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Uncle Leo

This cook is an anti-semite
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Messages
23,031
Location
NY Parks Dept
BRAVE BLUES BUCKLE AS CUP RUN ENDS



Southend’s wonderful Carling Cup adventure ended at White Hart Lane tonight, but they can be immensely proud of the performance they put in against the Premierships in-form team.

Tottenham had won their previous 10 home games and had dented Manchester City’s home record at the weekend, but Southend doggedly kept them at bay and the gulf in class rarely showed.

In a slow start, both sides played decent football through the midfield but chances were at a premium. Then, after 20 minutes, Southend found themselves penned back in their own half. The best chance fell to Mido, whose snapshot from a Defoe cross smacked against the underside of the bar before bouncing to safety,l although Darryl made two other fine saves to keep Southend in it.

Spencer Prior limped out of the action to be replaced by Peter Clarke, who showed exactly why Tilly brought him to the club. He was in his proper position and stood up to Defoe and Mido manfully, putting in a very impressive performance.

Southend’s cutting edge – or lack of it – was evident as time and time again a visiting player found themselves within shooting distance of the goal but instead of testing Robinson, they chose to play the ball wide or square. Campbell-Ryce found it hard to cope against the sheer size and stature of the Spurs defence, yet it was he who had the best Blues chance of the first half. Eastwood’s shot was blocked but the ball ran to JCR, who appeared to be on his own 15 yards out, but seemingly out of nowhere a defender slid across to block. Gower, enjoying his return to the lane, shot wide in the final action of a first half where the home fans had been strangely subdued.

I missed the first few minutes of the second half having spent the vast majority of the interval queuing for the toilets. Seriously, how disgraceful is that? It’s not as though that was a one-off big crowd as they get that every week. Poor show Tottenham.

Fortunately I didn’t miss much and it was Southend who had the better of the second period. Tottenham hardly showed at all and Southend began to look a little more threatening. Eastwood and Bradbury were kept fairly quiet, but Gower, JCR and McCormack imposed themselves on the game, eclipsing their more illustrious midfield opponents. Defensively Blues were magnificent to a man, and with a little more luck Southend could have won it in normal time. JCR had a late shot deflect wide past a wrong footed Robinson, and Sodje had a header that literally dropped inches the wrong side of the post with the keeper beaten.

It was Flahavan though who guaranteed extra time with a superb reflex tip over from Mido’s header that at least equalled anything he had produced to deny Ronaldo in the previous round. Just writing that sentence has again made me realise just how far we have come in the last few years. We have kept 2 clean sheets (over 90 minutes, anyway) against two of the best sides in the country. Amazing.

In extra time Southend were really out on their feet but still battled manfully and Spurs were restricted to long range efforts. The home crowd were deathly silent, no doubt wondering how they were going to win a penalty shoot out against a team that had converted their last 26 spot kicks! But with 6 minutes left and just seconds after the introduction of Hooper for JCR, Mido and Berbatov linked up and a square ball across the box was prodded home from close range by an offside Defoe. Ironically if JCR had still been on the pitch he would have been in the area where the move started and it may have been prevented but that is not to be critical of Hooper in any way. Immediately after the restart he did something that no Southend player had done in the match before by getting behind the defenders to the bye line and fizzed a low cross across goal that was inches away from a sliding Bradbury. Freddy picked up the loose ball and at last fired in a shot that stung Robinsons hands.

That was that though, and despite winning a couple of free kicks in potentially dangerous areas, Southend’s weary heroes could not find a way through and the cheers from the home fans were more of relief than delight.

For me, our problems are now crystal clear. We are clearly playing in the wrong division. We have the worst defensive record in the Championship but have yet to concede a goal in normal time to a Premiership side. We play better against the better sides and our next four fixtures against Birmingham, Norwich, Coventry and WBA give us the chance to put that theory to the test. We will be the underdog on every occasion, with no pressure. My only concern is that last nights massive effort may have taken it’s toll on players like McCormack who is probably not yet match fit. But the players should have their heads held high after a superb run, and should use this to enforce the belief that they can get out of the predicament they are in at the bottom of the CCC.

Ratings –

Flahavan – 8.5 – Made several good saves but some of the place kicking was stragely awry.

