Just a week ago we were on the crest of a magnificent Garibaldi coloured wave. A wave that had washed over Birmingham and Coventry. A wave that has now needed. Even on Saturday things seemed somewhat rosier.
Then came Tuesday.
After a somewhat fortunate at times draw v Barnsley, as they did lay siege to our goal in the second half which lead a charmed life for so long, we felt confident. That was a game we would have capitulated in 1-2monhts ago.
And then for such a miserable timid performance like what we played for Doncaster is not just frustrating but damned criminal. One wonders if we went out there with our minds made up we would win. Or whether the tinkering of Cotterill affected us.
Some tinkering was enforced. How two injuries come about in a warm up somewhat worries and shocks me. Tudgay pulling up pre match brought in Findley, and we will return in detail later about Findley and the post match comments from Cotterill, but Findley was not Tudgays equal in quality.
Reid had been surprisingly "rested" which saw Gunter move to right wing and Wooton to centre half to allow for Chambers return. Again players in positions that aren't natural when there is natural alternative. It frustrates me no end. Gunter is a marauding full back true, but he is that, a full back. Spurs may have had success with Bale moving up the flank, but Gunter is not Bale.
Donny may be struggling but they had dangerous players, Diouf well know, and Piquionne has topflight experience, as does Chimbonda, and Giles Barnes was very highly rated as a youngster, so they aren’t push over’s. They also are players who when the goings bad you don't want on your team, problem is the going was good for Donny. And Diouf is not a man to give time and space.
And that something our defence and midfield seem to enjoy giving the opposition. Space and time. Space and time for Piquionne to get into, pick a spot, shoot, and the ball move about a bit away from that spot and bamboozle Camp, who seemed to pull some 1950s dance move with hands waving about as he flapped at a ball that had moved course from where he was. It can hardly be a surprise, the modern ball does this, and Camp should have done better, but additionally, the space and time should not have been afforded for this chance to even have existed.
And that was right on halftime. Was the team already on half time mode, seeing out time for the end of the half? Who knows? One thing for certain their heads must have still been in the dressing room as we started the second half as Doncaster then scored a second. Diouf allowed turning and crossing and the ball allowed to bounce twice without a defender dealing with it before being put away. Absolutely criminal defending. And Luke Chambers wondered why we booed before? Well Luke if you decide to put in half hearted pathetic attempts to clear balls and don’t do your job, people will get upset.
We pulled one back but it was more than we deserved. We barely ever looked like causing danger. Robbie Findley with an immensely frustrating night of miss control and poor passing. Moussi had one of his schizophrenic performances where he does something good followed by something so abject that even school children would be embarrassed.
Donny of course could have more. Should have had more. The long range effort that was tipped on to the post. Scary that we were so bad.
Dexter’s goal, well it was scrappy. It was a false dawn too. It gave us that hope, but even the changes failed to improve us. McGugan came on and did nothing. As usual. The lack of attacking options on the bench restricted us massively and it showed having to leave an ineffectual striker in Findley on.
And back to Findley, Cotterill's strange almost Megsonesque comments at the end about alluding to dressing room issues but not mentioning specifically what, was odd. If you’re going to say there were dressing room issues mention them or don; mention them at all. Don't allude to it to have fans gossiping, and then just try and cover it up and leave it. If you’re going to mention it, then don't leave it hanging in the air Steve, that’s what creates issues and disarray.
All in all very very frustrating. The tactics were wrong; we just tried humping it up, which limited us. Findley can’t control them. We should have started with Reid. It doesn't help to see McGugan sulking that he didn’t get to take a free kick. There are team orders Lewis, obey. Although not back in the relegation zone, it brings those doubts back, whereas we should be putting daylight between us and the drop zone.