarely getting into interesting positions and the energy levels from both sides were a bit Sunday League after a heavy New Years Eve party.

Stoke seemed intent on trying to get crosses into the box, peppering a succession of poor balls in from all angles. Their forwards were often first to the ball but never made a decent fist of an effort at goal from any of them.

It’s becoming a theme but again they seemed to be targetting our left sided defensive position. We were trying to pass the ball out from defence but the press on that side was regularly forcing us back, back, back until either Beogivc was obluged to lump it forward or one of the defenders was left close to being boxed in near the corner flag. That player would then attempt a ball down the line invariably for it to end up with Stoke in possession at around the position where we first started passing it backwards. Either that or a poor touch or pass would gift the ball to Stoke somewhere during the passing backwards process.

This is a genuine problem that is being exploited by the opposition. We don’t have the same issues on the other side of the pitch and until we fix this we can expect every team to go after us there as we look vulnerable. I’m not digging out one particular player as several were caught poorly there; Lerma, Simpson, Rico and Kelly.

One sloppy Simpson clearance was too slow allowing a block to come in from which the ball was played into the channel for Allen whose shot from an angle was stopped by the legs of Begovic.

With little in the way of quality playing it out of their half, the Cherries were often resorting to lumping it aimlessly forward in the hope it would land kindly. It didn’t.

Finally in the 21st minute Lewis Cook picked up the ball in a central position halfway inside our half in space. For once the Stoke press was nowhere to be seen allowing him to get his head up and play a sumptuous long ball which bisected the Stoke centre halves with German Brexit English precision engineering for Solanke to run onto. He’d timed and directed his run perfectly, like the player in form he is, and his eyes lit up as he saw the keeper gamble on rushing out. He lofted the ball over the hapless goalie from outside the area and was unfortunate that it didn’t quite dip in time, instead clipping the top of the cross bar.

After that brief respite, the game descended again into some kind of uncontrolled football ping pong with the ball bouncing from one team to the other with almost nobody showing any class when in possession.

When the Cherries did get forward the formation was causing them problems with the wing backs far too withdrawn. Instead of bombing down and trying to pressure the corner quadrant they were often halfway back letting Stoke sit in behind them and leaving us with little width and no space in which to operate. At one point we had an attacking throw and Kelly laughed at what was in front of him – six Stoke players and three AFCB ones. Not committing large numbers to that space is fine but we then need to have the players in space elsewhere for the attack but instead they were patrolling the halfway line.

Stanislas was meant to be the trequartista feeding Surridge and Solanke but barely a single pass went between them in that first half as possession for the trio was like hen’s teeth.

Solanke still managed to look threatening when the ball game near him at least. On 40 minutes he took another long ball on his chest in a way that opened up the defence and let him play Surridge in from his diagonal run but the pass was a touch overhit. Unfortunate but a highlight compared to most of the dirge that had gone before.

The half time whistle came and I thought to myself that was a pretty good display, if we were playing away at Man City. Away at Stoke it was solid but uninspiring and hardly the stuff of a promotion chasing team.

Half time rockets duly dished out, AFCB came out of the blocks and started to show us how this formation was meant to be played. Lewis Cook smeared a ball across goal but it didn’t quite land right and then sharp passing and running brought another ball across goal that was begging to be tapped in only for the keeper to push it away before it reached the Cherry shirt. Still, at least the impetus was there and they were finally taking the game to Stoke.

Sadly, it was a short live shot of adrenaline as the pedestrian game from the first half returned. My eyelids started to get heavy as the soporific non-event on screen started to act like a lullaby.

Lump it forward. Control it poorly. Pass it badly. Go backwards.
Lump it forward. Control it poorly. Pass it badly. Go backwards.
Lump it forward. Control it poorly. Pass it badly. Go backwards.
Lump it forward. Control it poorly. Pass it badly. Go backwards.

After the exciting and smooth pass and move of the Brentford game, this was so mechanical and jerky Kraftwerk could probably have turned it into an album track.

Meanwhile Tindall was a somnambulist on the sidelines. Despite the fact what we were seeing on the pitch couldn’t possibly have resembled his game plan, there was no tactical movement to try and change or influence it.

I’m guessing a snowflake finally drifted into his snoring, open mouth finally jerking him awake and into action on the 70th minute, bringing Brooks on for the disappointing Surridge.

Brooks has been out of sorts of lately, rarely even getting involved in games never mind dominating them. Maybe being dropped was the kick up the backside he needed as he was suddenly on the ball and influential. Drifting between a wing and inside right role he asked Stoke all sorts of questions and it didn’t appear as though they had a lot in the way of answers.

