Saturday, 30 November 2013

Increasingly Frustrating Afternoon

Hardly what the doctor ordered. Any thoughts of Tuesday night’s win sparking a real change in our home record died a death in a game which proved to be won and lost in the first five minutes. Ipswich came out of the blocks while we seemed to believe we were still playing Doncaster. They forced two excellent saves from Alnwick, nearly converted a corner, and then scored from another. They really didn’t threaten again, but in the event didn’t have to as in an increasingly frustrating afternoon we failed to show the wit or precision needed to break open what became a massed defence – and unlike against Doncaster (and Leeds) didn’t produce a moment of magic from outside the box to score. Sobering and dispiriting.

The team was not surprisingly unchanged from Tuesday night, with Hamer still out injured. Unusually I checked the BBC pre-match summary before heading off and noted that we have scored fewer goals in the first half than any other Championship team whereas Ipswich have a habit of going ahead, often only to blow it. After five minutes you wished we’d done our homework properly as Ipswich began all guns blazing and we really had no answer. Alnwick first turned a one-on-one effort around the post, then produced an outstanding double-save, one a point-blank stop. Their first corner saw us sleep and let a guy get clear at the near post; their second produced a goal from close range. Hard to argue with it as we had the warnings.

After that opening, the game settled down and there were encouraging signs. In particular Kermorgant seemed to be getting back to his previous mobility and was winning every ball in the air with some ease. Stewart looked threatening, and Church was working well. It seemed as though we had the weapons to hurt them, if we could make the best use of them. In what was a relatively open first half we failed to do so. Crosses from decent positions didn’t find a target and too often the necessary cohesion just wasn’t there as passes were misplaced, runs misread etc. Wilson overhit one cross when well placed and hit the next one hard and low, without anyone getting on the end of it. In the event, apart from Church being played in and judged offside (I’m not sure if he was or wasn’t but do know the linesman was some yards behind the play and just guessed) and the closest we came to actually scoring was a Wiggins cross which seemed to come back off the woodwork and/or their keeper.

After their opening salvo Ipswich had been contained, but at the break you felt we might need something special, or just one off someone’s backside, to get back on level terms. We were tending to go long, which might not have been pleasing on the eye but was a fair reflection of where our strength lay in this game.

In the second half Ipswich increasingly decided to hold what they had and ensured they got nine or ten behind the ball, putting the onus on us to break them down. It proved to be an effective tactic as denied space and more often jumping from a standing position Kermorgant’s ability in the air was increasingly nullified, while Stewart was kept under wraps, not finding the space or the service to have a decent run at his opposite number.

Changes were required. A double-substitution saw Church and Jackson replaced by Pigott and Green. Bringing on a second winger, allowing Stewart to switch back to the left, seemed a decent move, while Church coming off also made sense, not because he was playing badly but because the space to get in behind or around them just wasn’t there any more. But the fact that Sordell wasn’t brought on seemed strange as we were crying out for someone to make things happen in the box, or to take any half-chance.

Stewart did threaten a few times but ended up being well dealt with and as the game entered its final stages all we could look back on from the second half was another cross that by accident almost ended up in the net. Sordell did come on, with Wilson sacrificed, but the afternoon was summed up right at the finish as a poor challenge on Kermorgant (not the first in a generally fairly contested game) saw the ref intervene and blow his whistle without looking up to see where the ball had gone. It had actually run through to Stewart with nobody close to him and a clear run on goal. Only added to the frustration, as did a stoppage-time fracas which only ended up wasting time.

Possession stats mean little. The telling one is that we failed through the entire game to fashion a proper scoring opportunity. Tomorrow we’ll be left with the sobering statistic of having scored seven goals in nine home games, having failed to score in five of them. After the awful performance at home against Millwall, we played well against Forest and might well have won, were decent against Blackpool and Wigan (but failed to score), should have beaten Leeds (or at least drawn), and did a professional job against a lacklustre Doncaster. Today the focus is back on the negatives. In truth I don’t think we were especially worse than against Doncaster; but the opposition was better and the way the game panned out we looked increasingly ordinary when some devil and a little magic was needed.

Player Ratings:

Alnwick – 8/10. Might have been a nine as he pulled off excellent saves before their goal and thereafter dealt well with the little that came his way.

Wilson – 6/10. Nothing especially wrong other than not delivering telling crosses from good positions.

