Not a very long post this time out … a point away at Bradford was all good for me despite the fact we hit the woodwork a couple of times and then had Patrick Bauer sent off at the death.
That alone pretty much has me peering out at Final Score from behind the settee, but we held on for the last few minutes and brought home a good point.
By the sounds of it we played a lot better than in the MK Dons cup match so I was quite glad to have taken the plunge after all and got a couple of tickets for the cup replay.
A relatively early leave for a night game had me picking up the brother in Chelmsford but a super run along the M25 and M1 had us parked in good time, definitely earlier than last time out’s seven seconds to spare.
Not many inside Stadium MK (not a great surprise there) and a pretty good first forty-five minutes with Adam Chicksen the stand-out for me although Joe Aribo came back from a disastrous moment to see us concede the opener to have a really good half.
Losing Lee Novak just before the break was a big kick in the teeth as we appeared to change the whole system, bringing on Morgan Fox with over a half to play and pushing Adam Chicksen further forward and taking away his influence as the ‘extra man’.
The repositioning of Johnnie Jackson so that the majority of the play was in front of him was an excellent decision, and he had one of his best games in a long time – especially having seen how out of it he was in the previous encounter.
Of course he then went off to be replaced by Roger Johnson – who isn’t a bad defender when the ball is coming at him – in fact he made two or three really good clearing headers in the first few minutes after coming on, but alas when having to deal with players running at him he does struggle.
What position does Brandon Hanlan actually play ?
He looked lost wide on the right and was way too slow when picked out beyond the far post midway through the first half and when switched to up front still couldn’t retain control of the ball or find a teammate. He’s still just a young lad though – I just hope he doesn’t get burnt out from excessive appearances like Karlan Ahearne-Grant !
As for Nicky Ajose, well I really don’t know where to start. I’m not usually one to criticise players (well, maybe sometimes) but honestly, his extra time performance (if that’s what you can call it) was almost an embarrassment.
Strikers miss chances. Everyone knows that, and I understand that completely but for me, it was the overall lack of anticipation, effort – I don’t know what !!
A super chance to win it in the last couple of minutes of the ninety saw him turn the last man but with the keeper to beat he seemed to just try and whack it in rather than slotting it past him like you’d expect a finisher to do. The chance gone and extra time looming.
We’d almost completely forgotten that there would be extra time if the game finished level and I thought best to text the wife to let her know. Unfortunately, by the time I’d finished typing it we’d conceded one and by the time she’d read the damn thing we’d conceded another.
Still time for a Charlton half chance or two, a cross from the left was spilt by the keeper but Ajose hadn’t taken the gamble and was too far away when the ball bounced free.
Personally I hope that Karl Robinson sorts his system quickly and that it doesn’t involve Ajose at all because he struts round the place giving all the body language of being the main man but just isn’t !!
I would also take the money for Ademola Lookman now, not worry about a loan back and try and spend it on a player or two that will fit into the team. I’ve probably typed this before, but he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a dead ball situation again – his delivery from corners and free kicks are so poor.
He also seems to have to beat at least two players every time he has possession – the away support en masse called for him to stop buggering about with it and pass the thing – which he did before sulking around for the next ten minutes.
Yes, he is a great player – and could well be a star of the future but at the moment he seems just a little too big for his boots with the attention he’s getting as we approach the window maybe getting to him a bit.
Either sell him, or, and this might be a better option, drop him to the bench for a bit of a rest and use him as an impact sub.
Finally, as I’m only a short while from heading off for today’s game, you can see why Jordan Botaka only got five minutes under Russell Slade. Really can’t understand him at all. You come on with five minutes left, do a few tricks, beat a couple, create a chance here and there and get the crowd going but give you ninety minutes or so and you barely do any of the above.
Ahhh, depressing myself on a matchday … not a good start so will stop typing.
Here’s hoping that today might be the start of this expansive, goalscoring side that KR has been gushing about.
C’mon you Reds !!