Hunt – 8 – A great performance in his more natural position
Hammell – 8 – Looked comfortable and was always an outlet for Darryl and Maher
Prior – 7 – Looked solid enough until he had to go off injured
Sodje – 9 – MOM – A phenomenal performance against that quality. What a player for us and surely it is no co-incidence that since his return from injury we have tightened up the defence considerably

Gower – 8 – Enjoyed his return to the Lane and came close in the first half
Maher – 6 - The only disappointing midfield performer for me. There were too many “league 2” balls dinked in the air to no-one in particular.
McCormack – 8.5 – Gave everything, ran himself into the ground and demonstrated to Maher what he should be doing. Cramped up repeatedly and was subbed with 3 minutes to go.
JCR – 7 – People will no doubt be critical of the fact that he didn’t produce the final ball but against the quality of opposition and the fact that there was no-one in the box to receive it he was faced with few options. Interesting that the Spurs fans also gave him generous applause when he was replaced by Hooper.

Eastwood – 6.5 – Showed some nice touches but if he wants to play in the Premiership he’ll have to do a lot better than he did last night.
Bradbury – 6.5 – Not given a look in by Davenport or Dawson although he did hold up play well on a few occasions in the second half. Otherwise anonymous.

Subs –

Clarke – 8.5 – Nearly a MOM performance and hopefully this will highlight exactly what he can do. Whist he has had a few shockers, this game proved that he was well worth the money spent.
Hooper – 7 – Lively when he came on
Francis – 6 – Not on long enough to make an impact

The ref – Mr Dowd – 5 – Gave Spurs more than he gave us. The goal was offside and the assistant missed it. Obviously miles better in terms of letting the game flow than some of the jokers we have had this year but how we ended up with 2 players booked I don’t know.

The Stadium – 5 – Good view, good atmosphere. I’d like to be in it when it was an end-to-end match and really buzzing. However – pathetic toilet facilities that were more worthy of the Conference than the Prem and why did it take so long to get out by car? The roads were gridlocked. Surely they don’t have to put up with that every week? I’m glad I don’t.
 

sufcintheprem

This is a modified caption
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
10,185
Location
Putney
Only one I would disagree with is Bradbury. I thought he did a vast amount of the 'dirty work' strikers had to do to try and work Eastwood more space. When the ball hit him, it generally stuck and he linked the midfield well. I thought his Premiership experience really showed as he was much more wise to their tricks and generally gave as good as he got.

I wouldn't say he scared them but if Eastwood was more active in the match, I'm sure Bradbury would have been too. Unfortunately he was up against a potential England back pairing with a player struggling to get in the match.
 

The Viking

Youth Team
Joined
Jun 10, 2004
Messages
110
Location
Muswell Hill, London
Great ratings fbm, I think most of them were spot on. I do think though that JCR had as good a game as Gower - both worked unbelievably hard, were great outlets for the team, but neither really had any end product.
 

Matt the Shrimp

aka Harry Potter
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
19,929
Location
Lewisham, London
fbm - superb report as always.

I'm going to quibble with your midfield and attack ratings (agree with your defensive ratings and if anything might give Efe an extra half mark - he was immense)

Gower - 6. Huffed and puffed and occasionally threatened, but rarely got a telling ball or shot in, can only think of one shot in anger in the first half.

Maher - 4. Truly disappointing. The stage was set for him to prove his former employers wrong, and instead, he did nothing of consequence. No telling pass, no telling shots. Nothing to report, really. What a shame.

McCormack - 9. Massive, awesome, brilliant. As corruscating a midfield performance I've seen since Peter Butler in his prime. If we'd bagged him in the summer, there's no way we'd be in the relegation zone now. Fantastic.

JCR - 6. Lots of energy, lots of dinks, lollipops etc. etc. But yet again, no end product. Put in one telling ball to the box in 115 minutes - the same number of telling balls that Gary Hooper put in the box in 5 minutes at the end. Utterly frustrating, and too often outpaced by the likes of Malbranque or outmuscled by Huddlestone. What's the point of JCR if he doesn't put a cross on the end of it?

Bradbury - 8. Oh, if only he could shoot. He does everything else brilliantly - finds space, holds the ball up, puts in telling crosses. He is big, strong, good in the air. And he can't shoot for toffee. Aaargh!

