Kelvin Beattie says...
“So shines a good deed in a weary world”...
Charlie Wyke continued his good form from the previous game with a hardworking performance at Shrewsbury.
He set up O’Brien’s goal and never stopped working all game. I was delighted to see him shielding the ball and laying it off effectively. He was also a tad unlucky with a couple of headers.
Diamond lights from the bench...
The substitutions did breathe a little bit of energy in to us. O’Nien looked sharp and Gooch as usual put himself about fairly well. Diamond used his pace and ball skill with unfortunately no end product. I thought Bailey Wright did okay and was a tad better with his passing from defence.
A very disappointing result and performance and whilst I still feel there is time to mount a serious campaign, time is running out.
Fear and Anxiety in Shrewsbury...
Having scored a good goal, we appeared to retreat into a shell and give them the easiest of possession and territory.
With Vokins not having the best of games we looked particularly vulnerable down our left-hand side, it seemed only a matter of time before we would concede. Scowen and Leadbitter were posted missing somewhat for this period.
We did come back in to the game just before half-time, but this was completely undone by more continued inertia as we stayed in the dressing room for the best part of the second half.
It can be hard to put your finger on why this happens, but usually it requires personnel changes and sometimes a change in tactics and/or formation. Matthews looked hesitant for most of the second half and certainly could question himself on the first goal.
Had he stood a bit bigger he might have done better with the second goal too, but Vokins has to shoulder a good percentage of the blame for this goal having not for the first time got himself the wrong side of his attacker. Matthews was lucky not to concede a third with a massive fumble at his near post given harshly offside.
Forcing the issue...
For most of the night we were forcing our passes and wasteful in possession. I was particularly disappointed with O’Brien, who having scored a good goal, spent the rest of the night running down blind alleys and losing the ball in forward situations.
He was not the only one, Scowen really does need to work on this, especially given his position and our chosen style of play. We cannot ignore a tidy and reasonably effective Shrewsbury, but I felt we had the capacity to win this game.
I was becoming very frustrated with the slow passing in our defensive third. We got ourselves into trouble a few times with hospital passes. This increased as the half wore on, in keeping with the inertia, and the lack of urgency when we were chasing the game was perplexing.
Malcolm Dugdale says...
The front two...
The attacking pair of Wyke and O’Brien clicked well at times, and both showed good ability with ball hold up and distribution to create movement up the pitch, enabling attack to flow.
The link-up for the decent finish by O’Brien was not the best interplay they had, but it got us a goal and the lead. If they can continue to build that hold up and linkage then we will get more from them both.
The ballad of Luke O’Nien...
Once again Luke O’Nien chipped in with a decent performance in a position not his own. If we didn’t have his capabilities to slot in when things aren’t going well, where would we be?
To be honest though I feel for the lad, as rather than pitching his cause for a midfield berth he is being asked to repeatedly bail us out at the back, and we may be missing out on some real plus points we cannot get, like more of his goals as he got at MK.
He needs to think about what he wants and drive for that as the determination the lad has, he could make any shirt his own.
After a decent opening goal we once again defended like clowns and this time lost from a winning position rather than getting a point.
The goals were an embarrassment and major frustration in equal measure. The cross into the box from the right should never have been allowed in, but our midfield was pretty anonymous today, and we don’t press and mark tight enough.
The marking for their second was atrocious. I get that Vokins is a loanee, but he is supposed to be Premier League pedigree, and he played more like pedigree chum. The ball in was decent for their second, but it travelled 40-yards and has to be cleared, and attackers cannot be allowed space like that.
We seem to have tried a few new things in attack but forgotten how to defend, track and mark, and that has to be fixed and fast.
Handling a crisis...
Goalkeeping is now officially a crisis. The first goal for them should not have been crossed in, but the communication between the defenders and Matthews was non-existent.
Any goalie knows if you come, you have to win it, and he didn’t. If he stayed on his line and left the challenge to Wright he would have had an easy catch off the aerial clash, not a scrambled equaliser.
Once the opponents saw he was fallible, their tactics changed to lobbing long and high or whippy balls in, and trying to profit off his errors. We were lucky the third was ruled out, as that was his error too.
I have to say we now bring in Patterson, take the point that he will learn a bit as he goes from his errors, and get rid of both Burge and Matthews. LJ is supposed to give youth a go, why not in nets? Patterson simply cannot do any worse.