Jordan Cousins, an absolute joy to watch.
Following our defeat to Burnley most of us would probably have settled for 2 points from the Forest and Blackpool games. However, the performance against Forest should have delivered all 3 points and we were desperately unlucky not to get them. As a result expectations were raised for the Blackpool game.
Yesterday saw plenty of effort, even Stephens was winning tackles, but little in the way of finesse and in the final third we were poor.
I'm under the impression that the general consensus is that yesterday's point was a good one and we should be pleased with it. Should we though ? I wonder if we learn from week to week or game to game ?
Some cite the absence of Jackson, Kermogant, Solly and to some extent Cort as reasons to be cheerful for the point. However, I recall the insipid performance against Millwall characterised by our endless hoofing the ball upto the front two only for the ball to come straight back as their taller, stronger defenders won the ball time and again.
Yesterday we saw a repetition of that. I simply can't recall any of our players winning the ball as it was repeatedly lumped upfield. This played into the hands of the big back four especially McKenzie whose only strength is winning headers ( or perhaps acquiring red cards ! ).
Surely someone on the management team can see this ? Are the players instructed to play like that ? It just doesn't work and in Yann's absence only serves to hand possession straight back to the oppo and we put ourselves under pressure.
Why don't we look to feed one of the defenders or midfielders ? In my view Hamer is slow to release the ball when he does have options to do so. This needs addressing.
Harriott was wasted behind the front two yesterday and it clearly needed him to be playing wide so that he could have a run at them. Too often he was too central or on those rare occasions he wasn't found himself out on the right and then having to check back on to his left foot to cross the ball.
We all know that our home form is crucial to any hope or survival or a decent place in the league even more so when we're not repeating the success of our campaign on the road of last season. Our approach is over-cautious and we're paying the price ( or will do if we're not careful ).
We've got to look to attack more at home and I fail to understand why Cameron Stewart is spending so much time on the bench. The home games against Millwall and Blackpool needed us to show more attacking intent, had we done that there's every chance we'd have 2 more points and be sitting a tad more comfortably than we are now.
I got very frustrated at the time it took to use the subs again. Pigott should have got much longer as neither Church or Sordell carried much threat. As I said, Stewart should have been off the bench earlier.
Sorry if this sounds negative but I get the feeling the lack of Yann is clouding some issues. All teams lose their most valuable players at some stage and yes, he is a big miss but the rest of the squad have shown they are capable of more.
Looking at some positives, then the emergence of Cousins is certainly one of them. He is calm and composed on the ball, uses it well and does the simple things to good effect. A very real talent. Wood too has turned in some good performances and has established a good partnership with Morrison. Yesterday's clean sheet is testament to that and they can't be faulted for Forest's goal on Tuesday.
The defence did well to contain Fuller and Ince. I had a little chuckle to myself as some Addicks got wound up with Ricardo winning fouls in the same manner he did so many times for us. He is a big loss for us and one wonders where we'd be if he were still with us. His skill, experience and nous are sorely missed as our lack of goals demonstrates only too well.
Much as I'm not a fan of Stephens he put in a good shift yesterday and Wiggins had one of his better games although his crossing was a disappointment.
The international break will hopefully allow for our injured players to recover and be available for selection. I will be very disappointed if Cousins has to make way for anyone though that simply can't happen.
We have been fortunate in that those teams around us have not garnered more points, if they had we'd be in deep trouble. We do have a squad capable of competing in the championship and I sincerely hope that Sir Chris adopts a more offensive and proactive approach as this will bring better rewards. At home in particular the onus is on us to take the initiative.