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For me there hasn’t been a HUGE difference in all three league performances this season.

We’ve looked decent in all of them but hardly forced a save or pinned a team back for a significant period.

Think Mowbray got everything spot on yesterday. Starting line-up and subs. An ugly(ish) win, but we’ll have that.

The BIG win, for me, is that we now have an actual left back, so that’s good. Other observations:

Keeper looks nervous. It’s like watching Peter Crouch in goal.

Williams continues to impress at centre half.

Trav and Johnson is a cracking midfield combo at this level. 

Gallagher did lots of jumping and running.

Downing has great quality on the ball and I think he won’t be far off our player of the year award. Big claim at this point. But genuine quality in his boots.

Graham class. Think he has grounds to be disappointed not to have started the season up top. Couldn’t have done much more last year.

Special mention for Dack who ran his little socks off.

Rothwell and Armstrong showed great game management.

Buckley, needs time obviously, but looks way out of his depth at the moment. 

 

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6 minutes ago, CambridgeRover said:

I guess the only flaw with that is given he is on the wing and against a full back less than 6ft that stat is probably inflated. Let's see him go up against two big centre backs and see how he does. 

He won virtually everything in the middle at Fulham when he played as the sole striker.

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You can only beat what's put in front of you, and that's what we did.

Thank God (if we're still allowed to use that phrase in these snowflake days) we now have a decent left back, what a difference he made.

Gallagher played like his life depended on it, excellent effort and performance even though played out of position.

Travis was great to watch, good engine and links well with the equally impressive Johnson.

Williams and Lenihan kept their attack in their pocket for most of the game, my only negative is that they cannot pass very well.

Dack and Graham played one of the performances we expect to see, but don't always get.

Jury out on Walton, Bennet was pretty good but found it difficult with Gallager in front of him IMO.

Downing has real quality in that left foot, neat and tidy, Rothwell adds so much when he's on the pitch.

Armstrong does nothing for me.

Asombalonga  (sp) we dodged a bullet not signing him on that performance.

Onward and hopefully upwards now, well done Rovers.

Edited by Doug

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24 minutes ago, 1864roverite said:

Called the result far better than the wedding I attended in Wales 👍

Sounds like there's a story there?

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I wouldn’t say Buckley looks out of his depth. Thought he showed more game nous than plenty of experienced players often do in the closing minutes. 

Just needs to develop physically.

Edited by Mattyblue

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I do wonder how we’d have got on had we not been given a penalty. Couldn’t realistically see Boro scoring (they were poor) but really couldn’t see us scoring either.

Three league games gone and we await our first goal from open play. (Lucas João has two for two different clubs!)

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Sam Gallagher would be a blessing in the old style 442 with a really good striker alongside him i said before he is a bit of a Mike Newell in terms of being mobile and grafting for a big lad.   Not sure it would work with Graham but might have with Rhodes although can't see it happening as not many play that way anymore but he really should be moved across when Graham goes off.

Lessons should've been learned from that last season but what we seem to have again is stubborn manager flogging something until it actually works once for he finally realises what everyone else sees and knocks it on the head. Last season his persistence with putting Dack up top and sticking BB on wide proved costly a time or two and cost points and i don't recall it actually working once, so lets hope it isn't Arma moved up top every game Graham goes off now instead lets have a little bit more horses for courses to see games out.

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I thought it was a very good game Yesterday. Never expected it to be a classic, but I thought we had good variation in our play by short passing, diagonals and bringing Graham into play. Gallagher provided a good outlet thorughout the game as he can both challenge in the air and run in behind.

Some main observations:

- Lenighan and Williams defended on the front foot which meant we would win back the ball at the half way line. Mulgrew would always stand off and drop back.

- Cunningham is such a major upgrade on Bell. Strange to have somebody who is not caught out in position and posession. 

- Cunningham, Johnson and Downing has brought added football intelligence and it shows! When to pass, where to pass, when to tackle, positioning and when to create a freekick. Big improvement from last year. Game management so much better, would probably crumbled last season.

- Johnson is a beast, especially in the air! 9 headers won Yesterday. 

 

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Really pleased with yesterday, it was far from perfect but it was all about showing desire & passion and above all getting 3 points. They did, they deserved it, and a clean sheet to boot.

Everyone played their part.

Bar one almost costly flap I thought Walton did well.

Bar a couple of wayward passes, I thought Bennett had his best game a RB, defensively & offensively.

