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QUICK KICKS: More bad refereeing against Sunderland - Gooch was lucky he didn’t get knocked out!

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We mull over the key talking points from yesterday’s game between Sunderland and Rochdale, including another gripe over bad officiating. How wasn’t Ian Henderson sent off for the sickening elbow to Lynden Gooch?

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Chris Maguire & Maja are hugely important

We were told back in July just how important bringing in players like Chris Maguire would be - not just for his footballing ability, but for his mentality of not hiding when the chips are down - and boy has he responded every single time.

Dropped last week at Burton, he smashed in a 25-yarder and almost single handedly brought us back from the brink. He did manage to effect the result this week, though, setting up Josh Maja’s opener and causing the Rochdale defence a real headache with his constant running and ability to get behind his man.

His pass that led to the second goal was outstanding. His graft off the ball, his chasing down, the short and clinical passing... he was immense, and what a signing he’s turning out to be - and completely free of charge!

And then there’s Josh Maja - the youngster has had his detractors, but for all the claims he’s not strong enough on the ball, or that he needs more help up top, we simply look a better side when he plays up front on his own.

He just can’t stop scoring - it’s his first full season of being a first-team regular in professional football, and he’s rising to challenge of being our goal-getter on a weekly basis.

Seven goals is admittedly more than most of us felt he might get all season and he’s already on his way to double figures just two months into the campaign.

As stated earlier, he has his doubters, but he just keeps on silencing them.

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We need to find ways to stop conceding

Okay, so this may seem a little negative after a 4-1 win but we really need to stop conceding soft goals. It’s stating the obvious, but when we were four goals up and cruising yesterday we really needed to concentrate and ensure we saw the game out.

It’s good that we didn’t concede first for once, but you could see the reaction from McLaughlin when he was left with no chance for Rochdale’s consolation - he wanted that second clean sheet of the season, and he probably deserved it too after those tremendous second half saves.

If we don’t learn how to start keeping clean sheets, it may eventually catch up with us.

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The formation looked much more fluid

There was some confusion this week when Lynden Gooch said he’d been playing right wing back all season, especially as it looks like a clear back four at times, but perhaps yesterday we saw exactly what formation Ross has been looking to implement all season.

Tom Flanagan operated on the right hand side of a three-man central defence, and Gooch and Hume played either side of them as the attacking wing backs. If that’s been the plan all season, it certainly hasn’t looked as fluid as it did on Saturday.

With the introduction of the former Burton defender Flanagan, we looked far more comfortable in defence and each player seemed to suit their role perfectly. Having a settled defence will benefit us no end.

It’s quite unnerving how easily we dispatch teams once we get in front. Scunthorpe, Gillingham and yesterday against Rochdale were games we wrapped up with consummate ease.

If we stop conceding first and shore up that defence, we could be frightening once we hit top gear.

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How bad are the refs in this league?!

I’m just going to come out and say it - the referees in this league are utterly diabolical at times.

In two of our last three home games we’ve seen some utterly bizarre decisions ranging from Max Power’s red card to yesterday’s forearm smash into the face of Lynden Gooch from Iain Henderson - how did that not warrant him receiving a red card?

The fact that the USA international was on the floor for a solid five minutes shows you the force behind it, too. Ludicrous.

The referee saw it, because he gave a free kick and booked the player, but didn’t think it was bad enough to dismiss the player. The elbow that Gooch received split open his eye, and thankfully he was able to continue on in the game and score another goal.

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