Loads of old iron...and a new striker
Report by Mike Scofield
A fabulous old town, but the world's worst ground...more corrugated iron than
I've seen in a long time. About 8/900 Watford fans, turned up, but were
pretty subdued as there was just not much to get excited about.
Gifton Noel-Williams up front with Big Dev - presumably Andrews (sensibly )
being rested after an injury. Gifton is a bit gangly and awkward, not dissimilar
in looks to Dev, but has pace and good control. He did struggle to understand
what the other players expected him to do when he got into space. Mooney (who
spent the whole game slagging off his team mates when he made mistakes) had a
real go because he did not run into space ready for Mooney's long pass towards
the far corner. Gifton had a couple of decent runs, but couldn't get enough
space to finish anything off.
After Watford pressure for the first 10 mins, Shrewsbury started to get back
into it. They forced a succession of corners, and our defenders could not fathom
out what they were going to do, despite the fact that they only have one move
from a corner......wave both arms in the air to signal the long far post
corner, then play it short to the striker who darts away from the near post
towards the kicker...he then plays it back to the full back who whips it in
hard at head height. This happened about five times before Mooney and Gibbs
finally gave chase.
Johnson won lots in midfield and Bazeley continued to look good, skipping past
the full back and crossing. Millen was almost unbeatable, and only once got
caught out by a long ball over the top, which Palmer just about got back to
stop. They nearly scored from close in, but the striker seemed to hit it with
his knee and Miller got down well to get it away for a corner...guess what they
did from the corner...yawn.
We finished the half reasonably well, White missed header from the penalty
spot, when they thought he was offside, and it looped onto the top of the net.
He should have done better...after all he's only in the team for his aerial
The Watford kids won the half time shoot out - even after Shrewsbury put two
16 year olds in their team - very evenly matched against our 6-12 year
Connolly came on for the second half, made a few dangerous runs, hit the angle of bar and
post, when he had the goal at his mercy. When he gets his endurance back, he
may be the one to give us an edge, but oh how we need a creative midfielder.
Shrewsbury were reasonable, well drilled and quick up front, but they were
actually as unlikely to score as we were - until the bolt from the blue. Their
midget midfielder gets the ball about 40 yards out - really ! - and his shot
swerved accross Miller at crossbar height, only for it to dip, hit the
underside of the bar, and bounce back up into the net...SHIT. You can't really
blame anyone for that. To confirm that it was a complete fluke...the same guy
had another long range shot 2 minutes later, that didn't quite hit the corner
We put on some pressure in the last 10 minutes, White again missed a header
that should have gone in....Johnson, Connolly and Talboys (on for White) had
strong shots but all were blocked by frantic defending. Several of our corners
were complete crap, straight at the keeper - just like Gary Porter - and the
game fizzled out. We were never going to score.
We desperately need a creative midfielder now that Ramage is injured (mind you
he couldn't really be bothered before that anyway), Penrice battles hard, but that
makes 4 battling midfielders...where is the guile, the skill of a playmaker.
What about young Johnson, maybe he might be able to provide the missing
ingredient. I won't blame anyone for not trying, although Mooney didn't exactly
kill himself to get back and help after yet another pointless run upfield,
without delivering the kind of great shots he had at Crewe & Notts. Bring back
Dennis Bond....that's what I say.
Shrewsbury were quite quick, fit, and probably one of the better teams, but
hopefully, when the going gets tough in February they won't have the strength
of squad to get in front of us. This is the type of team we get to play
against every week, and maybe we should not fall into the Lennie Lawrence trap
of automatically saying of any team that beats us, ...'They were strong and
direct' which really means... 'We looked pretty, but were actually crap'
- YOU HAVE TO PLAY DIRECT FOOTBALL TO GET OUT OF THIS LEAGUE -
We did, and just lost out to a fluke goal - If we could get just a spark of
midfield class, we would all be saying...brilliant.
Full marks to the Shrewsbury catering team....Chips with the Pies at half
time...Salad with the burgers.