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Rovers 0 Charlton 1


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Posted by Scotty on Oct. 21 2003, 00:22 in members forum.

Despite what some people on here think I'm normally quite a positive person, especially when it comes to Rovers.  Unfortunately, there's very little I can say that's positive after that.

First of all - 4-5-1 at home to Charlton??!!  Away from home maybe, but to do it at home just hands the initiative to the opposition.  I can understand Souness wanting us to be more solid but only playing one attacker against a team that sat nine men behind the ball (as everyone knew they would) is ridiculous.  

Despite saying that we actually played OK in the first half.  Not great, and we certainly didn't threaten their goal enough, but we looked comfortable and pretty well in control of things.  Unfortunately, after about half an hour or so, Charlton had the cheek to mount an attack.  Cue defensive disarry, nervous tension aplenty, a corner, laughable "marking" by Flitcroft, and another soft goal against.  

The team who, up until Charlton's goal, had looked vaguely promising suddenly wilted.  Thompson slowly disappeared, Emerton became a liability, Ferguson may as well not been on in the second half, Tugay looked tired and devoid of ideas.  Jansen came on and looked average at best.

Some of the players played well.  Reid had far and away his best game for us, Cole worked his socks off and looked our only real threat.  Gallagher showed plenty of promise and did what Grabbi did at Leeds - hugged the touchline and put good crosses in.  I thought Gresko put some decent crosses in, especially in the first half, but faded like the rest in the second.  Our back four played more or less like a unit and dealt with most things pretty well.

Tactically we're a shambles.  There's no shape at all to our midfield.  Thompson and Emerton provide little or no width to stretch defences, and when they do get the ball wide they simply cut inside into already congested areas.  Noone runs from midfield past the front players, noone beats a full-back and gets to the bye-line, nobody runs into the channels.  Our defenders or deep midfielders have noone to hit when they're in possession - all to often a high ball up to Cole or Jansen seems to be our only outlet.  Even if one of these two wins a flick-on or knockdown noone runs onto the ball.

And we're so slow.  Our passing is laboured and we never hit teams on the break.  It's not just a physical thing, mentally we're just not quick enough at spotting an opportunity or killer pass.  Whether that's just confidence or something more fundamental god knows but I hope we sort it out soon.

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