We got what we deserved
Report by Dan Exeter
When we played them at home in September Stockport were truly awful.
We only beat them 1-0, as we weren't that much better, and if you'd
told me then that they'd do so well in three cup competitions I'd have
said 'Yeah right' and walked off.
Last night we expected them, having played ten more games than us,
to be tired, whereas we would be on a high after Saturday's
trouncing of York. Yet it was us who looked jaded and tired, while
Stockport were full of running and energy.
Our team and squad was the same as Saturday. Although on Saturday
I didn't think that our performance and dominance was quite as
comprehensive as a 4-0 scoreline may suggest, clearly not changing a
winning team was probably the sensible option, especially as for too
long we've had to make changes to the team not caused by changes in
tactics (ie due to suspensions and injuries).
I don't know what changes the Stockport team showed from Saturday,
if indeed any, whatever they were it did not seem to affect their
rhythm, not even carrying off their Number 7 after he lay on the floor
for ages at the start of the first half.
We looked a little nervy and edgy, we didn't seem to settle very
well, especially in midfield. Defensively in the first half we were
generally sound, although Milly had a torrid time against Ken ******
Charlery (again) who had two shots go wide. Stockport also missed a
gilt-edged chance when their Number 11 (I think) somehow missed an open
header from about six yards out. For our part we had one reasonable
chance in the first half but that was really it.
The second half wasn't awfully different, with Stockport in general
dictating the pace and the play. The one crucial difference, of
course, was that they scored. Someone ran at our defence, going
sideways, before slipping the ball to another one of their players
at the edge of the box, who seemingly had plenty of time to choose
his spot in the far corner.
We did come back and had a few chances, and all credit to the
'keeper Paul Jones who pulled off a couple of marvellous saves and
deservedly won the man-of-the-match award. Super Kev, who came on
for Waynie, had a close-range shot blocked at the near post, and
from the ensuing corner Rams' near-post header was brilliantly
scooped away by Jones. Later on Phillips had another shot from just
inside the area go wide after a deflection (still no excuse to give a
corner, according to the ref) while Slater had another near-post
From the above it would be reasonable to say that we at least
deserved a point, as indeed everyone else seemed to think coming
out of the game. Just to be awkward, I'm afraid I'll have to
dissent from that opinion. I don't know if it's the effect of
standing near Kate, who had one of her depression games when
everything is going wrong, but I thought we got what we deserved, ie
nothing. Stockport are not amazingly better than us particularly,
they just do the simple things well - whenever they have possession,
there is always someone moving to provide an option, whereas our
players seemed to wait for things to happen to them. We really
lacked someone to control the middle of the park - that is, we
really lacked Johno. Palmer did okay, nothing special, but he's not
the sort of player who can control a game, while Easton is too
lightweight and too inexperienced for that sort of midfield role. He
was out of his depth against a committed Stockport side.
Mooney didn't look really with it either. I don't know if tiredness
is catching up with him or if he's just going through an indifferent
spell but, whatever it is, it's seriously affecting his play.
Ramage actually played quite well, and did all that could be
expected from him in the role he's in. Slater too was competent but
I'm beginning to see why he's come all the way from West Ham and
Celtic to Ipswich and now us, as against a reasonable defence he
found it hard to get past and get a cross in.
The result does us no favours, although we are still in a play-off
position and we can still win three out of our next four to ensure that
place. To be honest, this is the game I always thought we'd lose.
There was a lot of speculation as to whether two wins and a draw, or
even just two wins, would be enough - I personally would rather have
us win all our games and then see where that leaves us.
Good points: Getting in for only stlg 4 as a student, a superb
performance from Page (again) and Miller, who cannot be blamed for
Bad Points: well, other than the result, obviously we lacked firepower
in midfield and we're missing a partner for Super Kev, as although
I'm perfectly happy to continue with Ramage's rehabilitation, I'm
not convinced that he's the answer to the future.
Also the ref and linesmen were truly awful, making a number of quite
ridiculous decisions. I don't want to get carried away with this
line though, as I'm a firm believer in making our own luck, however
incompetence like we saw last night does neither ourselves nor the
game any favours.
Miller - 4 Another good performance, couldn't do much about the
goal and pretty solid otherwise.
Gibbs - 2 Just a standard Gibbsy performance, really. According to
the paper, he was turned for the goal.
Armstrong - 2 Nothing special, and didn't really get forward to
support Mooney and provide another option.
Palmer - 3 Good at what he does, however he needs someone next to
him who can put his foot on the ball and play it.
Millen - 2 Okay, but had an awful time against Charlery.
Page - 4 Very good performance again. I can see him leaving more
and more clearly with each passing game...
Slater - 3 Not as good as Saturday, had much less joy out on the
Andrews - 2 Much as I like him he's not really strong or clever
enough to be a regular. He is quick and pacy, however he needs more
Ramage - 3 Did as well as could be expected, although being in
midfield and facing the goal rather than being up front with his back
to goal might suit him better.
Easton - 2 Really couldn't get involved, he's too weak (frankly)
for the sort of role he's in. Might be better off on the wing, like
he was earlier this season.
Mooney - 2 Not one of his better days. His old infectious
enthusiasm failed to work the old magic.
Phillips - 3 Came on for Andrews just after the Stockport goal, had a
couple of chance and was perhaps a bit unlucky. I think a goal would
settle him down considerably, but our lack of service is a