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Thoughts on Oxford
03 January 2016 07:37 Post ID: #2794
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On the pitch, not a lot changed yesterday. We proved our ability to be able to score against the best team to have played us this year and yet poor defending once again was our undoing. It was pleasing to see Halsall and Dryden making early substitutions which, for a while, shifted the balance of power our way. Hopefully we will see much more of Curtis Thompson and Ronan Murray in the coming weeks. I was disappointed though that Audel didn't start considering he was the best player on the pitch in the 2nd half against Morecambe.

Atkinson should be pleased with his debut and I was glad that Jon Stead, after a first half where nothing went right for him, kept going and had a much better second half where he was the focal point of all our attacking play. The new manager, whoever he is, will have have plenty to work with but new recruits in a defence are a must. Hopefully Bennett can fill one of those voids.
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03 January 2016 11:18 Post ID: #2796 - in reply to #2794
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In the first half we seemed to have sacrificed attacking flair for more stability at the back, but that just handed the initiative to Oxford. It's hard to blame the makeshift defence too much when the midfield allowed Oxford to stroll through at will. Burke and Campbell barely put in a cross or tackle all game , and those two with Aborah means an incredibly lightweight midfield. We badly need a Neal Bishop type in there to stop the opposition playing. The new manager has a big task on his hands, all we can realistically hope for this season is that we stay well clear of the relegation pack. I stand by what I've been saying for months, that this squad just doesn't have the quality for anything above mid table.

Edited by Elite_pie 3/1/2016 11:20
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03 January 2016 12:37 Post ID: #2797 - in reply to #2794
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We certainly played deeper in the first half, resulting in us going a bit longer when we did get hold of the ball. Stead had to drop deeper and often ended up being the one trying to get us moving forwards but despite all his effort, he gave the ball away far too much. The arrival of Thompson and Murray saw us pushing forward much more which allowed Stead to play a much more effective role. He held the ball up extremely well and played some great lay-offs including the assist for Thompson's goal.

Burke clearly has some ability but is too much of a luxury for us. It would be great to see Thompson and Murray both starting at Accrington.
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04 January 2016 13:43 Post ID: #2800 - in reply to #2797
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Midfield was static most of the time in the first half. Oxford showed how to play to a system and continuously had a man in space to receive the ball.
We missed Noble and need some bite in midfield.

Aborah and Smith cannot make up the 2 CMs.
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04 January 2016 20:03 Post ID: #2803 - in reply to #2800
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I think midfield is just as much of a problem as the obvious defensive one. If we play two creative wide men like Burke and Campbell we need a tough tackling central midfielder alongside Aborah, or we are just too easy to play against. Smith hasn't done the job, and even the more mobile Curtis Thompson doesn't give us what we need. An extra body in the middle is needed, but that leaves us with the dreaded one man up front, unless we go with 3 at the back. Even Jose Mourinho would struggle to solve that one!
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