Wiggins – 7/10. Much the same, got forward to good effect but couldn’t find a telling contribution (if his cross had gone in it would have been a very welcome fluke).

Morrison – 6/10. The defence collectively was all at sea in the first five minutes but after that seldom troubled.

Dervite – 6/10. Much the same; composed and assured after the opening spell but in retrospect that opening cost us the game.

Stewart – 6/10. In the end was well dealt with by their defence and today flattered to deceive. Might have been different if the ref hadn’t blown for the late foul and he went through and scored.

Stephens – 6/10. Difficult game to shine in as there was possession aplenty but he wasn’t able to pick out a telling pass in the final third.

Cousins – 6/10. Neat and tidy, provided good cover for the defence, but today no more.

Jackson – 5/10. Expect he’ll be disappointed with his showing as he struggled to get into the game from out wide and didn’t get anything in the box.

Church – 6/10. No shortage of effort but no decisive contribution.

Kermorgant – 7/10. If there was a positive from today for me it was the signs that he’s getting back to match fitness. Far less effective in the second half as they sat deep, but seemed to have their defenders on a plate in the air in the first half.

Subs – Pigott (6/10: threatened once or twice); Green (7/10: presumably came on to deliver crosses in an increasingly desperate attempt to level the game and did have some impact); Sordell (no mark as he was only on at the death and don’t think he touched the ball).

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Much-Needed Win, At Home

It’s still a little early in the season to be talking about must-win games, but there was no question the pressure was on tonight. The home defeat to Leeds not only put an end to the previous decent run of results (since the Millwall game) but also focused attention back on the poor home record this season (and the echoes of something similar for much of last season); and the defeat at QPR, while not especially damaging in itself, left us back to one place above the relegation zone. Three points tonight and at least that gap widened to six points and pushed us four places up the table, with another home game coming up; anything less and … well, just didn’t bear thinking about. In the event, while it was far from a breeze, Doncaster proved a very different kettle of fish to the side that visited us briefly earlier in the season and the points were indeed taken, giving Sir Chris some long overdue exercise after the final whistle at The Valley.

Transport difficulties and the need for at least one pre-match glass threw out our timings and I have to say I missed the first few minutes – and the build-up to the game. Consequently I’m indebted to a fellow Addick for informing me after the match that it hadn’t been Hamer in goal; just hadn’t crossed my mind it wasn’t him and I was preparing mentally some positive comment along the lines of him having not let his error against Leeds for their third to affect him, judging on the reports from the QPR game and the performance tonight, when he was called on just once but when required made a good save late on to head off what might otherwise have been a nervy end. Instead, I am informed we lined up with Alnwick in goal, with Hamer having picked up an injury in the warm-up. So to him must go the credit.

Otherwise, with Wood not brought straight back in, the defence threw up no surprises: Wilson, Wiggins, Morrison and Dervite. Cousins and Stephens kept the central midfield berths, with Stewart on the right and Jackson being called on to play wide-left (I’m sure there was a quote not so long ago from Powell to the effect that he’d never play there again, no matter), with Pritchard missing out to accommodate a basic 4-4-2 with Kermorgant and Church up front.

Missing the start also meant I didn’t see what was apparently an early miss by Church. By the time I’d settled in the game was looking rather low-key, with a rather sparse crowd (full marks to the Doncaster fans who turned up again) not helping. Indeed, the first 20 minutes or so were fairly mundane, from both teams. Stephens was trying to make things happen, and Stewart was looking a threat, but otherwise our movement wasn’t especially sharp and with Kermorgant still feeling his way back into things we were looking fairly ordinary, as if the obvious need to get a home win under our belts was weighing on us.

Then almost out of the blue we had a couple of excellent chances. Good movement by Church on the left side created the space for him to put in a low cross which was left by Jackson for Kermorgant, who hit it on the turn only to see the ball rebound off the inside of the post and out. Then a ball in from the other side was met sweetly by Jackson, only for his curling effort to be well turned away by their keeper. After that the game settled down again. At the other end we were looking fairly comfortable, if not completely assured. Doncaster caused us all sorts of problems with their set-pieces in the abandoned game and that seemed to leave a scar; one ball in saw three Charlton defenders converge on it and all contrive to miss it.

Then from the relatively mundane came a goal that surely puts to rest our goal of the month competition, if not goal of the season. Ball coming down over his shoulder around the edge of the area and Stephens hit an absolute screamer into the far corner. Really one of those ones that Malcolm Allison used to say you might as well blame the cleaner for.

One more before the break and you felt that might do it, but when that chance came, from a driven low cross, Church failed to make a meaningful connection when it seemed any touch would do. Kermorgant did also make something of a hash of putting the ball into an empty net from about 30 yards, but the linesman’s flag was up in any event, while a free kick from him curled over the bar. Instead perhaps the turning point of the game came shortly before the break as Doncaster fashioned their one real chance of the night. Their guy sprang the offside trap (according to the linesman at least) and was almost clean through, only for a series of desperate lunges persuaded him to turn inside once or twice and by the time the shot came in it cleared the bar.

At the break things were far from done and perhaps the game should already have been put to bed, but if they’d equalised then who knows?

The second half picked up in pretty similar fashion, a lot of ordinary stuff played in the direction of Church with Yann struggling to have his customary impact, but with the defence not put under serious pressure. Doncaster started to make their changes, including the introduction of a worryingly nippy forward, but before we could start to be truly anxious we did get the breathing space we needed. I can’t say who played the ball through to Church (but whoever it was take another mark in the ratings) but it was a peach, allowing him to run through on the keeper. He bided his time but once the keeper had committed himself tucked it into the corner of the net, perhaps off the post. A much-needed goal for him and for us.

Doncaster’s response was fairly tame and instead the chances came and went for us to truly kill them off. Stewart decided it was time for some shots. His first was turned over the bar and his second came back off the bar. Wilson got in on the act, forcing a good save, and then there was the moment of farce when it seemed somebody must score and instead Church swivelled on the loose ball and miskicked.

So the third never came but the game was seen out comfortably after Alnwick had dived smartly to his left to turn aside their one second-half serious attempt on goal. Sordell replaced Church, Hughes came on late for Jackson (who had picked up a yellow card), and right at the death Green was allowed to stretch his legs for a few minutes, with Stewart coming off.

It was, I guess, what Sir Chris might describe as a decent professional performance. We needed a home win badly and took it. A word on our visitors? Decent and fair. I think they were missing some players tonight, but it also underlines the cliché that goals change games. In the first half of the abandoned game they scored three and not surprisingly it lifted them all round. Tonight they looked a pale shadow of that outfit. Good luck to them, no hard feelings I hope about the abandonment and the outcome tonight. Just hope that Ipswich play on Saturday like the Doncaster of tonight and not the one of the abandoned game.

Player Ratings:

Alnwick – 8/10. The guy was called on to make one serious save and pulled it off, while dealing with everything else that came his way.

Wilson – 7/10. Unlucky not to get on the scoresheet; just one bad moment in the second half when he allowed their guy to turn him inside the box, otherwise decent.

Wiggins – 8/10. If it hadn’t been for Stephens’ screamer he would have been a fair shout for man of the match. Excellent in defence and played like a winger going forward (reviving the promotion year games by tending to go outside/past Jackson).

Morrison – 8/10. Can’t remember him putting a foot wrong.

Dervite – 7/10. Generally fine but did concede a few free kicks in areas which allowed them to threaten.

Stewart – 8/10. Not everything worked, but he gives us a real outlet and sometimes went past his marker with ease. Unlucky not to score with at least one of his two efforts.

Cousins – 7/10. Not especially prominent but usually neat and tidy and kept things ticking over.

Stephens – 8/10. He was trying to lift things when were were having ordinary spells, especially in the first half. And he’s just scored a goal of the season contender.

Jackson – 7/10. Clearly remembered how to play with Wiggins on the left side, another who was unlucky not to score with a decent effort.

Kermorgant – 6/10. Still working his way back, which is hardly surprising. Hasn’t yet got back the strut and presence and the easier movement. His main effort on goal came back off the post.

Church – 7/10. Tireless in chasing some ordinary balls, sometimes to good effect. If he’d missed his one-on-one we might have been talking about the chances he didn’t take, but we won.

Subs – No marks really for Sordell, Hughes or Green as the game was all but done and dusted by the time they came on.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Just Do It, Now

If I have a fault (and believe it or not it isn’t just Leeds fans that suspect I might), it could be verbosity. My posts, and probably just about everything I’ve written in my life, are not noted for their brevity. I’ve tended to take comfort from the fact that most (if not all) of what’s been produced has been under extreme time pressures (either to meet deadlines or to hotfoot it to the pub or the nearest available bottle) and that, to paraphrase I believe a British general the day before a battle, ‘I apologise for the length of the order of the day but I didn’t have time to write a shorter one’. So let’s try to keep this one short.

