This was a game where, given recent results, 3 points was a priority.
We went into it with injuries meaning that our wing backs were defensively minded rather than creative attacking players. That is not the manager's fault- and I do not think it inherently wrong to stick with the formation and improvise accordingly. However- we needed to recognise that 2 defensive wingbacks and 3 centre backs meant that a genuinely defensive midfielder would mean we had a very conservative lineup. Even with that recognition- the lineup was not obviously hopeless.
However, it was utterly apparent, within 30 minutes, that we were creating nothing. We dominated possession throughout but made no chances. It was congested, turgid and slow. It should have been obvious that a change was needed, and that there was no necessity for a defensive player in front of a back 3 and two defensive wing backs. There was no room in behind to break- and no creativity or ability to beat a man to break down a packed defence.
Despite that- no changes were made until very late on. When the changes were made- the first was a like for like- Keane for Norwood. Keane did okay- but there was nothing about the change that had any prospect of changing the game or addressing the obvious problem. The second substitution was baffling- Sears as a wing back? Offered nothing and was far too late to effect the game in any meaningful sense.
The system and players meant that our attacking options and spare men were the wide centre backs- and the defensive wing backs. Great as a surprise breaking option. Not ever likely to succeed in breaking down a packed defence. A 532 can work that way if the wing backs are an attacking threat. Given the players available- we needed to ensure an attacking threat came from elsewhere but persisted with a defensive midfielder, covering 3 centre backs and 2 defensive wing backs- leaving a frustrated Downes, and utterly ineffective Huws puffing around to little effect in front of the Wimbledon defence.
The failure to change things and recognise the very very obvious problems was unforgiveable and myopic by Lambert. Dozzell could have supplied some creativity from Skuse's position- and there was no necessity for defensive muscle in front of a back 3, with an opposition with no ambition to get beyond half way. Mizouni and Dobra could have been included to try to provide a spark in these types of games- not part of the squad.
No pace, no width, no creativity- and not a thing done to try to change that throughout 90 minutes. Utterly ridiculous.
Its useful sometimes to actually look at how things have gone over a period- not just in rough "x points in Y matches" form but having the facts laid in front of us.
Over the last 3 months in the league Beat Rochdale 1-0 Drew 2-2 with Blackpool Drew 0-0 with Wycombe Drew 1-1 with Coventry Lost 2-1 to Bristol R Lost 1-0 to Pompey Drew 0-0 with Gillingham Lost 5-3 to Lincoln Drew 1-1 with Wycombe Beat Accrington 4-1 Drew 0-0 with Oxford Beat Tranmere 2-1 Beat Lincoln 1-0 Lost 1-0 to Rotheram Lost 4-1 to Peterborough
4 wins in 3 months (14 games / one third of a season) 5 Defeats. 5 draws 17 goals in that time. Just over 1 a game.
We remain in a very good league position- as good as anyone could really demand. Our form and performances have been poor for a prolonged period. It would be much easier to stick with it, were I not utterly baffled by the refusal to try to settle a system and personal, and by some of the selections. Usually when it comes to selections, people have different opinions and one has to accept that one's views on a choice are not clear cut and definitive. But here...
Is there ANYONE on the board who thinks that Nsiala deserves to start over Wilson?
Or that dropping Downes in a game we clearly should (and need to) win is rational.
The time and effort they spent after the match to make sure everyone waiting got signatrues and pictures was excellent.
The match itself (Bristol City v Man City) was pleasant enough, but the reduced physicality and speed is very notable as against the semi-pro non league fayre I routinely watch. Movement and angles were impressive and the passing ethos very much apparent.
Jill Scott was impressive- probably the only one there physically quick and robust enough, with sharp movement and feet to really stand out. She would do okay in a men's game, at a reasonable level I suspect.
Daughter has photos and signatures from her heroines so all good.
Whilst it is reasonable to continue to criticise one leader on anti semitism issues, it seems right to note and discuss his opponent's extraordinary history of overtly discriminatory comments.
Boris is a man who referred, in print, to gay friends of peter mandelson as 'tank topped bumboys'. Who has made the assertion that women are inherently fickle. And who talks of muslim women in burkgas as looking like pillar boxes.
Most people are aware of that last one. But how about the other two?
At the back end of this week, I am trekking from the South West up to Pocklington in Yorkshire, for a lovely weekend of guitar related tomfoolery.
I have decided it is stupid to start a 4h 15m journey on Friday morning as the event starts at 1pm (and I need to check in first). I would therefore have to battle Bristol motorway rush hour traffic adding at least an hour and making for a very early start on a day which is supposed to be relaxed and fun.
So- I thought I'd stop in Brum and visit a couple of places- stay overnight for a Balti and then travel up int he morning. However, I have left it late, and even the Hagley Road Premier Inn is £76. So I was wondering if there was somewhere on route people would recommend as a nice stop - either somewhere lovely to stay but keenly priced (ideally with a pool!) or somewhere that is fun for a bloke on his own to potter round, or have a drink etc before returning to hotel.
Ill probably end up paying the £76 but en route, I could stop at Bromsgrove, Nottingham, Derby or even further north- and still make my planned stops in Brum to visit things.