Not everything Brooks did was good, there were moments of poor control and bad decisions but the mere fact he looked like he might make something happen was a big step up from what went before.

With Stoke now looking a little nervy, on 78 minutes Lewis Cook again got the ball in space in his half and played another long ball over the top, this time for the run of Junior who’d turned his man and left him for dead. It drifted a little left but still through on goal, Stanislas was able to slot it past the keeper to make it a good start for June to January. 1-0 and some relief for AFCB.

85 minutes saw a worrying moment as a heavy clash of knees with a Stoke player saw Adam Smith hobble off to be replaced by King. Hopefully it was only a jarred knee and a precautionary sub.

King actually looked interested which was good to see. It was almost like the transfer window was open and scouts might be checking the match from afar. Still it allowed the Cherries to apply some late pressure rather than sitting back trying to repel attacks, with Solanke, King and Brooks all involved. One glorious Solanke dribble to the byline past two men with power and pace ended in a cut back that Stanislas marmalised at goal but it cannoned off a defender. Unlucky!

The game ended with three points. So what would you rather have, an excellent performance but no points or a mostly uninspired one with three points? We’ve seen them both in the last two fixtures. This match was the essence of grinding out a win.
 
#2
--- Conclusions ---

- Tactically this was a mess in an attacking sense. You could see JT obviously tried to sort it out at half time from the way they came out and played for the first five minutes of the second period. When things then reverted to type he should have made a change rather than sitting hoping something would happen for so long. We’re lucky Stoke were so poor going forwards.

- We have to find a way to deal with the press, especially on our left. We’re going to get punished soon if we don’t sort it out.

- Good to see the brave choice to bench a big name like Brooks and, even better, that it seemed to get through to him as he was a different player than of late when he came on.

- Three at the back is fine but you have to push the wing backs forward or you end up with this huge gap to the attackers and no width. That first half was a tactical masterclass in how not to play the formation.

- I worry for Surridge. We know he’s an enthusiastic big lad but that doesn’t mean when he’s playing we need to treat him like Supa or play like we’re in L2. He’s not and we’re not. It’s an insult to his skills, and the skills of the rest of the team, that we so often hoofed it forward, presumably because he was on the pitch.

- I want to draw a distinction between the two Lewis Cook long balls that landed out of reach of defenders and in the path of attackers making runs and the longs balls everyone else was lumping forward for the big defensive units to swallow whole like peanuts. The first was head up, spot the run and a precision pass at distance. The second was utter dross I’d have been disappointed to see from Willo in the 80s.

- Stoke are where they in significant part due to the goals of Tyrese Campbell. With him out injured they’ve been toothless. The three at the back should have been able to deal with everything but still lost a lot of headers from crosses into the box. Poor quality from their attackers often saved us rather than good defending.

- It was a cold winter evening away in Stoke and we got three points. For that we can be thankful.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic – 7
Had little to do but on those rare occasions he was called upon he was there.

A Smith (off on 86) – 6
Too withdrawn for a wing back in this formation. Tactical?

S Cook – 6
Clean sheet but too many headers lost in the area for me to be completely comfortable. Luckily they were rubbish up front.

Simpson – 6
See S Cook

Kelly – 6
Problems with the press that need addressing urgently.

Rico – 6
See Kelly and Smith.

L Cook – 7 and Man of the Match
When there was a rare spark of quality, he was usually the instigator.

Stanislas – 7
Took his goal well so gets a bump for that but was anonymous in the first half.

Lerma – 5
Poor control. Poor passing. Poor. Exactly the kind of play for which Gosling normally gets pelters when he has a match like that.

Solanke – 7
Desperately tried to make things happen and very nearly did a couple of times.

Surridge (off on 71) – 5
I feel this is harsh on him as it was often what was happening further back in the pitch that meant he couldn’t influence play. However, where Dom fashioned his own luck Sam drifted into obscurity.

--- Subs ---
Brooks (on from 71) – 7
By no means perfect and made mistakes on the ball but at least was involved from the moment he got on the pitch and tried to make things happen. It’s a generous 7 in the same way Surridge was a harsh 5.

King (on from 86) – 6
Only on for a short time but looked interested. Welcome back to the King we remember, before we shortly wave goodbye. Probably.


Overall Grade: B
There’s a bonus to that grade from picking up the three points, as I said after Brentford it’s a results business.

Still, it was a really dull match that I think Tindall should have tried to influence more and I was disappointed that he left it so late. However, it worked so who am I to judge?

Four league games coming up in which we’d hope to get results so it’s a big month ahead. Would I take four more snooze inducing performances that garner twelve points? Probably.
 
