Written by kirsikka
– It was pretty gruelling in the end but that was a rod we mostly made for our own back. Selfish play from some, poor final balls from others, mistimed runs and some pretty average shooting all combined to leave the door ajar for a late equaliser. Luckily for us, it never came.
– Tactically I don’t think there was anything wrong with the original set up in that we were getting into good positions. However, I do question the changes made at 1-0 up. It left us sitting back and hoping to put them under pressure from the break with three upfront. It was nearly effective but it also handed the possession initiative to them when they were chasing the game and gave them hope.
– I don’t quite know how to describe the role Adam Smith played tonight but his diagonal runs were awesome. Refs often follow a diagonal path across the pitch so maybe he was a Wing Ref Back. It was great to see!
– A bit of feistiness in the camp can be a good thing but it’s a slight worry when you see a player twice get into arguments with teammates. Recriminations should never be public like that, sort it out behind closed doors.
Having watched the replay I’m a little confused at why Junior got so mouthy with Surridge as it wasn’t like he was in a prime place. He was on the edge of the box with a defender nearby and lots to do so a striker would be perfectly within his rights to shoot rather than pass. This is especially the case given the fact that Stanislas had been selfish from good positions earlier in the game.
Meanwhile, Surridge shouldn’t have grabbed Junior’s shirt. Do that to an opponent and it probably won’t end well for us. Both need to take a look back at that and reflect.
– My second point on that is what came next. Normally I switch off the stream immediately after the final whistle but this time I let it run and watched. I became a little concerned when I saw Billing come onto the pitch and immediately go off with Junior and start yakking away with him. I had a fear this may be a sign of a schism in the camp, especially after reading the tweets from Billing’s father.
Shortly after the camera was cutting across the pitch and you could see Billing now walking alongside and talking with Surridge in an equal way to how he had with Stanislas. I don’t want to put words in his mouth but it looked to me like he went down there and spoke to both individuals to try and broker the peace. I really liked what I saw. A lot. Well done Billing.
– A word on our opponents.
There are ways to play the shut and shop game and, in contrast to Rotherham, I have a lot of respect for what Wycombe did out there. There were still a lot of free-kicks but it wasn’t a nasty niggly game the way the one against the Millers went. Yes, there was a bad challenge that got a deserved red but that wasn’t indicative of how they approached the whole game.
They committed men forward when attacking. It may not be refined but, to be fair, they gave it a genuine go. They aren’t the kind of team where you’d expect to find most of their matches uploaded to Pulishub. Good luck to them, I hope they stay up. Especially if it’s ahead of the aforementioned lot.
Man of the match against Wycombe
— Player Ratings —
Begovic – 7
Saved when he needed to save. Has become a rock at the back for us which is ironic considering Rocky was at the other end for them.
A Smith – 8 and Man of the Match
A player reborn these last few games. Keep this up and I can’t see him being dropped. He was everywhere, up and down, left and right and we saw little in the way of the Smith flop. Brilliant.
S Cook – 6
Did his job.
Simpson – 6
A few shaky moments again but also recovered well from mistakes and coped with the match environment well.
Kelly – 6
Not as dynamic as Saturday.
Lerma – 7
A lot of the good stuff came from midfield and he was as much a part of that as the other two.
L Cook (off on 82) – 7
The man upon which the whole formation rests since the whole team pivots around him. Up to standard and more again.
Billing (off on 60) – 7
A few driving runs and seemed to get on the ball a good amount. Continued good recent form. Strange booking. Brilliant after the final whistle with JS and SS.
Brooks (off on 82) – 7
The class creative act on the field. Looked good in patches but still didn’t dominate the game.
Solanke (off on 82) – 6
Worked hard but it wasn’t his night. You can’t be the main man in every match and no major complaints.
Stanislas – 6
This is hard as he scored and was around a lot of our attacking play but I don’t like the attitude in berating teammates publicly like that. He was also wasteful at times, maybe more so that those about which he was complaining.
Surridge (on from 60) – 7
Added a different threat and battled like a Trojan. Needs to cool the temper a little though.
Gosling (on from 82), Rico (on from 82) and King (on from 82)
Not much to say beyond I didn’t think I’d see King in an AFCB shirt again. Hard to get too excited about it though when the window opens in a couple of games time.
Overall Grade: B
We needed the win. We got the win. We’ve slipped up in these games before this season. We didn’t slip up this time.
We could have scored more but for some wasteful play pretty much across the board. No one single culprit and so hopefully the team will have a good debrief about it. However, three points is three points.
Meanwhile, hopefully, JT learnt something as well since inviting the ten men to pressure us like that could cost us on another day.
At the end of all that, we’re top of the table. Not a bad way to start my next 31,536,000 seconds.
Agree Simpson did enough to convince me he is worthy of being part of a rotation rather than be back up.
Stan is going to divide opinion. He did trackback and did more off the ball, which would support higher than 6, however, he can be wasteful and is often responsible for taking tempo out of the game which impacts other players. With 5 subs, would prefer to see him exhausted after 60-75 minutes rather than pacing himself.
Not convinced by Smith, okay going forward against team conceding space but we looked vulnerable when they attacked him, especially Horgan, even when he gets support, he can’t close down – Join the conversation, click here.