Lenihan  & Williams were excellent, let down only by their average distribution.

Cunningham was solid, knows his role as a LB, I felt far more confident with him in that area of the park. Likes a tackle too. A definite upgrade.

Downing was cultured, calm & composed, without being exciting. Stuck to what he knows and is good at, exactly what he was signed.

Travis & Johnson look a great pairing. They're both mobile, tough, strong, offensively minded whilst savvy (cynical, in a good way) defensively, & Johnson is  in the air.  Another huge plus over last season. They will pick up suspensions though.

Gallagher must be a Rovers fan, his effort & desire phenomenal, & offered Bennett great protection which I assume is why he stayed wide. He was a real handful for their RB throughout. His performance at Brentford on relegation day was excellent, and this was on a par but without the goal.

Graham & Dack linked up well without tearing it up, both worked hard and clearly each one benefits from the other being in the team. A good if unspectacular showing. Cool as you like penno from Graham.

I thought the subs didn't work as intended, Armstrong was not as effective as his pace was nullified by Boro not pushing up to high in search of a draw. Rothwell & Buckley were sound & showed good game management, Buckley should've worked the keeper after great play by Gallagher. 

Overall a confidence boosting win against a team that you'd expect we'd have to mix with if we're to push towards the playoffs. People sat they were poor, but they scored 3 goals in the first game and by all accounts should have beaten Brentford. They'll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

I don't get this obsession with scoring goals from open play. I think I said this last season, but who cares? Whilst they're obviously nice to purr over, they don't count more in terms of points. It's our use of the ball in open play that leads to the free kicks, corners, penalties & own goals; that'll do me!

Bring on Hull, a point or 3 there will do just grand. We have nothing to fear there.

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1 hour ago, CambridgeRover said:

I guess the only flaw with that is given he is on the wing and against a full back less than 6ft that stat is probably inflated. Let's see him go up against two big centre backs and see how he does. 

He won everything against Fulham.....

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Wasn’t able to catch the game yesterday, and when I saw the line up with Gallagher out wide and Bennett at full back, I did a bit of an eye roll. 

But, we managed to get a win, so I’m happy with that!

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Thought the subs did their job to see out the game and created a few chances/openings. Graham and Dack played well but, imo, we needed fresh impetus at that point as the team was falling deep.

Good game management by all 3 + Gallagher. Buckley lightweight but will create chances and draw fouls. 

Was also good to see our players getting involved when Walton was fouled!

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Johnson is some unit. Not someone the opposition will look forward to going toe to toe with.

Along with Travis, has to be the best we’ve had in there since relegation.

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A bit late to the party here but I really enjoyed yesterday. Loads of effort and fight. Good performances from all of the new signings, excellent shifts from Dack, Williams, Lenihan and Travis. Overall, a well earned 3 points.

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Just now, Mattyblue said:

Johnson is some unit. Not someone the opposition will look forward to going toe to toe with.

Along with Travis, has to be the best we’ve had in there since relegation.

Central midfield been such a problem for us. Evans and Smallwood have their limitations, but remember when we had Akpan in there, or Danny Murphy. Bloody hell.

Main thing for me is if Johnson can keep sharp given his age. I was at the Fulham game and he looked well off the pace, but pleased he recovered and played well yesterday.

We do need to have a plan of who will succeed Johnson as he's only got a season or so in him in my estimation.

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Just now, rigger said:

People are saying that Boro where poor, but perhaps we made a reasonable side look poor  

Judging by their start to the season probably not, but we definitely played them at a good time when their confidence is obviously low and there are probably doubts over Woodgate within the squad due to his inexperience as a manager. The biggest positive of yesterday was keeping a clean sheet, something we desperately needed having shipped two goals a game so far.

46 minutes ago, Atko's Engine said:

I don't get this obsession with scoring goals from open play. I think I said this last season, but who cares? Whilst they're obviously nice to purr over, they don't count more in terms of points. It's our use of the ball in open play that leads to the free kicks, corners, penalties & own goals; that'll do me!

Problem is that unless we improve defensively we aren't going to just be able to rely on set-pieces. A clean sheet yesterday was nice but it isn't the norm. We have a habit of shipping goals so we are going to need to score a decent amount from open play. We did it last season so there's no reason we can't do it this season - but I think it's going to rely on the Graham/Dack link-up being strong again as we don't have many other goalscorers in the team. As long as Tony sticks with the Graham/Dack pairing I think we'll start scoring goals from open play, so I'm not too concerned yet. I'm more worried about our defence than our attack at present, although if we stick with Lenihan, Williams/Tosin & Cunningham at CB/LB I think we'll see improvements there too. Just have to pray that we get some luck on the injury front as losing any of those would be a big setback. 