#4
- I want to draw a distinction between the two Lewis Cook long balls that landed out of reach of defenders and in the path of attackers making runs and the longs balls everyone else was lumping forward for the big defensive units to swallow whole like peanuts. The first was head up, spot the run and a precision pass at distance. The second was utter dross I’d have been disappointed to see from Willo in the 80s.

Really!!!!
 
#6
- I want to draw a distinction between the two Lewis Cook long balls that landed out of reach of defenders and in the path of attackers making runs and the longs balls everyone else was lumping forward for the big defensive units to swallow whole like peanuts. The first was head up, spot the run and a precision pass at distance. The second was utter dross I’d have been disappointed to see from Willo in the 80s.

Really!!!!
Sure, it's on the nose stuff but I wanted to preempt anyone saying our goal and best chance came from long balls. There was a world of difference between them and most of what happened.
 
#8
GOOD REPORT.
How on earth did Stan get the actual MOM award.?? Even he didn't know when awarded the trophy. Lewis Cook is thriving at this level and is head and shoulders above most of the division in his position.
The match was Really not a great watch, but three very welcome points. Just shows how the division works, played much better against Brentford and got nothing. UTC
 
#9
- I want to draw a distinction between the two Lewis Cook long balls that landed out of reach of defenders and in the path of attackers making runs and the longs balls everyone else was lumping forward for the big defensive units to swallow whole like peanuts. The first was head up, spot the run and a precision pass at distance. The second was utter dross I’d have been disappointed to see from Willo in the 80s.

Really!!!!
I think he meant the difference between both of the passes Lewis made compared to the other hoof balls,and not the the first pass and the second pass of Lewis.
 
#12
I think he meant the difference between both of the passes Lewis made compared to the other hoof balls,and not the the first pass and the second pass of Lewis.
need to remember as a defenderor midfielder looking forward , at times with lack of movements there is no choice .
Playing wing backs means most of the football is played centrally rather than say 442 where you build up on either wings .

with someone with pace up top you have got the options of playing the ball in the channels knowing they have a good chance of getting it
 
#14
--- Conclusions ---

- Tactically this was a mess in an attacking sense. You could see JT obviously tried to sort it out at half time from the way they came out and played for the first five minutes of the second period. When things then reverted to type he should have made a change rather than sitting hoping something would happen for so long. We’re lucky Stoke were so poor going forwards.

- We have to find a way to deal with the press, especially on our left. We’re going to get punished soon if we don’t sort it out.

- Good to see the brave choice to bench a big name like Brooks and, even better, that it seemed to get through to him as he was a different player than of late when he came on.

- Three at the back is fine but you have to push the wing backs forward or you end up with this huge gap to the attackers and no width. That first half was a tactical masterclass in how not to play the formation.

- I worry for Surridge. We know he’s an enthusiastic big lad but that doesn’t mean when he’s playing we need to treat him like Supa or play like we’re in L2. He’s not and we’re not. It’s an insult to his skills, and the skills of the rest of the team, that we so often hoofed it forward, presumably because he was on the pitch.

- I want to draw a distinction between the two Lewis Cook long balls that landed out of reach of defenders and in the path of attackers making runs and the longs balls everyone else was lumping forward for the big defensive units to swallow whole like peanuts. The first was head up, spot the run and a precision pass at distance. The second was utter dross I’d have been disappointed to see from Willo in the 80s.

- Stoke are where they in significant part due to the goals of Tyrese Campbell. With him out injured they’ve been toothless. The three at the back should have been able to deal with everything but still lost a lot of headers from crosses into the box. Poor quality from their attackers often saved us rather than good defending.

- It was a cold winter evening away in Stoke and we got three points. For that we can be thankful.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic – 7
Had little to do but on those rare occasions he was called upon he was there.

A Smith (off on 86) – 6
Too withdrawn for a wing back in this formation. Tactical?

S Cook – 6
Clean sheet but too many headers lost in the area for me to be completely comfortable. Luckily they were rubbish up front.

Simpson – 6
See S Cook

Kelly – 6
Problems with the press that need addressing urgently.

Rico – 6
See Kelly and Smith.

L Cook – 7 and Man of the Match
When there was a rare spark of quality, he was usually the instigator.

Stanislas – 7
Took his goal well so gets a bump for that but was anonymous in the first half.

Lerma – 5
Poor control. Poor passing. Poor. Exactly the kind of play for which Gosling normally gets pelters when he has a match like that.

Solanke – 7
Desperately tried to make things happen and very nearly did a couple of times.