Eastwood - 4. How disappointing. The Spurs fans I sat with looked utterly bemused: "what is all the bleedin' fuss about - he's not Premiership class." On the evidence of last night, you can't blame them for thinking that. I only recall one shot - and that cannoned off a defender. We'll put it down to stage fright, although that makes you wonder: he'd be getting stage fright weekly in the Premiership, wouldn't he? Sadly, the other truism bore fruit: when Freddy has a quiet game, we can't score.

Tilson: 6. Why wait so long to bring on Hooper? He should have come on at the beginning of extra time, surely?! He looked dangerous from the moment he set foot on the pitch, and put in one fantastic ball which someone really ought to have got on the end of. It could have been a different story had he come on earlier... but yet again, Steve "no subs" Tilson failed to shake things up. Has he forgotten the Norwich game... substitutions can make a massive difference!!

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Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
19,752
Location
G69
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Matt the Shrimp @ Dec. 21 2006,12:04)]Maher - 4.  Truly disappointing.  The stage was set for him to prove his former employers wrong, and instead, he did nothing of consequence.  No telling pass, no telling shots.  Nothing to report, really.  What a shame.
I am finding all these Maher ratings (6 or even less) strange.
5 Live Xtra kept saying* how hard he was working and that he was the catalyst for everything created by the Southend midfield.

* - Although both commentators referred to him as Marr (as in Johnny)
 

Hong Kong Blue

Guest
The reason Tilly made no subs was demonstrated when within seconds of JCR going off we conceded down our right flank.

Don't think you can accuse Freddy of stage-fright. He scored v Man U in the last round, he scored twice at Swansea to get us promoted, he scored the decisive goal in the play-off final. Now that's probably our three biggest games in the last three years when he's come up trumps. I don't think Freddy looked particularly up for it, but I don't think he had a particularly bad game. When and how should he have scored? Freddy got the ball a handful of times in the type of position he wanted it, but each time Spurs had two or three men on him and Freddy ended up playing a good ball out wide to a man in space who promptly did nothing.
 

fbm

Blue tinted optimist⭐
Joined
Oct 28, 2003
Messages
8,822
Location
Cloud cuckoo land
[b said:
Quote[/b] (glasgowsufc @ Dec. 21 2006,12:10)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Matt the Shrimp @ Dec. 21 2006,12:04)]Maher - 4.  Truly disappointing.  The stage was set for him to prove his former employers wrong, and instead, he did nothing of consequence.  No telling pass, no telling shots.  Nothing to report, really.  What a shame.
I am finding all these Maher ratings (6 or even less) strange.
5 Live Xtra kept saying* how hard he was working and that he was the catalyst for everything created by the Southend midfield.

* - Although both commentators referred to him as Marr (as in Johnny)
And Chris Phillips in the Echo gives him 8 -the same as Sodje, McCormack and Gower.

Strange.
 

Hong Kong Blue

Guest
Who would have thought Chris "Maher 8" Phillips would give our captain an 8!
 

Matt the Shrimp

aka Harry Potter
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
19,929
Location
Lewisham, London
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Hong Kong Blue @ Dec. 21 2006,12:15)]The reason Tilly made no subs was demonstrated when within seconds of JCR going off we conceded down our right flank.
Oh, come off it.  That wasn't a goal caused by JCR's subbing.  That was a goal caused by Maher failing to pick up the on-rushing forward (Berbatov); Hunt tried to stop him, got pulled out of position, and that allowed Mido the space to get the cross in.

Berbatov's was the telling contribution, made in the middle of the park, and Maher ought to have been picking him up.  That would have had absolutely sod all to do with JCR's position, even if he had been on the pitch.

Moreover, the point about cutting egde stands.  JCR has none.  Hooper may have one.  We're not going to stay up by drawing every game 0-0 all season by having extra cover on the flanks.

You are an odd boy at times, Cousin Weir.

suspect.gif


I take the point about Freddy not suffering from stage fright.  I guess it was a combination of him being very well marshalled, and him having a bad day at the office.

sad.gif




 

Jonny_Stokes

National League Tour Guide
Joined
Apr 22, 2005
Messages
4,697
Location
The EFL
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Matt the Shrimp @ Dec. 21 2006,12:30)]I take the point about Freddy not suffering from stage fright.  I guess it was a combination of him being very well marshalled, and him having a bad day at the office.

sad.gif
And not really giving a feck as he's off in two weeks unless he picks up an injury. Maybe he's got a 'best take it easy' mindset?*

