Written by Neil Dawson
Another year – another humiliating car crash of a game for the reserves in a cup competition. A game so dull that the major discussion point on the away terrace was whether the host country for the electricity supply was Chad or Somalia, the floodlights going off three times in the course of the second half. You can always spot fervent fans ‘these bloody light failures are why we are losing’ moaned a bloke behind me – no doubt in possession of the knowledge that Burton train for frequent game delays. They don’t and they didn’t need them tonight to comfortably beat an abject Bournemouth side with two classy goals.
The truth was no different to we have always known – major changes can’t do it for us and if you need penalties to beat a league two side at home that side won’t cut it against a league one side away. Eddie made ten changes tonight – keeping Solanke in the side to try once again and get him the confidence of a goal. Bad judgement as it turned out it was Burtons men’s’ side we were playing – the girls that Solanke might have been able to physically compete against were sat in the stand. On paper, it was a better side than played Forest Green but a mixture of poor individual displays and a lack of cohesion did for us.
Bournemouth’s play consisted very much of re-cycling it around the back, and then recycling it around the back, and then recycling it around the back and then getting caught out and humping it forward for Solanke to lose it in the air to anyone taller than Ryan Fraser. The range of passing from Cook made it look like he normally plays on a cricket pitch with balls flying into the crowd with wild abandon and everything was going down the left or through our new playmaker……..Travers.
Despite having less possession Burton did more with it and Travers had already made two stops before we well behind. Unfortunately, the keeper was at fault with a dismal throw that left Franno stranded for Hutchinson to advance unchallenged down the left-wing and slam in a high cross for SARKIC to volley expertly past Travers at the far post. Kelly was missing on a debut he will also want to forget.
Bournemouth almost seemed irritated by this interruption to their pretty sideways football so dropped even deeper to recycle the ball endlessly around the back unchallenged. They stopped doing this once to release Fraser but O’Hara was smartly off his line to deny the Scot. Other than that and the odd mazy run to anywhere on the pitch he was headed by Ibe that was it.
Burton 1 Bournemouth 0
The chat at half-time was at least the game couldn’t get any worse – how wrong we were. The passing was as bad as I can ever remember a Bournemouth side under Howe. Cook and Surman were no threat, Harry Wilson arrived to join in with the ability to find a yellow shirt and with Ibe and Solanke offering the collective threat of Gok Wan in an Ultimate fighting competition it was a question of how long before Wilson arrived. Not long – along with Danjuma for Solanke and Franno with Ibe moving to right back.
At this stage, the lights went a third time and the referee blew his whistle and Jordan Ibe threw his shirt into the crowd. The home fans started to leave and there were no tannoy announcements. All very confusing but the lights came back and a full half-hour was left.
A full half-hour of nothing apart from a purple patch from Burton where they tore us apart scored once and missed two sitters. Mepham was badly outpaced (there’s a shock) for the second by O’Toole to knock it wide and the low cross was superbly fired in on the slide by BROADHEAD to double the lead. Travers then made an outstanding stop to keep us in it and with twenty minutes left there was still time for those attackers on the pitch to conjure something up. It was vintage Eddie when behind – everyone upfront with nobody to give them the ball and a total imbalance. So frustrating we never, ever learn from this basic error. Consequently, there was no threat until deep into injury time when Simpson’s header came back off the post from Wilson’s corner. There were no lights to go off….. there was no hope left…
Burton 2 Bournemouth 0
Travers 5 – Gave away the ball for goal but atoned with two great stops
Francis 4 – Rusty but to be expected I guess
Simpson 4 – Never looked comfortable with or without the ball
Mepham 3 – Turned many times and outpaced by journeymen forwards
Kelly 3 – Couldn’t seem to keep the ball in play or find our own players
Kilkenny 4 – I thought he was doing ok – but Eddie obviously didn’t.
Surman 4 – Sideways, sideways, sideways….lose it.
Cook 3 – That’s the worst game I’ve seen him play – totally off it.
Fraser 5 – Kept trying to make stuff happen but haphazard too.
Solanke 2 – I’ve never seen a Bournemouth forward that bad. Embarrassing.
Ibe 3 – some good runs but clueless.
(Danjuma 5 – showed promise, H Wilson 3 – passing woeful, C Wilson 3 – nothing)
MOM – Travers and Fraser had poor games, which elevated them above everyone else’s abject ones. The keeper just for me, despite the error for the goal, which says it all.
Firstly I think it is important to separate tonight from what has been a good start to the season for the first team. No complaints from me on that – this has to be seen as a one-off game and this verdict needs to be taken in that context.
I just don’t get it. I never have. I know people will defend it by saying that these players have to have game time – but now they have no more game time until January which makes no logical sense to me. We don’t have the squad to play ten or eleven reserves and this is well proven. We do have the squad to take four or five out – fairer on the ones coming in too as they feel like part of a first-team. Doing what Eddie did tonight just:
Stops any more games for our reserve players (the ones that will play in the first team).
Stops us having any chance of winning any trophies. We won’t get relegated.
Loses us the momentum and morale possibly based on previous seasons.
Damages the players coming in – Kelly must feel jittery after that display.
Takes the mick out of the fans who travelled in good numbers to see a proper game.
It’s no surprise – people knew what they were letting themselves in for but it doesn’t excuse it. I don’t mind people having off days, I know that it’s hard to put eleven players together for the first time – I have sympathy for some of the lads out there tonight. Others – I am less sure. They flew up I understand – got out of the chartered jet with their head-phones on, sauntered into the little ground and then publically tossed it off in front of hard up paying fans. Yes, Solanke, Ibe, Surman, Mepham – all of whom ducked out of challenges they could have won and didn’t chase causes they could have – you should have a long think about what people paid to get to that ground tonight for you to decide you rather would have been somewhere else.
Rant over – let’s get back to hopefully enjoying a continued great run from the first team, and there’s always the FA Cup, a much better competition anyway!!
wimborne cherries wrote…
Solanke sounds like he had a shocker? Must say after what I’ve seen so far, he does look like a complete waste of money.
I worry about him like Ibe. After spending all their years in elite academies, probably on big money from an early age, I often wonder if they have the determination others might, at least in the training ground which obviously hasn’t happened. – Join the conversation, click here.