It was a miserable day at the office, both in terms of the weather conditions and the result at Bloomfield Road. Neil Critchley will have learnt plenty about his side and where this new group of players are at, and with the transfer window still open, may be prompted to make one or two more wise additions. But there were some positives and we’re certainly better off both on and off the field than where we were 12 months ago, even if we are seven points behind where we were four games into last year.
- CJ Hamilton – what else can we say about this lad? Okay, he doesn’t take every chance he gets. But if he did, he’d score a hat-trick every week. He’ll be disappointed with the chance he had when he raced clear of Lincoln’s backline and his left-footed effort beat the keeper but sailed just wide of the post. Took his goal well and is now on three for the season, up to five if you include the pre-season games against Everton and Liverpool. The man will score double figures at least this season and will gain interest from higher up the football pyramid.
- The first half – we managed to keep Lincoln at bay in the first half, except the penalty conceded by Demetri Mitchell, and will have been disappointed going into the break level. The balance of the side looked good, James Husband was shoring the defence up and we limited Lincoln to pot shots from range. Lincoln looked good on the counter, and we were looking capable of keeping them out.
- Jerry Yates – okay, he needs a goal and we all know it. We just need one to come off his backside and end up in the goal and he’ll surely go on a run of goalscoring. He had a really good chance at the edge of the box on Saturday which beat the keeper and came back off the post – if that goes in, everything looks rosy. He also had the confidence to try a lovely piece of skill to beat his man in the second half, cutting onto his left and curling an effort just wide. It would’ve been a quality strike. Calls for him to be replaced and for us to seek a plan b are premature, and I back him to score sooner than later.
- Chris Maxwell – organises what’s in front of him well, is a commanding figure at the back and came up with a few key saves when called upon. Also had the confidence and leadership to come out and do an interview on the final whistle to explain what had gone wrong and how the side were feeling in the dressing room. Part of the solution, rather than the problem.
- Entertainment – Five goals, end-to-end football and plenty of chances. What are we moaning about? Okay, I’m scraping the barrel at this point.
- Individual errors – Mitchell conceded a soft penalty in the first half when he could just have forced the attacker out of a dangerous area. Then at 2-1, all we had to do was see the game out. Husband was Tilt-esque as he over-controlled the ball and gave it straight to their attacker, tried to bring him down outside the penalty area and committed a further error by bringing the attacker down – resulting in a penalty and red card, and leaving us right up against it. Then we just capitulated, with everyone looking nervous and Marvin Ekpiteta found himself in two minds, ultimately touching the ball when shepherding the ball out for a goal-kick. We know the rest.
- The substitutions – Yates for Oliver Sarkic had us scratching our heads. Sarkic is clearly lacking confidence and fitness and had a guild-edged chance to win it at 2-2, instead opting to turn back and try to find a teammate. Then Keshi Anderson came off for MJ Williams as Critchley seemingly looked to protect what we had. That didn’t work out either. There’s clearly an issue on the left-hand side with Sullay Kaikai out injured, and we had three left-backs on the field at one point when Luke Garbutt came on, Mitchell was shifted to LW and Husband at CB. The balance when we make changes isn’t quite right at the moment, even though our starting XI is pretty much there.
- Ian Chisnall – I don’t remember him being so annoying back in the day on Radio Lancashire. I don’t know if it was the constant sarcasm and negativity, or the fact that he constantly went to Derek Quinn to find out the latest goings on at Morecambe as part of the Radio Lancs coverage, then repeated himself when they came back.
- The league table – we’ve only won one and lost three of our opening four games. Critchley has won one of his nine games in charge and the pressure is mounting. The players were clearly feeling the pressure after the second equaliser and it’s important in our style of play that we are confident enough to try things, as well as control possession and play out from the back. At least we’re above Fleetwood.
- The capitulation – all defeats hurt, but to have been 2-1 up with eight minutes to go, only to throw it away in such a fashion is even more painful. Husband needed to do anything but what he did for the equaliser, ending up with a red card and penalty, and then Marvin Ekpiteta was equally foolish for the third goal. The whole side looks bereft of confidence and we need to dig deep and learn quickly if we are to finish at the right end of the table this year.
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