Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Luton Away : Defeat, "Proud" and the "Oxford Feeling"

Hello all

Normally I would go through my entire day of a match and try and entertain you with little oddities, however, I am not in the mood to do that tonight. I currently feel sick to my stomach and it's not just because we lost, I'm getting used to that over recent years, but we are on the verge of relegation again.

I think I can safely speak for all Lincoln City fans when I say that I do not want to be a fan of a Blue Square North team. I mean no disrespect to any of the teams at that level, afterall, it is the highest that some of the teams at that level have ever played....yes, I'm looking at you Halifax (and before someone says it, the current incarnation has never played above their current level). I have no doubt that the vast majority of the teams at that level love their "Proud Members of the Blue Square North" sign that is forced upon them, but I find it insulting that our football club is forced to have a "Proud Members of the Blue Square Premier" sign at Sincil Bank, because I can guarantee you that virtually no-one associated with our football club is proud to be in this division.

Sorry, rant over.

So yeah, the Imps went to Luton Town, a team who only have Telford below them in the form table for the last few months, a team who's manager was barely turning up, choosing instead to scout at other games. The Imps on the other hand named a line up that was pretty much forced due to a large injury list, meaning that Tom Miller, who is my player of the season, was at left back....despite being heavily right footed. That is what happens when you only have two left backs at the club, send one out on loan and the other gets hospitalised.

Tom Miller - Brilliant all season but had a nightmare
against Luton.
Miller has been brilliant this season but he had an absolute nightmare against Luton. Virtually every clearance he attempted went out of play or straight to a Luton player, and he got let off early on in the game as his slip saw Luton score....but fortunately it was ruled out for offside.

Luton quickly realised this weakness in the Imps defence and virtually every single attack came from that side of the pitch. As I say, I like Tom and for me he has been the best player all season, but a left back he is not.

The hosts did eventually take the lead from a well struck shot through a crowd, some blamed Farman at the time but he had absolutely no chance of being able to react as he didn't see the ball until it was almost in. It was 2-0 minutes later as Farman was rounded and it became 3 midway through the second half as the defence was nowhere to be found again. It was at this point that I left to go and get some chips before the trip home.

During the entire match, and for the third match in a row, the Imps barely threatened. During the whole match I counted four shots from City, two came from long range in the first two minutes, another came when Taylor shot straight from the kick off after Luton had made it 2-0, and the final was a tame Sheridan side-footed effort into Brill's hands.

I had been sat on the coach (with chips in hand) for about 10 minutes before people started rolling back in from the ground and normally after matches there is discussion, either negative or positive, there's always something.....except now. It was just flat, 40odd people on a coach and not one of them is saying anything, not a single one of them. I have only ever experienced that once in 10 years of attending all away games (only missed two away games in that time) and that was after the game at Oxford towards the end of the 2010/11 season.

David Somma - Single handedly saved the club in 2009/10
Despite having it in our hands at that time, everyone was resigned to us going down and seven days later we
were a Blue Square Premier team. 23 months later and we're back in the same situation yet again. 3 seasons ago we had Davide Somma near enough single handedly save us from the drop, 2 seasons ago we came down, last season it was only a late run that stopped us from going down, but now you can't see where the results are going to come from.

It's the first time in a long time where I look at the squad and don't have faith in a single player to score goal on a regular basis.

Everyone will look at that and go "Hold on a minute, what about Jamie Taylor?"...to which my response is "What about Jamie Taylor?" I like Jamie but he has only scored in two games this calendar year he hasn't scored since the Telford game, despite playing up front in each game. People were saying that he wasn't scoring because he wasn't playing up front....he got put up fromt and hasn't been scoring. Whilst he did score those goals against Telford, if someone can point out what he's done since then that would be swell.

Vadaine has never been a goalscorer, at least not from open play, and Craig Hobson could quite possibly be the worst player I have ever had the misfortune to see in a Lincoln shirt. I've seen some right crap in the Lincoln shirt, but whilst some didn't have the passion, but were good, or vice versa, or at least gave a shit.... but Hobson falls into that special category of having not a single one of those apply to him, not a single one. I don't think I have ever seen a player who is as ineffective as Hobson. I couldn't name one thing that he does well, not one damn thing.
Turnball - Hoping no-one is noticing him....it works
most matches.

Hobson certainly isn't the only ineffectual player that Simpson seems to insist on recently as Paul Turnbull seems to be extremely lucky to get games given that you don't really notice him during matches. He's been with the club for a few months now and in that time I've barely seen him in matches, infact it took about 20 minutes for me to even see him touch the ball tonight. When he actually manages to get his passing right, he tends to be fairly reliable but rarely actually contributes positively.

It is frustrating that regardless of form, Simpson seems very reluctant to drop players who simply aren't good enough. However, the thing that worries me most is that Gary Simpson doesn't seem to have a Plan B. His Plan A away from home seems to be simply to aim for a draw and anything else is a bonus, as soon as we concede it is effectively game over. Granted, it's not as if he is the first manager that sentence applies to, but yet again we find ourselves in a situation where our manager's tactics see us in a "go behind, stay behind" trend. I'm not saying I want Simpson gone, but I don't feel confident that he can keep us up and I do feel that if we do stay up then Bob and the board will have to think about the manager next season very carefully.

To end this blog entry, I am going to share with you a few grounds that we could easily be playing at next season.

North Ferriby United

Bradford Park Avenue

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