Another excellent article from Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips.
Hello and welcome to the latest something for the weekend. What can you say about last Saturdays game against Barnet? For me it was infuriating and of course entirely predictable. If you look back at what I wrote last week, I pretty much called what would happen, and that is how predictable the Barnet game was. We gifted them an early goal and we had to chase the game. I thought we got in a fair few crosses, but no one was where to attack them and we never really created many clear opportunities all game. There were a few near the end and Elliot Richards had a superb strike superbly saved by the Barnet ‘Keeper. Ultimately we conceded a late second to finish us off in our chase to get something from the game. One thing that particularly bugged me was that we didn`t really change anything to make much happen, other then the like for like substitutions. After an hour or so Barnet sat back to defend their lead and left a big lump up front and yet we left the four at the back. For me the opportunity was there at one point to push Lee Brown further forward leaving just three at the back, four in midfield and three forwards, yet we plodded on doing the same things. The Barnet number 10 was brilliant and was always an outlet in midfield for Barnet and perhaps if we had pushed up with the formation change he may have been forced back into more defensive work.
After the defeat, well I have not heard a reaction like that calling for the manager to go for a long time if at all. The frustration levels are really high amongst the fans and it is really starting to show. I`ve said before I honestly don`t believe this is all down to Paul Buckle. We have had a poor record now for a long time, relegation with a whimper and years of frustration are coming out in my opinion. What doesn`t help is the way Paul Buckle interacts with the press and how he comes a cross to the supporters. If he connected more and wasn`t quick to make excuses or dodge questions, he would buy himself more leeway in my view. I don`t know whether the pressure is on or getting to Paul Buckle, but he continues to say stuff that annoys the fans and people are getting fed up of him. For a confident man, who comes across as sure in his ability has often come across as a man who doesn`t know what to do either.
This week has seen the loan window close and no new defender arrive, so we will have to make do with what we have until January at least. That certainly isn`t going to fill anyone with confidence in the up coming weeks with our defensive record. Clean sheets are vital and will perhaps ease the pressure on the forwards who currently have to stick every chance away for us to get something from the game. What is worrying is we have had a settled back 4 and keeper for quite a few weeks now, as well as the majority of the team but keeping conceding goals. It does make you wonder how the coaching is on the training field, when we are conceding such sloppy goals.
This week sees us taking on top of the table Southend away and I doubt anyone expects us to get anything from this game. That said you know the way and we are just as likely to snatch (or better) something from the game. Once again I am sure we are capable of scoring but the danger is at the back against Southend who have scored quite a few goals this season and only lost the once at home. Hopefully we can make this two as wins are vitally important right now for the team and indeed Mr Buckle. A large number of fans have made their opinions known clearly on the terraces and Radio Bristol callers were also scathing and the only way to turn that round is to win and prove the doubters wrong
We are very much between the rock and a hard place with Paul Buckles position and unless things really plummet then I do feel we have to stick with him for the season as I don`t see how we can afford to pay another manager and staff off. Of course the way things have gone we could get to the point where we cant afford not to sack him if the crowds drop and continue to make their displeasure know. I certainly don`t envy Nick Higgs and the board. It has been said they headhunted Paul Buckle from Torquay and they must be seen to back the man they hand picked, but then if the calls for Paul Buckle to go continue then they are in a difficult position.
I hope you all have a good weekend and there will be three points for us all to celebrate. Hopefully I will have gotten most of my Christmas shopping done. Not a task I particularly enjoy although it usually results in me buying something nice for myself so not a total hassle
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips