04 March, 2008

Don't mention the "S" word

So the curse of Sky strikes again. Naturally there will be some questions asked, although I have not looked at any message boards (it would be futile, I can pretty much predict what they will say).

I was at work until 9 last night, so can only really comment on the 25 minutes I saw, in which Clingan looked decent, Perchio and Jules were trying to get forward from full-back, although the two centre-halves and Chris Cohen all looked slightly more ponderous than I have seen before. The triumvirate at the front didn't quite seem to be on the same wavelength as each other, or indeed the rest of the team.

Apparently Perchio was getting stick from the fans, I don't know what the first hour was like but he looked OK to me. Smudge made an awful error, but from what I have seen and heard, he has been one of our players of the season - getting on a keeper's back after a mistake is not going to help him stop more going in. Dare I say it, Kelvin (also apparently excellent all season) should really have booted it away if he wasn't sure that Smudge was going to get there (I have not played much 11-a-side in the last ten years, but I know that no-one can score if the ball is in Row Z).

The criticism I don't understand in this case is with regard to the formation. If CC had stuck with 5-3-2/3-5-2, who would have played at the back? Breckin was suspended and Chambers injured - although Jules could slot in at the back with Lockwood coming in on the left, that would prevent Jules from making his effective forays forward. Choosing this formation with the same result would only have led to the usual cries of "negativity". Criticising the 4-3-3 is understandable, a lot of the time the forwards look isolated, but on the other hand, it seemed to create plenty of chances in the first half, which were spurned by the Reds or saved by the keeper. Strikes me that the formation can't have been too much of a problem if the chances were there.

I would make one criticism of CC though, in that he made his substitutions too late. Davies and McCleary both looked willing when they came on, but neither was able to see enough of the ball to do much.

Finally, Carlisle will be delighted. They obviously came to stick nine men behind the ball, and even in 25 minutes, I lost count of the amount of blocks and tackles made in their own box. They also scored from their one shot on target (so I am told).

I can't be bothered to speculate on the possible consequences of this defeat, although I agree with much (not all) of Through the Seasons Before Us' precis. Suffice to say, I wouldn't mind if Sky never cover a Reds match again...

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