Tuesday, 13 October 2009

In need of a Plan B

Judging by the blogs since Saturday’s game with Oldham, I wasn’t the only one who was left a little bit frustrated. I don’t think I recall a game when there was so much anxiety and tension in the crowd, everybody’s mental well being seemed to be hanging on us scoring a goal. It didn’t come and mild panic now appears to have set in, amongst the fans at least.

Oldham came to play for a point and a point is what they got. They strained the life out the game by putting eleven men behind the ball (I don’t recall Elliot being forced into one save in the second half) and a bit of unsporting time wasting. The thing is, who can blame them? As it stands, we are a top two side and most teams in this division will be happy to come away with a point from The Valley.

So on the basis that Oldham won’t be the last side to play 8-1-1 against us, it’s pretty clear we need to come up with an approach to combat this. Many will be clamouring for Parkinson to start with a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation, given the extra chances it seemed to open up once Izale McLeod was introduced on Saturday. It’s just a shame he had forgotten where the back of the net was.

And therein lies the problem. Which two would you pair up front, and would you drop Shelvey as a result? As if we needed reminding, Saturday clearly highlighted Izale McLeod’s limitations as a striker. Missing half chances is one thing, missing open goals is quite another. On the basis that Parkinson would only play one of Deon Burton or Leon McKenzie, our best option for a strike partner would appear to be on loan to Bristol Rovers, a team who could go level on points with us should they win their game in hand.

I do think there were other factors at play during the Oldham game as well. Richardson and Sam were both obviously not completely fit (I did have to do a double take when I saw them both walk out of the tunnel after the injury news gloom during the week) and, as decent a player as Matt Spring is, we are still obviously missing Jose Semedo and the rapport he has struck up with Therry Racon.

So plenty for Phil Parkinson to ponder ahead of what is likely to be a tough game on Saturday against Huddersfield Town, a team many fancy to cause an upset. Parky praised the performance of the team against Oldham and has publicly insisted that there is no cause for panic. However, he must wondering how he can get the team scoring again and how we can get all three points on Saturday.

On a different note altogether, it would appear that Charlton old boy Souleymane Diawara has come over all repentant for the tackle that would have appeared to crocked the world’s most expensive footballer for a month. Surely he didn’t pick up any bad habits whilst he was in SE7, did he?