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South Bank Hank

👍⭐
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Messages
14,782
Location
Rayleigh
So how did we handle the step-up in class and what have we learned for the season ahead?

The step-up
------------
Just like last season, the step up from one division to the next was instantly apparent and, while Stoke are far from being one of the better "footballing" sides we'll be facing this season, it seemed obvious to me at least that Southend are now playing football at a higher level. Even without Bangoura, the Stoke team looked tall, strong and fit but we matched them in every quarter.

I suspected this before the season kicked-off, but I'm now absolutely certain of it:

Southend will not struggle this season.
We will be a match for anybody.



Tilly's Selection
---------------
Like many others on here have already admitted, I was concerned to see Spinner starting the match and a little surprised to see Paynter on the bench given that we'd "used up a loan" to bring him in at the 11th hour with a view to playing. But you could at least understand Tilly's thinking; the danger of throwing a striker on from the start when he barely knew the names of his colleagues; the danger of throwing a new defender into the back-four when he'd had no chance to get to grips with the tactics; the danger of disrupting team-spirit by discarding those who'd done a great job in the past right at the last minute.

As for Spinner, having seen him caught for pace numerous times against Portsmouth, it was a concern and one could easily argue that this season will be a stretch. But against Stoke, he was more than up to the task and his undoubted class and experience saw him do everything that we needed him to.

In turn the decision to play Bradbury ahead of Paynter was villified, if it ever needed to be, by a barnstorming, man-of-the-match performance that only needed the goal to finish it off.

Time on the ball
---------------
People say that there's more time on the ball in the Championship but still I remain to be convinced. Stoke gave us no time and whether or not their continual closing-down and harrassing is testament to this division or Tony Pulis' management style will soon become clear.

Our new boys
-------------
How well Tilly has done in moving the team forward from last season. It was obvious even from our own team today that we'd stepped up a division. We had a strong team last year but this team is even stronger - in fact I'd say immensely stronger.

Firstly Hammell... a nervous start due in no small part to his coming to terms with the new surroundings and a nervous start from our team in general. But what a player. Solid tackling, excellent reading of the game, composure under pressure, decent crossing ability and a wicked dead ball. His ball down the line late in the second half to release Freddy was sublime and, for me, Hammell will be one of the buys of the season. Che Willson served us proud as a strong tackler and a good header of the ball, but Hammell was so many more facets to his game.

And then Francis... I've been surprised this morning by the mixed reactions to a player so highly thought-of at his former clubs. I can only put it down to his calm style and composure which perhaps suggests he isn't interested. For me, he's a cultured player and someone whose value to the team will become discernable throughout the season. While other players will go to ground with a thundering sliding tackle, Francis seems to have the ability to just competently steal the ball before releasing it to someone else. Like Hammell, he seems cool-headed and sensible under pressure.

Bottom-line
-----------
Stoke City seem to be fancied as a mid-table team who'll have an eye on the play-offs. Well then, so should we. We're "tiny Southend". We're the team who's going to struggle in the land of the big boys. We're the team who don't have the resources to compete.

On the contrary. We have a "star-striker" who can score a goal out of nothing. We have a strong, creative midfield whose players demonstrated yesterday that they can and will step up to the new challenge. We have strengthened an already-strong back-four. We have competition for places with good players ready to threaten yesterday's line-up if the performances dip. And we have team spirit in a side that knows how to win.

Winning is a habit and, for me, yesterday will have set the scene for another interesting season which will see Southend go from strength to strength.
 

Bielzibubz

President
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
4,757
Location
Eastwood, the posh part of Rayleigh..
Erudite, concise and as ever another top post from SBH.

Now, The Championships on and as always bloody Col******r get the headlines
mad.gif
 

shrimper4life

Manager
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,477
I think one of the reasons why we were soid at the back was because stoke didn't possess any real pace which would have troubles AB and Spinner.
 

overseas shrimper

Life President⭐
Joined
Oct 25, 2003
Messages
9,595
Location
Malta
[b said:
Quote[/b] (South Bank Hank @ Aug. 06 2006,11:57)]Bradbury... a barnstorming, man-of-the-match performance that only needed the goal to finish it off.
Although he did win the penalty that led to that 3 points winning goal.

tounge.gif


Excellent read though, SBH.

wink.gif
 

Tilly hates yellow boots

TBV Drummer Supreme
Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
1,964
Lovely piece, nice read, thanks. I totally agree we should be look above us rather then over our shoulders this season.
 

South Bank Hank

👍⭐
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Messages
14,782
Location
Rayleigh
Thanks for the comments guys. Having seen the exceedingly brief highlights on Sky, the stone-wall penalty (as they seem to get called these days) that I saw from the South Upper yesterday seemed somewhat less stone-wall.

No question in my mind now that Mr Bradbury has been heavily influenced by the World Cup shenanigans he watched over the summer. Perhaps he's even been exposed to the odd video of Nathan Jones but that was as diving a dive as I've seen at a match for some time.  Can anyone in the East or West confirm whether the defender/keeper even got near him?

I've learned something about myself this morning though. Having screamed at the referee for not booking Sidibe for diving in our box in the first half, I'm still quite delighted with our well-deserved 1-0 win courtesy of our nailed-on penalty! Honestly, the ref should've sent their keeper and defender off. Dirty bastards!
 

Beefy

Life President
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
18,901
Location
Old Leigh
[b said:
Quote[/b] (South Bank Hank @ Aug. 06 2006,14:57)]Thanks for the comments guys. Having seen the exceedingly brief highlights on Sky, the stone-wall penalty (as they seem to get called these days) that I saw from the South Upper yesterday seemed somewhat less stone-wall.

No question in my mind now that Mr Bradbury has been heavily influenced by the World Cup shenanigans he watched over the summer. Perhaps he's even been exposed to the odd video of Nathan Jones but that was as diving a dive as I've seen at a match for some time. Can anyone in the East or West confirm whether the defender/keeper even got near him?

I've learned something about myself this morning though. Having screamed at the referee for not booking Sidibe for diving in our box in the first half, I'm still quite delighted with our well-deserved 1-0 win courtesy of our nailed-on penalty! Honestly, the ref should've sent their keeper and defender off. Dirty bastards!
Whether the keeper touched Bradbury or not, it was a penalty. Had Flavs lunged at the striker and missed the ball by as much as Simonsen did, I'd have been very disappointed in him.
 

OlvisIII

Coach
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
865
It was definitely a penalty - contact was made after Bradbury beat the keeper to the ball. No doubt about it. Good report as well SBH.
 

sufcintheprem

This is a modified caption
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
10,185
Location
Putney
I had exactly the same situation as Bradbury in a tournament a few weeks ago, also at 0-0. I stayed on my feet but, having had my stride interrupted, couldn't even prevent the goal kick. I can assure you that you don't feel better for staying up when you know that technically you should have had a penalty. Got to go over the keeper every time in them I'm afraid.
 
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