An all-day on-line conference threatened to get in the way of watching Saturday’s game, but for once the switch to an early kick-off – to coincide with a lunch break (and a dipping out of the first afternoon session) – worked a treat. I thought we’d have won it on points but not convincingly; and more often than not when you’re one down away from home with 10 minutes to go you happily take the point. We didn’t fashion so many chances as to be confident of getting another, while Gillingham also had moments, with Amos pulling off another excellent save in the first half.
On the penalties, ours was pretty clear-cut, you can’t exactly go through Bogle to get to the ball without fouling him. Theirs was soft for sure, but when you see the reply it looks like Gunter was looking inside to see what the situation was and simply wasn’t aware of their guy’s position. Accidental contact but not a dive and on reflection I don’t think the ref had any real choice but to give it.
I hope Bogle wasn’t fuming at the end of the game. He gets the ball taken off him for the penalty (quite rightly, Washington is I assume the designated taker and scored well with his previous effort, wasn’t that bad a penalty either, have to give their keeper some credit), then after being replaced Smyth sets up Aneke for the equaliser, Chucks coming off the bench to score again. But if Bogle is wondering where his first goal for us comes from I hope he instead takes a good look in replay at at least a couple of moments when if he had been alert, on his toes in the box, he surely would have scored.
One in particular in the second half. Decent shot goes in from around the edge of the area, their keeper parried it, and the defender just gets to the rebound before Bogle. But when the shot is taken Bogle is standing and watching. If he takes the chance and once it’s fired moves in for any rebound he would have had a tap-in. I remember Shearer or it might have been Hansen many years ago highlighting Lisbie standing and watching, stressing that a top forward is making a run to be in the right place if it drops for him. Bogle may not be a goalmouth predator but just a little more thought and anticipation in those kind of situations and I’m sure it would help the goals to flow.
Ahead of the match I thought the main interest would be in how Bowyer would set up the defence, if Pearce, perhaps Oshilaja too, was considered ready for a return and maybe Barker was included again. We got by against Portsmouth with Innis’ one-game suspension and against Fleetwood when he was back but the excellent Famewo was ruled out. Then we get the news that Innis is out for a while, Pearce only made the bench, so it was back to makeshift (which is not to say that Pratley and Gunter together did not do a fine job), presumably with a similar approach necessary for tomorrow evening’s game.
Maddison undoubtedly gave us the best indication so far of what we might expect from him. He clearly brings tempo to our play going forward. Now it’s back to looking for good combinations in midfield, even if the rotation approach will continue. That may take a little time as there are plenty of options, especially now that Gilbey is available, but hopefully over the next couple of games we will be seeing stronger evidence of these guys developing understanding of each other’s play and strengths.
So on we go to Burton. Bottom of the league, one win in 13, and the leakiest defence in the division (they are averaging bang on two goals conceded a game). They are also seemingly recovering from a number of players and staff testing positive for Covid-19. We wish them all well on that front, but no presents tomorrow evening please.
Now to book the stream. After all, I’ve got to get into the hat for that Range Rover. Have to say, albeit belatedly, full marks to whoever came up with the wheeze; it may of course have been Thomas Sandgaard himself. Excellent initiative. I would have thought it fairer to offer this up as a prize to all those who actually purchased a stream for the Orient match, just on the grounds that I probably would have had a 50% chance of winning. Perhaps they thought that anyone daft enough to have done that would not be capable of driving the vehicle (in my case they would be correct). My only other thought on the matter is whether or not the club will be providing the winner of the prize with indemnity, otherwise perhaps he/she will get slapped with a writ from Southall (or some other crony).