For crying out loud what are the owners/board waiting for? The issue of Sir Chris’ contract should have been resolved during the summer. We’ve now seen the reports of the interview he gave, basically saying he wants to stay and that the issue is creating some uncertainty. It is now in the public domain to the extent that merely doing nothing would be an unforgivable slap in the face to our manager (and his staff). Please may we see an announcement, or some form of communication, to the tune that the club wishes to retain him and that a new contract/contract extension will be put to him in the (very) near future.

I’d like to go on, but I’d only be underlining the same point, commenting on the possible implications of inaction (how could this do anything but undermine the morale of all concerned etc). And after all I’m only echoing what others have been urging for months. The issue has now been brought to a head (I hope not the result of serious frustration on the part of Sir Chris) and inaction/silence would begin to speak for itself. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sober Reflections

OK, it’s the morning after (the afternoon actually but it wasn’t an early start and my French partner Suzanne, who attended yesterday, needs her cups of tea and room service). Was the choice of word I used after the game to describe Leeds over the top? Perhaps. But I’m getting sick of seeing games heavily influenced/decided by a combination of various forms of cheating and an inability on the part of the officials to deal with them. I may have felt annoyed (and disappointed) after our defeat, but how would I feel if I was a West Brom fan going home having seen what would have been a famous victory denied by a player cheating and a ref buying it (and then to have to listen to a manager try to defend the indefensible)?

I did watch the Football League show highlights to see if they would shed any light on the major incidents. Aside from strengthening my view that there penalty was a poor decision by the ref (adding to the injustice after he’d not given us one in the first half for what seemed to me to be a clear foul) they didn’t as just the goals were shown. But I did catch QPR equalising against Reading courtesy of a free kick curled into the net through the edge of a wall that had been separated by a blatant – and clearly pre-conceived and practised - shove by a QPR player.

Leeds’ players tactics involved using the poor conditions to apply pressure on a weak referee, with collective moaning and complaining over each decision given (or not given), some cynical fouls (which went unpunished by the ref in terms of cards), an effort to persuade the ref that Morrison’s challenge was dangerous (which included the obligatory rolling around in agony), a judicious use of feigned injuries to disrupt the game at times (coupled with Kenny’s time-wasting, for which he was warned at least three times before finally being yellow-carded), and then that tumble in the box. My annoyance was probably compounded by the feeling left from our previous home game, against Wigan. In that game, any time we were building up a head of steam one of their players would go to ground and prompt a stoppage to give them time to regroup.

The onus has to be on the match officials if we want to try to cut down the use of ‘professional’ tactics. When is the game going to embrace the technology available to assist the officials, who obviously (I feel) face a task that is beyond them? As things stand we have three officials on the pitch trying to make instant judgements and every Saturday/Sunday evening the pondering on TV/radio on a series of decisions they make which decide games, some obviously wrong, some questionable.

As things stand, we have a game in which almost every corner/set piece could result in two or three penalty offences plus a similar number of fouls by the attacking side, an apparent acceptance (encouraged by some pundits) that any contact in the box entitles a player to dive (and when a player opts to fall down when he doesn’t have to is diving), and a perhaps lesser offence whereby any defender in trouble facing the wrong way with a forward at his back tumbles over for the inevitable free kick (something which Jorge Costa was a past master at). I honestly don’t understand this ‘there was contact …’ argument. Why should the penalty area be any different from the rest of the pitch and if that argument is extended you have just made football a non-contact sport.

Personally I’d be in favour of additional officials on the pitch (either a ref for each half of the pitch or four linesmen), or acceptance of the use of video technology from the stands. I’d welcome retrospective action (match bans etc) where there is clear evidence of players having cheated (yes, of course it’s a grey area open to interpretation), even if this has no impact on the match result and even if it means acknowledging that the officials missed something/made mistakes. I’d also favour referees, as in rugby union, being able to signal an advantage and allow play to continue, to come back for the offence if there is no positive outcome. Perhaps, just perhaps, we would have less diving in the box if players were aware that they could stay on their feet and get an effort on goal and still get the penalty awarded if no goal results.

