We lost today, emphatically and farcically, at home to a side that in theory had nothing to play for and had won just three away prior away games. Just when it seemed we had put to bed the inconsistency that has dogged our season, today recalled some of this season’s more chastening results – Forest Green (both times), Newport (at home), and Accrington (at home) all rolled into one.
While it can be put down to just a freak result, there were some themes that emerged today that I feel are worth further comment than a tweet or a mention in a preview.
So, here goes.
15 Farcical Minutes
In a sense, there are no positives that really can be taken from today – although, I’ll try to later on – because we fell behind so quickly and so heavily. It behoved Robins and the players to go gung-ho, because what kind of team accepts a 3-0 scoreline after 15 minutes?
We had to react, but we shouldn’t have needed to react.
It isn’t ideal to fall behind so early, but you at least have the benefit of time to calm down before plotting your way back into the game. In particular, the defence clearly panicked during that spell for the other two goals with players making both silly errors and failing to keep positional discipline.
I appreciate that this is written with the benefit of hindsight, but we allowed a bad start to become a terminal one.
Haynes And Burge Are At Crucial Stages Of Their Careers
If you dropped a player every time they made a mistake, you would quickly run out of players to choose from. Someone isn’t instantly bad when they make a costly error, neither shouldn’t it be expected – particularly at League Two level – that a player is always good all of the time.
For young players, you have to be especially forgiving of their errors or bad performances that they make as it’s what ultimately helps them improve as players. However, there comes a time where young players stop being judged on the players they might eventually be and are judged on the players that they are.
Lee Burge is 25 years old and is closing on 100 league appearances for us, Ryan Haynes is younger at 22 but has now made his 75th league appearance for us. We aren’t talking about complete rookies here, they have been playing regular first-team football for some time now.
Lee Burge can be an excellent goalkeeper on his day – just look at the save he produced against Newport last Friday. Ryan Haynes can be absolutely devastating as an attacking force from left-back when he’s running at full steam. However, Burge continues to make costly errors and Haynes continues to struggle to convince as a defender.
For now, the lack of genuine alternatives means they’ll have a chance to put things right, but with each game their education comes to a close and their careers as professional footballers are increasingly made.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But If You Try Sometimes You’ll Get What You Need (Although You Can Also Get Punished For Taking Risks)
I’ve seen us lose this season by narrower margins than today and been much more angry than I am currently. After falling three behind, we saw a group of players desperate to pull off an unlikely comeback and a manager willing to take risks to facilitate the comeback.
Robins put on an extra striker and actually played the extra striker as an extra striker (rather than on the wing which he usually does), Kyel Reid was pushed to full-back, we got crosses and men into the box, and we tried to make the pitch big. This was the kind of risk-taking – along with attacking pressure – that we simply didn’t see earlier in the season.
Moreover, we saw a fiery determination from the players to force something from the game – probably too much so in the case of Jonson Clarke-Harris. The team could easily have spent the rest of the game trying to avoid making any more errors, but both the players and managers decided they’d rather lose emphatically trying to make a game of it, than accept what was a bad day at the office.
On another day, maybe we get ourselves a goal before half-time, maybe some of those chances we created during the second-half go in, maybe Yeovil are less clinical on the counter in the second-half. Who knows?
Let me put it this way, I’d rather see my time lose one game emphatically and win another from a losing position than draw two games by taking a risk-free approach.
We’re Still In A Good Position
We’ve just been hammered 6-2 a home to Yeovil, that’s hard to take. We’re still in the play-offs though and few of the teams around us are in particularly tremendous form. There are going to be good and bad days for all of the sides in the mix, the important thing is that we make sure Saturday’s game against Notts County is a good day.
Games like today feel like they should change everything, they don’t have to if you don’t let them.
So, the conclusion to this 900-word article is… let’s forget about it and move on.