*n.b. I didn't watch the game so am not really in any position to comment!
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Matt the Shrimp

aka Harry Potter
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
19,929
Location
Lewisham, London
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Jonny_Stokes @ Dec. 21 2006,12:39)]And not really giving a feck as he's off in two weeks unless he picks up an injury.
Yes, I hear Barry Hearn has already been down for talks...

upside.gif


Sod off, Jonny.

tounge.gif
 

Kenny

Thailand Shrimper
Joined
Oct 28, 2003
Messages
3,584
Location
Bangkok
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Uxbridge Shrimper @ Dec. 21 2006,09:19)]Clarke – 8.5 – Nearly a MOM performance and hopefully this will highlight exactly what he can do. Whist he has had a few shockers, this game proved that he was well worth the money spent. th that every week? I’m glad I don’t.
I think having Sodje instead of Barrett or Prior next to him made a big difference. Hopefully he can carry this form into the league if Prior is going to be sidelined.
 

Hong Kong Blue

Guest
I completely agree about the lack of cutting edge - in that the team displayed none last night and JCR has yet to display it in his Southend career in general.

However JCR does offer a lot defensively. Maher maybe should have picked up Berbatov, but when your right-back is dragged out of position you would then be looking for someone to cover them. JCR's pace and work-rate often allows him to do this.
 

Kenny

Thailand Shrimper
Joined
Oct 28, 2003
Messages
3,584
Location
Bangkok
The thought actually crossed my mind last night about playing JCR at right back as his pace only seems to come in useful when he tracks back and as a winger he offers nothing. It's a shame the ref pulled play back when we were on a break last night as he did an amazing Ronaldinho turn on the ball.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
819
Prior is a liabillity anyway. after last nights performance I hope Clarke is given another chance to prove his worth.
 

Jonny_Stokes

National League Tour Guide
Joined
Apr 22, 2005
Messages
4,697
Location
The EFL
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Matt the Shrimp @ Dec. 21 2006,12:46)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Jonny_Stokes @ Dec. 21 2006,12:39)]And not really giving a feck as he's off in two weeks unless he picks up an injury.
Yes, I hear Barry Hearn has already been down for talks...

upside.gif


Sod off, Jonny.

tounge.gif
Look, we're already taking one player who doesn't want to play for you off your hands - two would just be greedy! Anyway, I was being serious. He's scored what, one league goal since he put himself in the shop window vs. Man Utd? It's not unreasonable to assume that he's got his mind elsewhere, is it?
 

Matt the Shrimp

aka Harry Potter
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
19,929
Location
Lewisham, London
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Jonny_Stokes @ Dec. 21 2006,13:59)]Look, we're already taking one player who doesn't want to play for you off your hands - two would just be greedy! Anyway, I was being serious. He's scored what, one league goal since he put himself in the shop window vs. Man Utd? It's not unreasonable to assume that he's got his mind elsewhere, is it?
Well, send Chambers down to the seaside then, yer greedy buggers.

And you can still sod off.

tounge.gif
 

Hong Kong Blue

Guest
He may have only scored one league goal since Man U, but as a team I think we've only scored three goals since Man U.

As two of them were outside the area, I think it shows that we are having difficulties breaking teams down.
 

the_saafender

Director
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
2,686
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mighty Shrimper @ Dec. 21 2006,12:57)]Prior is a liabillity anyway. after last nights performance I hope Clarke is given another chance to prove his worth.
Surely fishing? Yes he's past his best and lost any pace he would have had but Spinner and Sodje's partnership at the back over recent weeks is the main reason we've hit a bit of form IMO!
 

Jonny_Stokes

National League Tour Guide
Joined
Apr 22, 2005
Messages
4,697
Location
The EFL
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Matt the Shrimp @ Dec. 21 2006,14:05)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Jonny_Stokes @ Dec. 21 2006,13:59)]Look, we're already taking one player who doesn't want to play for you off your hands - two would just be greedy! Anyway, I was being serious. He's scored what, one league goal since he put himself in the shop window vs. Man Utd? It's not unreasonable to assume that he's got his mind elsewhere, is it?
Well, send Chambers down to the seaside then, yer greedy buggers.

And you can still sod off.

tounge.gif
sad.gif
Be careful or I won't send you a Christmas card this year!

By the way, we've got Adam Chambers playing wide right at the moment (he's very, very, very versatile!), so we kind of need him!
biggrin.gif
 
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