Match Reports

Blackwell loses plot

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Dull and uninspiring. The weather that is. Doncaster at home could easily be the same.

Difficult to reconcile 17th place in the table with opposing managers crediting the quality of the Town side. With questions starting to emerge about only playing with a single forward, time surely for Blackwell to be bold. No David Bell, injured, and Blackwell responded by going 4-4-2 for a change.

So the Town team then:


Perry Fojut Coyne Goodall

Edwards Robinson Spring Currie

Andrew Furlong

On the bench Talbot, McVeigh, Jackson, Hutchinson, Brkovic.

Fojut a very imposing shaven-headed Pole with significant resemblance to a lamp post. Easy to see why he has earned the nickname ‘The Butcher’, and maybe we would actually manage to defend set pieces for a change.

Doncaster in a Reading-like blue and white hoops and blue shorts. Hopefully their defence would be as generous.

Four minutes in and the first serious attack, from the Town. No shot on goal of course, but good to see Coyne in the Doncaster box for a Town throw in.

On 6 Furlong beat the right back and flighted a delightful cross over, to no avail, and seconds later set up Edwards 12 yards out for the first of his usual rather poor attempts on goal. A weak effort blocked before Jackson showed him how to put some power into it even if it did fly over.

The first corner on 15, Currie on the right. But completely wasted as it was overhit.

For some reason Currie was playing wide right, but Edwards didn’t seem to realise that this left a hole on the left.

It was all a bit lacking in conviction really, with little for the Town fans to get excited about, and on 22 Rovers were ahead, a free header from 6 yards neatly but softly headed down past Alnwick.

Within seconds the first chants of What a load of Rubbish as Goodall hoofed a left wing cross onto the scoreboard. But morale partially restored as Andrew and Spring worked well together, Spring firing a fierce left foot shot in which keeper Neil Sullivan clutched well.

On 33 an enforced change, Coyne off and Jackson on. No sign of a particular cause, no bad tackle, no limp, but the Coyne injury shows runs on.

Doncaster were playing some delightful football, but the Town lacked shape and Goodall, at left back, was in danger of being the scapegoat for the lack of a midfield player in front of him, as the crowd started to boo him for no obvious reason other than that he could get nowhere down the left on his own.

Loud boos and chants for Blackwell to sort it out with it apparent to all apart from the bench what the issue was, as Currie remained glued to the right wing, Edwards ran around randomly, and Spring and Robbo kept bumping into each other in the centre circle. No width at all as we never had anyone wide left.

With minutes to half time an incredible double escape as a Rovers header from 4 yards hit the post and the rebound was headed onto the bar amid panic in the Town defence.

Finally on 44 Edwards seemed to grasp the issue and drove down the left. His cross went low and Furlong fired a typical low shot on the turn just wide. Then seconds later Currie set Jackson free down the right and Edwards glanced the cross just past the far post. Signs of improvement.

So 0-1 at half time and more loud chants to Blackwell to sort it out as the teams left the pitch. He acknowledged the chants with a nod and a thumbs-up. My choice would have been Brkovic for Currie, swapping Edwards to the right and Brkovic on the left, but I suppose that would still leave Robbo on, and Brkovic does seem to have signed on as a bench warmer along with Hutchison.

Talbot clearly told to warm-up during the interval, logically for Andrew. But no change when the Town eventually emerged a good three minutes after Rovers.

Interesting! What on earth was the great tactician doing? Had he solved the question of shape by doing nothing?

Within a minute the answer was clear. No as all four Town midfielders decided they preferred the right.

Twice in the first 4 minutes Rovers surged down the gaping hole on our left, before finally, finally the penny dropped and Currie switched to cover. I suppose the benefit of having the most educated coach in Europe is that it only took 50 minutes to realise this.

And 4 minutes later Furlong spun and played Andrew in wide left. He crossed well and Furlong dived low in the 6 yard box to nod in. Barely deserved but welcome nonetheless. And further evidence that the 39 year old is still doing the business.

But overall no sign of the Town scoring. Still no width, as we now had a gaping hole on the right, and time after time our full backs were forced to make defensive tackles in the Rovers half as no-one else would do so.

Twenty minutes in and Robinson booked for a horrendously-timed tackle. Please Blackwell take off the useless git. But no.

Andrew was winning header after header and one in the box gave Furlong a shot from 8 yards which was unusually pathetic for the big man.

With 7 minutes time for a change, Currie off (not that most of us realised he had been there for a good twenty minutes) and Midget McVeigh on. Well I suppose it made sense to Blackwell to narrow the midfield still further.

Four minutes of added time…four more minutes of absolute boredom.

And then it was all over. Thank God. I said on the way out that I have almost lost interest. Even as we went down last season I still thought we played good football, albeit with a park standard defence and keeper. But now we just have crap all round, most of it Blackwell’s choices. And he refuses to play better players just because they were here when he arrived.


Alnwick 6 hard to judge as he had little to do, and failed to do it. But Brill should be playing

Perry 6 solid if not spectacular

Fojut 6 ditto

Coyne 5 but not on for long

Goodall 6 unfairly pilloried, but no better than Emanuel – what does he have to do to play?

Edwards 4 ran non-stop, but noticeable by his absence defensively and I lost count of how many chances he has missed this season. Needs to achieve something

Robinson 4 typical Robbo – effin useless

Spring 7 worked hard, stayed in position, spread the ball well when there was anyone to spread it to, a couple of good shots

Currie 1 lazy sod

Andrew 7 supporters MoM, and had greats second half in the air, but all the time it was to win long punts from the back, outside the box, as we had no width

Furlong 6 usual hard-working game and brave when and where it mattered


Talbot 9 warmed up well at half time

McVeigh 1 wore out a few blades of grass down the touchline

Brkovic 10 nice hair cut

Hutchison 10 his designer stubble looks cool

Jackson 6 actually played

Blackwell 1 must do a lot lot better. In this league it isn’t rocket science. In the Championship a side like this:







Edwards (D)





playing 4-4-2 would be fine. We should be walking away with this division, yet we are slipping down and down while he experiments with tactics and makes terrible selections. How did he not see the lack of width/ And even if he didn’t think width was important then at least balance? How on earth can he still be selecting Robinson as one of just three survivors from last year? While we may all disagree on their relative strengths how can he be better than Brkovic and Morgan? Blackwell moans about players getting into the box to pick up chances, well that is what Brko does par excellence. Why bring on McVeigh with seven minutes remaining into midfield? Does he think McVeigh is a midfield player? If so surely not ahead of Brkovic or Hutchison? If Hutchison isn’t fit enough to play seven minutes, then what is Don Hutchison for? What does talbot have to do to get an extended run? He is surely the sort of player who in the last thirty minutes can create havoc by his energy and enthusiam, yet he remains on the bench as an insipid home performance fades into oblivion.

Why drop Dean Brill when he is having a good run – and by all accounts was brilliant against Charlton?

Even as we sank deeper and deeper last year it took an awful long time for me to lose faith in Newell. With Blackwell it doesn’t take long at all.

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