Blimey, where to start? It was a great game; the difference between the sides was not as great as the booing from the crowd would have you believe. Our shape and quality of possession was fine, we just looked so lumpy in the first half. In the round, it was Arthur Gnohere’s aberration that did it for us.
The central issue is pace; we just didn’t have any. If we’re to play with ‘enforcers’ in the middle then our attacking impetus has to come down the flanks. Matt Day; as good a defender as he can be, is not going to fly down the wing. If you’re going to play him at right back, then it’s got to be in a four with Anaclet (or maybe Ledgister when he’s fit) in midfield.
And there’s the rub; I do understand the point of Gnohere. He’s been brought in as the bedrock defender; a Willmott, Gilchrist or even a George Santos. Sadly, he’s none of these, but without him we’re too lightweight at the back; certainly too lightweight to play with two centre backs. If you have Willmott in the back four with Quinn, Day can play at rightback and Anaclet on the right wing.
Up front; I completely agree with Jim Smith; I thought Marvin Robinson did well. He worked like a dog and helped bring others into the game. He just doesn’t have the composure in front of goal. Duffy, on the other hand, has the composure, but contributes little elsewhere. So what do you do? Do you channel everything through Duffy in the hope he’ll get the goals? Or try to play as a unit and spread the goals around?. With Yemi offering pace and Shaw in ‘the hole’ I would go with Robinson.
We were set up as though we were playing away; we were so worried about what they were planning to do, we forgot to put in place a plan that would win the game.
Good work by the Ultimate Yellows on the Kassam curva, it’s a movement I’m in total support for. It was possibly a tactical error to role out the concept against the team who invented the idea in the Conference. I can hold an excessively long grudge, and took a long time to get over the Shots astronomical prices in the cup defeat in 1987. But their fans are deserving of a league team. Nothing about yesterday suggested that this was the muck and bullets of non-league football.
Good luck to Aldershot, I don’t know for sure they’ll be the team to beat this season, but they’ll be one of them. Whether we’ll be another, fundamentally depends on filling that Willlmott/Gilchrist sized hole at the back.