How things change eh? A month ago we’d just secured our first away win of the season at Shrewsbury and one that completed a run of 3 wins on the spin. We started looking up and not down and even the most pessimistic of us began to entertain thoughts of a play-off spot.
Fast forward to now and the play-offs appear to be just a pipe dream with the overall mood at the club much more of a down beat nature.
Anyone who witnessed Saturday’s dire performance will know just how bad it was. One has to feel for all those Addicks who made the journey to Vale Park only to be rewarded with probably the worst display of a very average season.
One shot on target for both sides in the game’s entirety tells its own story, the difference being that Vale scored with theirs.
There’s so much that one could dissect about the game and all serves to confirm the bad news. The defending for Butterworth’s goal was just awful. He had to beat 3 defenders plus AMB (he had a fine debut) but he did so with very little trouble or resistance.
We insisted on playing out from the back and every time that I can recall we got nowhere from it losing possession or the ball going out of play quite quickly.
If you don’t have players to carry out your preferred system you simply don’t do it. Talking of which, I thought Garner had had his road to Damsacus moment and realised that 2 recognised strikers up front works best for our squad.
Of course, Stockley isn’t playing well but we really aren’t playing to his strengths and he’s feeding off scraps.
The decision to remove Jayden when bringing on Aneke made little sense to me. Having our only two fit strikers on the pitch at the same time surely represented our best chance to get anything from the game.
Some very basic moves don’t happen. A good example of this was about 10 minutes into the second half. Sessegnon (who had a good game overall) had a clear opportunity to make an overlapping run but for some reason it didn’t seem to enter his head to do so.
This is pretty basic but either players are encouraged to do so or for some reason it’s not covered in a training session.
The manager’s post match comments received a deal of attention. Unusually, he was critical of the players, something that he’s not prone to do usually. Nothing wrong in that and probably deserved.
Garner also went on to moan about the pitch which seemed fine to most people as I don’t recall anyone else mentioning it.
To make matters worse he went on to moan about Vale’s tactics. Apparently, their manager made them awkward to beat, the devil! Garner made himself look silly by saying this.
He went on further by bemoaning the lack of investment in the squad and the summer transfer window. Garner is correct on that point of course. However, it’s a bit late in the day to complain and to be honest with the squad we have we really ought to have beaten a newly promoted team lacking their main striker.
Maybe it was a diversionary tactic but it did him no favours and one has concerns about what that does to the mood in the squad aside from the friction it doubtless causes with the owner.
Garner ought to have managed the team better. After Aneke, there were no more subs until the 76th minute which was very late in the day to try and affect the game. Let’s be honest very few players deserved to stay on the pitch and it was crying out for earlier changes.
The one saving grace this season has been our cup runs but you’d have to worry that our interest in two of those could well end within the space of 5 days.
Garner has stated that he’ll put out a young side against Pompey on Tuesday and on Saturday, Stockport will provide a tough test. County are on a pretty good run of form and one could easily see us going out of the Cup.
The only hope for this season remains one of two scenarios. One sees Sandgaard sell to someone who has the finances and interest to move the club forward. The other sees him get his act together and at a minimum invests in the squad.
The latter is a tough one as January is a difficult time to recruit any decent player. In addition, you’d have to wonder why anyone would want to join our club at present.
A mess indeed!