After Three Quarters

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After Three Quarters

Post by JohnC »

When the season ended at this point last season, our record was
P 35 W17 D 8 L 10 F 68 A 40 Pts 59 PPG 1.68
Currently our record is
P 35 W 20 D 6 L 9 F 57 A 34 Pts 66 PPG 1.88

Last season, at this point we had nine games to play, whereas we now have elven fixtures remaining. Five points from our last five games is relegation form, but if continued to the end of the season should still secure a play-off spot comfortably. We are seven points and two league places better off than at this point last season. Although we’re on course for a total which would normally be short of second place, most fans would (should?) have been happy back in September if offered our current clear second place with a realistic prospect of top spot.

Jack Taylor’s absence has coincided with our recent run of poor form. If he is able to return at all this season, there might soon be a strategic decision to be made about his availability: risk a premature return for him in an attempt to clinch automatic promotion, or delay his reintroduction to have him fully fit for the play-offs.

Turning Point. Prior to the Hull defeat:
1. we hadn’t conceded three goals in a game; now we’ve done it twice in three games;
2. when we scored first, we hadn’t lost;
3. The ‘Rule of Two’ had prevailed: score two and win, concede two and lose (apart from the 2-2 with Burton).

Genuine Concerns
Is home-turf pitch fatigue a problem? If it is, then maybe we ought to see more playing time for Eisa, Reed, Kanu and Mason. Managerless Portsmouth, coming off a run of three consecutive defeats and a spirit-sapping 120+ minutes defeat to Salford looked sprightly enough in the second half against a Posh team that had had the previous week-end off.

Discipline/Tackling How damaging will Hamilton’s deserved dismissal against Hull prove? We conceded numerous free kicks to Portsmouth in dangerous positions. Thompson has apparently managed to curb his impetuosity (no cards in his last eleven L1 appearances, but Beevers (four yellows in the last seven games) and Kent (two yellows in the last three ) have taken up the slack. They've also conceded two penalties in the last three games.

Fallibility in the Air. Apart from Pym’s errors in dealing with high balls (starting with the howler against Wigan), we lost numerous aerial challenges/non-challenges against Portsmouth and Rochdale.

Corners We’ve had 111 corners and scored from three of them (one the gift OG against Portsmouth).

No Substitute for Goals. Only Broome and Burrows have scored as substitutes this season.

We’ve been quite efficient in our goal-scoring: we’ve only ‘wasted’ four goals in our nine defeats: four scored, eighteen conceded.
Two own-goals (Lincoln and Portsmouth) have earned us four points.

Captaincy. Roy Keane or Danny Blanchflower? Obviously one style doesn’t suit all, but if it’s impossible to tell from the sidelines who the on-field captain is, then doubts about the raison d’etre of captaincy may arise.

The Great Non-scoring Centre-half Mystery
Beevers has no goals for us in 70 L1 appearances, yet in the season before he joined us, he had four goals for Championship strugglers Bolton.
Tafazolli scored two L1 goals in 70 L1 appearances in his last two seasons with us. (He’s been more prolific in the Championship with Hull and Wycombe since he left.) Over the last four L1 seasons (including this one), our main central defender has scored two goals in 139 games – half a goal per season. I have no idea why this is so. Chris Turner would be scratching his head over those numbers. By comparison, Lincoln's central defender Lewis Montsma has eight goals this season, five in L1: that’s more Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Butler, Mason and FBT put together. Shaun Brisley effectively winning the JPT final at Wembley with his aerial dominance from two corners seems a very distant memory. It’s nineteen L1 games since one of our defenders scored.

Looking Forward
Earlier this season, we had an eight-points-from-eight-games run, so players and management know that there is a way out of this slump.
No-one has drawn more games than Sunderland: ideally we’d want them to come to Peterborough when a draw would suit us more than it would them.
Only Blackpool and Sunderland have conceded fewer goals than us, and we play them both in the next two weeks. Patience.

Wish List
An early return for Taylor.
A goal from a defender.
A goal from Eisa.
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