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32 minutes ago, rigger said:

People are saying that Boro where poor, but perhaps we made a reasonable side look poor  

When in the first half they are breaking forward and twice overhit a simple ball under no pressure which may have put them clean through , or try and switch play and knock it 5 yards behind the man running onto it, that's just poor.

If anyone is missing a good post-match meltdown head over to the OneBoro forum and read their match day thread. General concensus  on there is buy league one players, get league one team.

Thats not taking away from the fact we still played well, and didn't allow them much time or keep giving the ball to them.

Edited by Hasta

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17 minutes ago, DE. said:

Judging by their start to the season probably not, but we definitely played them at a good time when their confidence is obviously low and there are probably doubts over Woodgate within the squad due to his inexperience as a manager. The biggest positive of yesterday was keeping a clean sheet, something we desperately needed having shipped two goals a game so far.

Problem is that unless we improve defensively we aren't going to just be able to rely on set-pieces. A clean sheet yesterday was nice but it isn't the norm. We have a habit of shipping goals so we are going to need to score a decent amount from open play. We did it last season so there's no reason we can't do it this season - but I think it's going to rely on the Graham/Dack link-up being strong again as we don't have many other goalscorers in the team. As long as Tony sticks with the Graham/Dack pairing I think we'll start scoring goals from open play, so I'm not too concerned yet. I'm more worried about our defence than our attack at present, although if we stick with Lenihan, Williams/Tosin & Cunningham at CB/LB I think we'll see improvements there too. Just have to pray that we get some luck on the injury front as losing any of those would be a big setback. 

I do think with Mulgrew out, Cunningham at left back, and a solid midfield of Johnson and Travis we will see an absolutely huge improvement in the defence. Williams to me looks a very good centre half (which begs the question of why we haven't used him in the past more there, prior to coming to Rovers he was virtually entirely used as a CB), and I am a big fan of Lenihan. Though I am beginning to wonder if Williams is actually better than Lenihan.

My expectation from what I have seen is that we will be top half defensive record this season unless injuries derail us (which given that we have a paper thin defensive squad is highly likely). 

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Just now, joey_big_nose said:

I do think with Mulgrew out, Cunningham at left back, and a solid midfield of Johnson and Travis we will see an absolutely huge improvement in the defence. Williams to me looks a very good centre half (which begs the question of why we haven't used him in the past more there, prior to coming to Rovers he was virtually entirely used as a CB), and I am a big fan of Lenihan. Though I am beginning to wonder if Williams is actually better than Lenihan.

My expectation from what I have seen is that we will be top half defensive record this season unless injuries derail us (which given that we have a paper thin defensive squad is highly likely). 

I do wonder if Del would be perceived completely differently by our fans if he'd just been used as a centre back the entire time. We know he's at best a functional left back and at worst not very good at all, but so far every time he's played at CB he's been solid. Although interestingly it was at Bristol City where he was converted to left wing back:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/34936324

Quote

"I remember the meeting with the manager when he said 'I might stick you left wing-back' and in my head I kind of laughed," Williams told BBC Radio Bristol.

Ha, ha, ha....

Edited by DE.

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2 hours ago, joey_big_nose said:

He won virtually everything in the middle at Fulham when he played as the sole striker.

I was there too and felt he was struggling but different eyes and all that

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For me the two most pleasing moments were

1) Williams bringing down their striker late on when a couple of missed challenges looked like they were going to allow him to run through on goal

2) Johnson keeping the ball in the corner right at the end of the game 

Both instances showed that maybe finally we’re moving away from being too nice and getting a bit of shithousery into our team 

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Gallagher deserves a goal at least for all his work rate. Eventually strikers are rated based on goals. Just not sure how he's gonna get among the goals if he keeps playing on the wings. 

Was surprised when Armstrong came on and played centre instead of Gallagher. 

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One subject that mysteriously has vanished from the discussion is the collapse in team morale, mysterious injuries etc. due to Charlie being sent to the colonies. That was a motivated team yesterday, perhaps helped by the thought “Thank God we only need one to win”. Also, the penalty showed we have an equally competent taker in Graham, so there’s half of Charlie’s goals accounted for already.

 

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