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Uncle Leo

This cook is an anti-semite
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Messages
23,031
Location
NY Parks Dept
Neither myself or Matt have had the chance to upload this yet, so I'm putting it on the forum for the moment.

BLUES CLUELESS AS ROVERS RETURN WITH POINTS

Southend produced one of the worst displays in recent times as they slumped to yet another home defeat – this time to a lowly and very average Bristol Rovers – which completed an appalling festive period haul of just 1 point out of a possible 12.
Unlike the last home game, when Blues actually played quite well but failed to convert any one of several chances, this time the team looked shot, devoid of confidence and anything but a League One side, let alone a play-off chasing one.
The early kick off obviously affected the players, several of whom looked as though they were still recovering from last night’s Hogmanay celebrations. There were just not enough people wearing Blue who were on their game today. The number of misplaced passes must have reached a new record high, and in truth Rovers weren’t a lot better.
So little happened in the first half it barely warrants writing about. Collis made a couple of good saves and Morgan had some shots that went wide, but aside from that Southend failed to register a shot on target. Maher, Gower and Barrett had stinkers and McCormack was so anonymous that the chap in front of me asked me at half time if he was injured and was gobsmacked when I informed him he was actually playing!
The second half was slightly better but as is now almost customary, our opponents scored a rather easy goal. Four simple passes were made around a statuesque defence that failed to track, mark or challenge at any time during the move. It was a tidy finish with only Collis to beat who had no chance whatsoever.
For the next 10 minutes Southend were awful and the crowd got restless. Even more passes went astray and the heads were down. Tilson brought on Hooper for a pathetic Gower and the youngster suddenly injected something that had been missing. Blues looked more lively and started to press. McCormack, clearly struggling with fitness, failed to take his position on the right flank and some people in the West had a go. The fiery scot had a go back which prompted uproar and boos the next couple of times he touched the ball. However, this seemed to galvanize him and all of a sudden the old Alan McCormack was back and played as if he was possessed. One jinky run ended with him hammering the ball across goal, the ricochet fell to Bailey whose effort bounced back off the post and then Hooper fired straight at the keeper from 8 yards and the ball bounced off his chest and away to safety. McCormack then tested the keeper further with an angled shot that was beaten away for a corner and Hooper slid in for a 50/50 ball with the keeper but lost out on this occasion.
That was as good as it got however and at least 2 of the 3 minutes added time took place in the North East corner as Rovers simply kept the ball as Southend conceded throw ins and free kicks.

Could Tilly have brought on Harrold? He may have given the visitors something different to think about but would have probably been booed on and what would that have done to the lad? He is probably best off elsewhere.

At this time it is difficult to see where the next point is coming from. The players are better than their showing today, but we cannot allow the January window to close without strengthening the squad with 3 or 4 players, or we could still find ourselves fighting a relegation battle.

Ratings –
Collis – 7.5 – MOM – No chance with the goal, did everything else comfortably, no mistakes or wobbles and gets MOM simply on the basis that he did nothing wrong.
Francis – 5.5 – Tried hard in the first half and did some good stuff but faded badly in the second and ended up chasing his own tail and getting caught in possession
Hunt – 6 – I’m making allowances for the fact that he was not in his best position and he made some good tackles but hardly used the ball at all and in the first half somehow managed to knock the ball over when it seemed as though all he had to do was make contact and score.
Clarke – 7 – Pick of the defence but gave the ball away too much. Otherwise as committed as ever.
Barrett – 4.5 – Oh dear. Just about the worst game I’ve seen him have in a blue shirt against his old team. Hopefully just a one off.
Gower – 4 – Terrible. Was he ill or something?
Maher – 5 – Hardly an inspiring skippers performance and seems to have forgotten how to pass.
Bailey – 6 – Hasn’t looked the same since his suspension and only decided to start playing in the last 20.
McCormack – 6 – Anonymous first half, better once he had been “woken up” by crowd. Why did it take that to gee him up? He is obviously struggling with either a calf or hamstring problem so probably needs resting.
Morgan – 5 – Please send him back to Luton. He could play all season and not score.
MacDonald – 7 – Cannot be faulted for work rate but does no-one look where he is running and put the ball there? He needs someone to partner him and he could get a few goals. Probably the only starting outfield player to come out with any credit.

Subs –
Hooper – 7 – Did well when he replaced Gower. Should have scored at least once.
Black – 5 – On late for Morgan and did nothing whatsoever.

The ref – Mr Singh – 9 – One of the best refs in the Football League. Lets the game flow really well and doesn’t get too fussy. Other officials – watch and learn.
 
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