In criticising Leeds I’m not suggesting we are somehow holier than thou. In a previous game (Millwall I think) Sordell engineered a dive just inside the box that even us Addicks couldn’t bring ourselves to back. I’m also aware that other Addicks would support the team being more ‘professional’ (ie sneaky) sometimes. But on balance I think a side that adopts, deliberately, a cynical approach also loses something. You can’t switch the cynicism on and off and I do think it works against team spirit, character and resolve, qualities that shine through when the chips are down. I hope that’s not just wishful thinking.

As for the game, I don’t think I glossed over the fact that the result was ultimately decided by our crime when having levelled for a second time (would have given Church an extra mark in the ratings if I’d been fully aware of his contribution to our second) we gave away a soft third within a few minutes. Perhaps Hamer went out with the approach (even instructions?) to be wary of coming off his line for balls in the air, given the conditions; but he really had to claim the ball before it dropped to their guy (yes, the one who scored all the goals). It was a costly error – and from his reaction I think he knew it. So be it, every keeper makes mistakes. Let’s just work on the communication between keeper and defenders.

We move on, as I must, as there’s another bottle of red to open and a rabbit to be hacked up and cooked if Suzanne is to be kept content.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Cynicism and Poor Refereeing Decide The Outcome

I like to think that, while partisan, I’m not unreasonable. So we let’s begin with a word on our visitors, Leeds. Scum. I don’t in any way mean the supporters. From all that I saw they were fine and in addition to turning out in impressive force offered their team excellent vocal support through the game (with the obvious exception of that silly song about ‘champions of Europe’; sad or what?). I mean the team, and by implication the manager. McDermott has a decent reputation and I suspect most of us think that he did a fair job at Reading. But if your team on the pitch behaves as they did, it has to reflect on you. Cynical, ‘professional’ if you like, but pathetic is more accurate. I would be ashamed to support them.

Then a word on the ref, Keith Stroud. Crap. His decisions had a major influence on the outcome of the game and, subject to seeing them again, he got the major ones wrong. He allowed himself to be conned by Leeds’ tactics and was weak throughout. He had two major penalty decisions to make. When Stephens went onto a ball in their box and was flattened, he did nothing; when their guy dived he gave a penalty. Their third came from a free-kick that was nonsense. When a ref warns a keeper, the obnoxious Kenny, for time-wasting, what does he do next? Warn him again, then again, and finally shows a yellow card. Would he send him off for still doing the same thing? You just knew he wouldn’t. Gutless in addition to rubbish. The conditions made life difficult for the officials, as well as the players, but he allowed himself to conned. So cynicism triumphs, for a day.

All that aside, this was a game that we still should have taken something from, for positive reasons. The major crime was that, having levelled at 2-2, we conceded a poor third goal, to give the advantage back to them. In addition, the obnoxious Kenny pulled off two saves at key times. Up against a cynical Leeds, and a dreadful ref, this was one to win against the odds. That we didn’t was down to that third goal. The fourth was an irrelevance, but when a forward’s on fire you have to doff your cap to the strike from the free kick that sealed the victory. And for once in the game it did actually look as though the ref got the decision right. I hope he feels pleased with himself.

Before the (delayed) start the question was whether Kermorgant might be fit and, if not, whether Sir Chris would stick with 4-5-1 at home. In the event Yann was on the bench, so 4-5-1 it was, with the defence picking itself (Wood seemingly being unavailable), and Harriott playing instead of Pritchard, more as an outright winger than in the hole as before. A midfield trio of Stephens and Jackson, in advance of Cousins, should ensure we had a fair amount of possession, but would the goals come with Church operating as the lone striker?

Attacking the Covered End in the first half (why?) the first good chance came early. Harriott had the ball around the edge of the box and was under no great pressure but his his shot over the bar. There’s nothing wrong with scoring early and given the time and space he had it should have been on target. The conditions were poor. It was difficult, especially in the first half, to judge a pass, putting the emphasis on playing in the opponents’ half as mistakes seemed inevitable. And generally we were having the better of things, controlling play and keeping them on the back foot. But the idea that having not conceded a goal for seven hours-plus was always a bit of a deception (when you go that long you have some luck and Blackpool might have scored against us late on, while Wigan had a number of good chances that weren’t taken); we aren’t watertight. This showed with a poor first goal for them.

