Saturday, January 19, 2013

More than half the season down.....

Hello all

I trust everything is well with everyone. Firstly, I must take a moment to explain why there have been no videos on the Youtube channel recently......

So yeah, two months without me really being that active on either Youtube on here and I figure I should really review how things have gone since then for the Imps.

Well we start two days after the last article as the Imps host Woking. City could have played all night and not scored, the performance was that poor. The 2-0 defeat to Woking was the first league defeat in two months, but City were still in a strong position. The following Saturday saw City make the trip to Kent to face Dartford. Despite his promises that Holdsworth wouldn't be looking towards the cup game a few nights later, there was a heavy hint of a reserve side look to our starting XI against Dartford as only three of the starting eleven from the game against Woking kept their place in the starting line up. 

The performance couldn't have been the polar opposite of the Woking game as the Imps dominated most of the game, so much to the point where we were 4-0 up at half time. Colin Larkin shows his striking instinct for the first time since joining the Imps as he scores a hatrick in front of City fans......he hasn't scored in the subsequent seven games that he has played for the club.

Dartford do pull two back in the second half but a 4-2 win still leads to plenty of optimism heading into the game at Mansfield. City fans are very optimistic for numerous reasons, not least because Mansfield had struggled in all of their previous opponents in cup competitions, including being taken to penalties by lowly Slough in the FA Cup 1st Round and going out to Matlock in the FA Trophy. However, the Imps do their usual thing of failing to perform when a lot of our own fans turn up.

Since that game everything has gone very poorly for the Imps. That win at Dartford was the last time the Imps won a game, and that was six weeks ago....and it wasn't even our first team, it was what is effectively a reserve side, and whilst our ten game unbeaten run left fans optimistic, a seven game winless run in all compeitions has had the completely opposite affect.

The last six league games have seen us draw three and lose three, conceding four on three of those occasions, and one of those draws took a last minute equaliser at Ebbsfleet, a team who have since gone bottom of the league. 

David Preece
It is a worrying period for the Imps as we start nervously looking over our shoulders again, and even more worrying is the insistence that Holdsworth has with playing players that are seriously out of form. One such example is Paul Farman, who ever since that Mansfield game has made a mistake that has lead to a goal every single game that he has played, and yet Holdsworth keeps with him rather than playing David Preece, a goalkeeper who has yet to taste defeat when playing for the first team. 

I personally think that one of the main reasons we are in this division in the first place was because of a manager fucking about by keeping an out of form goalkeeper in the side (Tilson's insistence on playing Elliott Parish, who couldn't catch a cold if he tried and was conceding heavy numbers on a very regular basis), and whilst I don't want to be in the Blue Square Premier, I sure as fuck don't want to be in the Blue Square North, and constantly playing Farman at the moment is effectively giving the opposition a head-start. It's nothing personal against Farman, but when a goalkeeper makes mistake after mistake then you need to take action.

That's not to say that Farman is to entirely blame as the defence is showing major weaknesses in recent weeks. I have never rated Paul Robson and I was absolutely gobsmacked when people said he played well in the game at Grimsby given that virtually every single pass went to the opposition, and Andrew Boyce, previously thought to be one of our best defenders by the majority, has be shown to not be very effective against Drewe Broughton style strikers (i/e strikers who like to put themselves about) or Jamie Taylor type strikers (small and fast), over the last few weeks he has faced teams with both and has struggled every single time.

Jamie Taylor has also gone seriously off of the boil recently, and with the other strikers only scoring every now and then. Vadaine Oliver may have scored in the last two games (neither goal mattered in terms of the result) but before that he had only scored in two of the previous 16 games. It's hard to really comment on Conner Robinson properly due to most of his appearances coming from the bench, and I've never been convinced by Larkin's ability to score on a regular basis, and if you ignore the aforementioned hatrick against Dartford, he has yet to score a goal from open play that wasn't heavily deflected.

Adam Boyd
Made one appearance for the club
I am still surprised we got rid of Adam Boyd after just one appearance. I'm assuming there was a reason he wasn't playing, but even then for him not to be getting a chance even when other strikers weren't hitting barn doors, made it seem even more ridiculous to not play someone who was a goalscorer many divisions above. I'm assuming that there was a reason for him not playing, but to not give him even a chance when others were failing miserably seemed a ridiculous.

If anything the one thing that iritates me about Holdsworth is that he says money is tight and yet brings in a lot of players who he rarely plays. Geoffrey Gouveia has been at the club since the summer and has yet to play a single minute for the first team, and since Holdsworth's arrival, the list of players who have played less than six or less games is as follows (some still at the club)......Louis Almond, Jason Beardsley, Frazer Cobb, Nick Draper, Matthew Pearson, Luke Meadley, Nialle Rodney, Curtis Thompson, Reece Thompson, Brad Barraclough, Aristide Bassele, Adam Boyd, Chris Bush, Luke Daley, Rob Duffy, David Preece and Jake Thompson.......and I could have listed a lot more if I was doing a list of people who were under 10 appearances. To have that amount of players at the club over the last 15 months to have not played more than six games, and to then complain about money, is a bit strange.

Some of our problems would easily be solved by some of our injured players coming back. I personally think our best player at the moment is Mo Fofana, who has been one of the best finds of the season. He bosses the midfield and I find it no coincidence that we rarely lose when he plays. Conal Platt has also come back in recent weeks, and players such as Peter Gilbert and most of our midfield still have to come back, and whilst I criticise Holdsworth for playing too many players on too few occasions, he does bring some good players into this squad.

Peter Gilbert
I think the aforementioned Gilbert is far superior to Nutter, our previous left back, and there are plenty who have played at a much higher level that the Blue Square Premier during their lives, and in a similar list to before, Adam Boyd, Peter Bore, Luke Daley, David Preece, Dan Gray, Colin Larkin, Richard Hinds and Mark McCammon have all spent large chunks of their careers playing in the Football League or a similar equivalent (Scottish Leagues) during their career. In terms of bringing in good players, Holdsworth isn't actually that bad, the only problem being that they have a very mixed record, or leave whenever they get an offer from a higher league club (Hinds for example).

Do I think we'll go down? No. I've said since Day 1 of this season that I would be happy with anything higher than last season and we are currently on target to achieve that, especially as, after January our fixtures do get considerably easier, and as the injuries start easin up we should start picking up a lot more points than we currently are doing (not hard). Infact, after January ends we have six fixtures (assuming none are rescheduled games) that are against sides who we were unbeaten against earlier in the season, gaining a total of 14 points in the process.

Our easier (on paper) fixture list after January. Results against the same opposition in the games earlier in the season go (in order as they appear there) - 3-0, 4-2, 3-3, 3-2, 2-1 and 0-0.

I'm not pressing the panic button just's just a pity that some act like a bull in a china shop when it comes to over-reacting to some things. It amuses and frustrates me at the same time because you just know that you go on the internet after a defeat and the world has ended, we win and all of a sudden everyone is happier than a squirrel who has just come across a warehouse full of nuts.

Do I think we're good enough for a promotion push? Fuck no. Do I think we'll go down? Again no. I'll stick my neck out and say 13th, which is an improvement on last season, whether people want to acknowledge it or not.

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