The MK Debacle
If you were there you’ll know how bad a performance this was and if you weren’t there then think yourself lucky. We met opponents of a different class to ourselves and were murdered from the moment the first goal hit the Gilbert end net. MKD were quicker to the ball, actually seemed to have a game plan and basically walked all over us.
Roy Whalley has been quoted in the last week as saying that unofficial ‘sites like Walsall Mad do not represent the majority of fans. Speaking for myself I believe that he couldn’t be more wrong. There IS dissent and apathy among the fans but, of course, this is down to the credit crunch and not the dross we’re having to watch week after week.
Not one of our out-field players from this game can be pleased with how they played and the same applied after the Luton – the absolute nadir of awfulness – and Scunthorpe games. Big Clayton has said in the last week or so that we oughtn’t to read too much into the players’ body language. So we are NOT to conclude that they don’t know how to change things when we’re playing badly or that once we go behind that’s probably going to be it or that there is much of the time when some don’t look interested. The majority aren’t thinking these things according to the Chief Executive. You and I know differently.
The Dons were better than us in every area of the pitch and the final 0 – 3 score-line wasn’t even a bit flattering. Their style of play was reminiscent of us during the Buckley era, when we always carried a decent goal-scoring threat and played a fast-paced, entertaining, passing game. Oh, to see that again!
Yesterday the players, not for the first time lately, played like they’d never met before and more defeats are inevitable if we can’t improve. Most fans can accept a defeat if their team has given a reasonable showing and made the opposition work for their victory. This was not the case in this game.
How good are MKD? It’s difficult to tell from this game as most sides are looking half decent against us and anyone with a scout at this game, with an eye to an up-coming fixture, will have seen plenty to suggest that we’re eminently beatable. We went into this game in the knowledge that a win coupled with another when we use up our game-in-hand against Swindon next Saturday could have given us a decent foot-hold somewhere around the play-off places. An incentive for the players you would think. Not from where I sat.
One of the accepted truisms of the game is that you’ve half a chance if the ‘spine’ of your team is a strong one.
Draw a line from your goalkeeper to your main forward and if there’s strength there then you ought, really, to be fine. Look at our ‘spine’; Ince – Gerrard – Hughes – Ricketts. It looks great, for me at least, when written down. So why isn’t it working? What will happen if we lose one, maybe two, parts of that in January?
Yesterday we were taken apart by a team playing open, attractive football that moved them into an automatic promotion place after their victory. We have the players to match that kind of performance instead of hoofing the ball up to Michael Ricketts at every opportunity. Much of the football we played under Dicky wasn’t entertaining but was at least effective. These days we’re not being entertained and we’re losing regularly to boot. The signs are not good.
For me this season so far is very much like the last of the Paul Merson tenure. A decent start, remember we were top of the league after three games in 05/6, the ability to hang around the top half of the table until Christmas while not laying well and then a truly alarming plummet to the bottom of the table in the new year when our best players were sold/went home. I don’t mean to be alarmist but this is how things look to me and I surely can’t be the only one.