An ordinary ball into the box might have been claimed by Hamer but wasn’t. Instead there was hesitation and their guy knocked it on and their forward who scores goals latched onto it and finished well, although a fellow Addick in line said it was definitely offside. Cheap goal to give away. But we were still playing well enough and we had to endure Stephens being flattened in the box and nothing given, then Church, who had previously failed to convert from a tight angle, connected with a good cross from the left only for the obnoxious Kenny to pull off a blinding save.

Just as the sense of injustice was building, we equalised with a truly stupendous strike from Stewart. A ball into the box was headed out only for him to catch it on the volley and send it soaring into the far corner. It has to be a contender for our goal of the season and meant that at the break we were fuming about the ref’s failure to give a penalty (and the plain daft booking of Morrison when other cynical challenges by Leeds had gone unpunished), about the poor goal we had conceded, and the obnoxious Kenny’s save, but were level and playing well enough to have confidence about the eventual outcome.

That changed quite quickly in the second half. Ball in the box, Leeds guy adopts that attitude of ‘there was contact so I fell over’ (ie dived), and the ref stupidly gives a penalty. Their guy who scores converted and we’re on the back foot again, chasing the game. Seemed like a tough period ahead as they not surprisingly concentrated on getting men behind the ball, but we equalised again, somewhat out of the blue. Good work down the left and a low ball in which saw Jackson move ahead of defenders to get on the end of it and convert.

Having come from behind twice, playing one up front, the emphasis now was surely on keeping things tight and upping the pressure on them, to go on and win the game. Instead we self-imploded, with the ref making another poor decision to contribute. He gave a free kick to them for nothing, but the ball in was surely there for Hamer to claim. He didn’t and as with the first goal the result was confusion and the ball ran on to their guy who scores to convert. Even worse than the first and, in the context of the game, awful. Once again behind and on the back foot.

The first change saw Kermorgant come on, for Harriott. Can’t help feeling that we should have sacrificed one of the three central midfielders, but no matter. This did seem like an afternoon set up for Yann, if he was fit, but this proved not to be the case as he was quite frankly off the pace and failed to have the impact we hoped for. As the clock ticked down Stewart and Wilson gave way for Sordell and Pritchard. This also seemed strange as we’d lost both wide players, while now having three up front, but we were getting desperate.

There was the time left for the ref to possibly get a decision right, giving a free kick to them on the edge of the box. We left a number up front and it was one of those ‘well, if he scores so be it’. Their guy who scores took it and did. Game over.

It was a game we shouldn’t have lost. Most of the blame can quite rightly be attributed to the dire referee, allied to Leeds’ tactics, but the real sin on our part was that third goal conceded having for the second time levelled. Tough one to take, but to be positive there was nothing wrong with the attitude and effort. We’re fine, just not our day.

Player Ratings:

Hamer:  4/10. Sorry, but he was culpable for that third goal of theirs, possibly also the first. He seemed to realise that he’d not made the right decision when afterwards coming for one without conviction. He’s played his part in our recent record of not conceding and just has to take this one on the chin and rebound.

Wilson:  7/10. No complaints, no bad mistakes and played his part going forward.

Wiggins:  8/10. Same again, he had a good game. Worked well with Stewart going forward, put in some excellent balls, and didn’t seem at fault with their goals.

Morrison:  5/10. Generally fine, but there’s something wrong – or was today – in the communication with Hamer. They have to sort it out.

Dervitte;  5/10. Same as with Morrison. Their first and third goals were the result of us not dealing with ordinary balls into the box. I don’t know who’s to blame.

Stewart:  8/10. The guy was dangerous, in conditions that made it difficult to run with the ball and judge a pass, and he scored a stunner.

Cousins:  6/10. Not an easy game for him as the ball didn’t run true on the surface and his role seemed to be to sit in front of the back four.

Stephens:  6/10. Not easy for him either; we spent most of the game behind and them squeezing the space in front of him.

Jackson:  7/10. Would have been the same mark but the guy scores goals and his leveller should have been the platform for us to go on and win.

Harriott:  5/10. Well, he should have shot on target early in the game and it was his challenge for their poor penalty. 

Church:  6/10. Was unlucky with the obnoxious Kenny’s save, but also didn’t manage to squeeze one in from a tight angle.

Subs:  Kermorgant (5/10 – no idea about his fitness, but his introduction failed to have the desired effect); Sordell & Pritchard (not on long enough for a mark).