Date:Thursday April 9 2015
In his second blog of the week, Adam Guest attempts to dissect our continued dreadful home form.
Played 43, Won 12, Drew 15, Lost 16, Scored 41, Conceded 52, Points 51.
That is our home record since the beginning of last season. Pretty rubbish isn`t it? It has fewer wins, more losses, less goals and a worse defensive record than our away record over the same period (P43, W13, D16, L14, F44, A39). But just why are we so inept when performing at the Banks`s. Is it all down to bad luck, bad referees and bobbly pitches?
Well no, obviously not. Personally I feel a lot of it comes down to tactics and predictability. Most of our home wins have come against sides above us in the table (we haven`t won at home to a bottom half side at all this season) and, why that seems odd, it actually tells us a lot. When sides come and play their own game, we generally get results. Our Plan A beats their Plan A a decent amount of times and that`s where our win comes from. When teams change their game to accommodate our playing style we struggle every single time. Given that sides are more likely to adopt their own Plan A when they`re playing at home, it explains why our away record is better than our home one.
So just why are opposition managers able to get the better of us so regularly while none of the sides we beat have similar troubles on their own patch? To me this comes down to a rigid inflexibility on our part. If you asked most managers in this league to pick the oppositions starting XI for this Saturdays games then I suspect most would be able to have a reasonable crack at it, and get maybe 9 or 10 right most of the time. With us though, injuries aside you could have a fair stab at naming our starting XI, our subs bench, which subs would come on, who for, and in what minute (prediction for Saturday is at the foot of this article).
So how do we overcome this? It`s very easy to suggest we need a generic Plan B for us to fall back on when the generic Plan A fails, but it doesn`t really solve the problem. Realistically we need to be doing something a bit more innovative, such as studying the opposition and coming up with a game plan for beating them. Dean Smith and the management team would probably swear bind this already happens, which would actually be more scary as it would suggest they`re just genuinely not very good at it as the conclusion seems to always be "Yep, our normal game will do". If this is occurring on a week by week basis, it certainly doesn`t show.
The other concern is the level of acceptance around our performance levels. Every noise that came out of the club following the Notts County game was "If we keep playing like that we`ll be ok". Were we really good enough to make statements like that? Yes, for a 15 minute spell in the second half we played very well. We looked dangerous from set plays and did everything but score. If we could play to that intensity for 90 minutes every week then yes I have no doubt we`d have an excellent home record. But if we play how we did for the other 75 minutes when we were devoid of pace, intelligence, drive, creativity and all round general idea of how to win the game then we`ll continue to struggle. If Dean Smith considers that acceptable, and he`s drilling that view into the players day after day, then someone at the club needs to have a word with him about it; because clearly it`s not.
Predicted team for Saturday: O`Donnell, Purkiss, Taylor, O`Connor, J Chambers, A Chambers, Cain, Cook (Morris 80), Sawyers, Hiwula (Forde 75), Bradshaw (Grimes 60). Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Mantom, Bakayoko.
Date:Thursday April 9 2015
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