Top class defending

Well, I didn't expect the score-board to again be filled up like lights on a Christmas tree this week, but that's exactly what we got. Two points from two home games in the last week is not what we wanted ... but in the circumstances I am more than happy.

I have never seen the Valley erupt so loudly to a goal that only guaranteed us a point at home, especially to such meagre opposition ... but we were all convinced that despite such a valiant rearguard action, we had finally lost our unbeaten home record.

But it was not to be ... this team does not give in and there were some heroic performances on the pitch not least by Nicky Bailey and Jose Semedo.

And arguably all of our best back four were off the pitch and they still did not collapse under the expected onslaught of the 2nd half. I was extremely concerned when it was apparent that Dailly was injured, but we would not have done any better even with him on the pitch.

This was a second half performance that will be remembered for a long time. Determination, passion, and a desire that the two players that were stupidly sent off were not going to provoke our first defeat since March at the Valley.

And both Parky ... with a decision to move to an attacking formation despite only having 9 men ... and the crowd ... who were at times louder than we have been since the Premiership ... fully played their part.

The draw last week felt like a defeat ... this week it felt like a win ... and it was good to shut up the gloating Swindon fans who seemed to believe they had a world-beating team just because they were winning against nine men.

Jose Semedo was superb after being forced to move back into defence ... as good a display, and at times better, than many of our normal defenders have given this season.

And Nicky Bailey was enormous ... determined and passionate, he was never going to give in, leading the team with a true captain's display.

Shelvey and Llera also deserve a special mention, not just for the goals, but for their overall display.

As for the sending-offs, they were both stupid and self-induced. Sodje's second red card in a few weeks was insane ... you just can't make that type of tackle and expect to stay on the pitch ... and it's a four match ban!

Deon should have known better than to argue with this referee (see below) for his first yellow, and a streak of madness must have overtaken him when he handled the ball to be sent off.

For the first 20 minutes, even when Sodje was off the pitch being patched up, we were all over Swindon, and I had the feeling that once we got going, it could be a big win.

But it was not to be due to the circumstances outlined above ... and I cannot let this posting end without mentioning the absolutely abysmal display by the referee. We have seen some poor displays by referees this season, but this has to be amongst the worse. He made so many mistakes, I lost count ... and relied continuously on the linesman by the West Stand to pick up decisions he had missed. And how Swindon only got their first booking in the last few minutes, and that only for dissent, I have no idea.

Elliot - some wonderful saves, did everything we could have asked of him.
Omozusi - a capable display, but I expected more after his display last week.
Basey - brave and committed, another good performance following on from last week.
S Sodje - stupid tackle, out now for 4 games, whatever his excuse it's not good enough.
Llera - excellent display rounded off by a very coolly taken goal.
Spring - could have scored, some great passing movements
Semedo - superb in defence, we definitely missed him in midfield, but one of the main reasons we did not lose.
Shelvey - you could see he was happy to be back and determined to show why he should be back in the team. I told my son he would score, and happily he did.
Bailey - what a game, my man of the match. He does not give in, a true captain.
A Sodje - ran out of steam in the end, and not always as effectual as I would like, but a constant thorn in the side of Swindon.
Burton - Deon, Deon, Deon why did you do that? I am not going to criticise him, he's had a great season - just don't do it again!
Wagstaff - nothing outstanding, but he didn't let us down.
McKenzie - still not fully fit in my mind, his best ... I hope .. is yet to come.
Dickson - personally I'm not happy he was on the field, but circumstances demand.


Post a Comment