It feels really churlish to be annoyed by a defeat like that when there’s only been two of them in the last 20 games, but annoyed is certainly the overriding feeling after that.
Another story of missed chances and what could’ve been’s after a fruitless trip to East Lincolnshire. The really frustrating thing is despite being out-shot almost 2-to-1, including efforts on target, we still had more than enough chances to win it! We yet again contrived to miss what looked like sitters to me from Dapo Afolayan, George Thomason and the off-colour Eoin Doyle, all in a manic first-half.
In my opinion the overwhelming candidate for our man of the match was someone who I seem to have repeatedly given the award to in the second half of this campaign.
That it is, in Thomason, a 20-year-old who was the only player that I thought had the gumption and wherewithal to battle and create with equal measure, really says something amidst a pretty terrible display from a number of regular performers. This included Declan John, for whom literally nothing came off, the usually reliable centre-halves Ricardo Santos and Alex Baptiste; bullied by the Mariners physical pairing of James Hanson and Lennell John-Lewis all afternoon and Doyle, who not only missed some excellent chances again but looked tired and weak throughout.
Dapo does so well to beat his man repeatedly but often runs down blind alleys. We could do better backing him up and offering him an option at times but a series of heavy touches illustrated this exasperating display from the West Ham loanee. His decision making, especially with his final ball, means that despite his obvious quality and work rate he has yet to score a goal for us in seventeen games. That is simply not good enough for someone who plays in a three behind the striker.
Some would say the MOTM could’ve been Matt Gilks but if we’re really honest that quadruple save looks and sounds better than it actually was. The one with his left foot stood out but while he made himself big, the rest of the efforts were straight at him. His shocking distribution at times means there was no way he was getting the award from me!
So there we go, George’s creative and pinpoint passing, decision making and determination gives him my award on a disappointing day. He really has stepped up his level and is one of the first names on the teamsheet now in my opinion. If only he’d scored his gilt-edged chance when firing straight at James McKeown, I imagine I’d be writing this with far more enthusiasm!
Onto Carlisle at the UniBol and another huge night that will shape the future of this famous and frustrating old club!!