Surridge (off on 71) – 5
I feel this is harsh on him as it was often what was happening further back in the pitch that meant he couldn’t influence play. However, where Dom fashioned his own luck Sam drifted into obscurity.

--- Subs ---
Brooks (on from 71) – 7
By no means perfect and made mistakes on the ball but at least was involved from the moment he got on the pitch and tried to make things happen. It’s a generous 7 in the same way Surridge was a harsh 5.

King (on from 86) – 6
Only on for a short time but looked interested. Welcome back to the King we remember, before we shortly wave goodbye. Probably.


Overall Grade: B
There’s a bonus to that grade from picking up the three points, as I said after Brentford it’s a results business.

Still, it was a really dull match that I think Tindall should have tried to influence more and I was disappointed that he left it so late. However, it worked so who am I to judge?

Four league games coming up in which we’d hope to get results so it’s a big month ahead. Would I take four more snooze inducing performances that garner twelve points? Probably.
Very good appraisal of a poor game, lacking in most departments. We seem to lack drive, with little or no ambition. The right side as you say seem to have a hard time every game, they tend to get themselves in a fix trying to play out from the keepers ball. Some of this poor decision making & poor passing. Both Lerma & Stanilas where missing the first half but Stanislas improved in the second with a fine goal. I think b was about right but as you say we need to sort out the right side.
 
#15
OK - where does this leave us in relation to transfers? Main feature of the game for the first hour was the absence of our midfield - L Cook can't do it on his own. We still need a creative midfielder IMO - one player down (eg Billing) and we've nothing to field, as JT seems unwilling to try a youngster.

I don't believe the "nothing in the kitty" story. Let's get a decent midfielder to maintain the promotion challenge.
 
#16
OK - where does this leave us in relation to transfers? Main feature of the game for the first hour was the absence of our midfield - L Cook can't do it on his own. We still need a creative midfielder IMO - one player down (eg Billing) and we've nothing to field, as JT seems unwilling to try a youngster.

I don't believe the "nothing in the kitty" story. Let's get a decent midfielder to maintain the promotion challenge.
Maybe a fit Jack Wilshere would be happy for the challenge on a short term pay as you play deal.
 

DJ

Moderator
#17
- I worry for Surridge. We know he’s an enthusiastic big lad but that doesn’t mean when he’s playing we need to treat him like Supa or play like we’re in L2. He’s not and we’re not. It’s an insult to his skills, and the skills of the rest of the team, that we so often hoofed it forward, presumably because he was on the pitch.



Surridge (off on 71) – 5
I feel this is harsh on him as it was often what was happening further back in the pitch that meant he couldn’t influence play. However, where Dom fashioned his own luck Sam drifted into obscurity.
I really want to like Surridge, he's one of our own, he's young. He attacks the near post etc.

But at the moment, he just doesn't show enough to be a regular starter. It was the same during his loan spells as well. It was pretty evident from the first-half display that he needed to come off for an extra man in the middle.

He was also very poor with the ball last night, doing his best David Brooks impression from last week.
 
#18
Very harsh on Lerma, but otherwise spot on for me.

Lewis Cook, easily MOTM (again).
What did Lerma do to warrant more than a 5? The OP is spot on, if Gosling puts in that performance then he’s getting lambasted and I’d wager that no one would think that it’s harsh. Yet because it’s Jeff for some reason he can’t be called out. I’m yet to work out what it is that he majorly contributes to the team tbh. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not awful, but what are his standout qualities that he brings to the table? It certainly isn’t ball winning. He’s a 25m midfielder and I’m not convinced he offers anymore than Gosling tbh.
 
#19
I really want to like Surridge, he's one of our own, he's young. He attacks the near post etc.

But at the moment, he just doesn't show enough to be a regular starter. It was the same during his loan spells as well. It was pretty evident from the first-half display that he needed to come off for an extra man in the middle.

He was also very poor with the ball last night, doing his best David Brooks impression from last week.
I know what you mean but, albeit at a lower level, I think he's offering more as a bit part young striker than Solanke was when he was in and out of the team. We do need to stop the insistence of constantly trying to hit it long when he's on the pitch though.

He definitely has goals in him and when you have that there's a good chance you can fashion a good striker. Maybe he needs that run of 15-20 starts Solanke got before he consistently comes good? Unfortunately for him, we aren't in a position to offer that right now.
 
#20
I see they're griping about the disallowed 'goal'.

They certainly have a case that it was a fortunate decision that the ref blew but you can't claim that, when the defenders and keeper stop on the whistle and an attacker then puts the ball into the net unchallenged because they've stopped a goal has been disallowed. It wasn't even remotely a disallowed goal. Odd lot.