Five Good, Five Bad – Accrington (h)

These are the games aren’t they. A point tonight would’ve been fine if we’d managed to hold onto all three on Saturday, but ultimately it’s a frustrating one at home again, against a midtable Accrington Stanley. It could’ve been a defeat had it not been for Maxwell’s save of a late penalty for the visitors, but the unbeaten run goes on.

It was a game in hand for us against many of the Play-Off chasing pack, while Portsmouth only drew with Crewe. Lincoln won and went above us in the table, while Oxford showed they’re not out of the race with a win over Shrewsbury.

Five good

  1. Our defensive shape

Daniel Gretarsson and Dan Ballard make a really strong partnership in the middle, while Luke Garbutt and Jordan Gabriel performed admirably on each side of defence. Not only did the defence do their job defensively, but also helped to recycled possession to help us build from the back.

2. Critchley’s passion

While it was probably born of frustration, it was good to see some passion from Neil Critchley on the sideline throughout this one. Accrington defended well and the referee didn’t help us, which led to Critch bouncing up and down on the touchline – lovely to see how much he cares as we reach the business end of the season, where our season will be defined.

3. Jordan Gabriel

I’ve mentioned the defence already but feel that Gabriel needs a special mention. He offers so much going forwards, but is also so sound defensively too. A real asset for us in all three thirds of the pitch, he barely puts a foot wrong and isn’t afraid to have a run at opposing players as he uses his pace and trickery. Sign him up.

4. Grant Ward

The man gets better with every game. He makes us tick and has really stepped up since the injuries to Virtue and Stewart. He’s simply undroppable at the moment and gets the best out of Kenny Dougall. You can tell he’s full of confidence right now and he’s probably the fittest he’s been in recent years as he’s struggled through injury prior to joining us last January.

5. Penalty save

What a save, Chris Maxwell! The penalty was straight down the middle, but Maxwell’s strong hand managed to stop the ball and flick it into his grasp, to prevent us losing at home for the first time since October. The unbeaten run goes on and it’s now 15 games. If he was at fault for one or both of Lincoln’s two goals on Saturday, he definitely gained us a point tonight with that save.

Five bad

  1. The referee

He didn’t make any particularly poor decisions, but seemed to be a stickler for ensuring the ball was played from exactly where the foul was made for each free-kick. That contributed to Accrington’s tactic of stopping us from playing quickly and ensuring a stop-start affair. I wouldn’t say it was a penalty either, and he couldn’t wait to give it.

2. Sullay’s miss

Arguably our best move of the match, Elliot Embleton passed forwards to Ellis Simms who poked forwards to Jerry Yates, who rolled it across for Sullay Kaikai with two thirds of a goal to aim at. His first effort was well saved by Accrington’s keeper, but Sullay should surely have finished the rebound with his left foot and unfortunately fired over at the start of the second half.

3. The pitch

Okay, for our standards in recent years, let me be clear that the surface is really holding up quite well to say we’re in April. But, compared with previous weeks, the pitch was bobbly and meant that players often needed to take an extra touch to take control.

4. Service for Yates

Too often our moves broke down before we could thread the ball through to our main man. He struggled for service tonight which meant that we didn’t really threaten Accy’s goal too often.

5. Options from the bench

No subs were made to change things up, purely down to the lack of options we have in the forward positions. Ward looked tired in the final half hour and Embleton drifted out of the game. If we’d had one of Keshi, CJ or Gary goals to come off the bench we might’ve had a better chance of breaking the deadlock. As it was, it was 90 minutes for every player on the pitch which is a clear sign that our squad is stretched to the max.

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Published by Tom Johnson

Seaside exile living in Leeds. Been watching the Pool home and away since 2001

10 thoughts on “Five Good, Five Bad – Accrington (h)

  1. where do you begin? No doubt many fans like me have been caught up in the euphoria of possible promotion and jumping on the band wagon after a couple of decent performances. What did we learn from last nights game? We are simply not good enough if last nights display is anything to go by. Stanley are a mediocre team and if we can not beat teams like that what chance would we have if by some chance we were promoted?Relegation would be a certainty.. We seamed to be playing head tennis followed by a hoof foreward. When we did try to pass the ball it was back to the old system of two forward two sideways three backwards then back to Maxwell whoes distrabution was awful..Our one bit of quality ended up with Sulley missing a chance that was easier to to score than miss but then he should not even have been on the pitch. He should have been subbed at half time if not sooner he appeared to be strolling round in a pair of slippers and smoking jacket..If we don not get promoted this time Critchley will be gone by the end of Oct/Nov if we are not top of the pile by then. Fans arent going to rush back to watch performances like last nights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. Too many have been duped by the hype surrounding the ‘Critchley Project’ when in fact we are often grim to watch in what is a very poor division. I am happy to be proven wrong, but my long held view that we aren’t good enough for the play offs has not changed. Is Madine really injured; what is the truth about Lubala?


      1. My view is his heart isnt in the team and he hasnt scored enough goals or produced many outstanding performances to justify what is touted mega wages.I think Madine and Lubala have both fallen out of favour with Critchley and will be shown the door come the end of the season along with our loanees and probably another 5/6 others if not more..If Saddler wants the fans to return we need to produce a better standard than that shown this season May I suggest either a manager from just up the M62 or player from scotland might be the answer.


  2. Despite conceding 12 goals in 2 recent games, Coleman tactically outfoxed Critchley. Our hit and hope, oops sorry geigenpress style at times produces the most boring football I have seen at Bloomfield Road since the Worthington era. Oxford and Lincoln are likely to overtake us as both have goals in the side. Thinking Simms was a replacement for GM when in reality he was brought in as back up to the main man and Yates has shown up our chronic lack of options up top; why didn’t we didn’t get in an out of contract striker a couple if months ago? I doubt we will see Madine in tangerine again, for the reasons given or otherwise.


    1. I don’t agree with what you say about our style of play – the best it’s been since Holloway left so you could only argue Holloway, McMahon and possibly Grayson first time round (debatable) are better than this since Worthington.

      Agree we won’t see Madine again so we need to work with what we’ve got from here


      1. I take your point but I don’t find our style to be consistently entertaining, nor has it at times used the attributes of the available squad to its fullest extent. Why put Holmes/Apter on the bench if we are never going to play them? Last night we needed a goal, but not even Mitchell was given a chance to have a run at tiring defenders.


        1. I’d argue that’s more down to lack of squad depth due to injuries rather than Critch being stubborn, boring or lacking creativity/ambition


  3. Mitchell has been a good outlet down the right. Should have come on in place of Simms to allow more space across the front. Kia Kia could have then switched with Embelton when possible, pulling their defence and allowing more attacking threat down the right. Didn’t happen. Frustrated he didn’t give it a go to try and win game.


    1. My only guess is that Critch didn’t feel Mitchell could be “risked” with whatever injury he struggled with at the weekend. He’ll need to be back for Sat with Embo out


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