Hartley V Plymouth Parkway

Post by KOB - 25-09-2022, 12:32

Who needs the Premier League when you can watch a game locally like the one yesterday! A bonkers game but great entertainment, especially for the neutral.

Okay, full marks to the boys for the fight-back, getting a point from a game we had all but lost in the first-half. I think quite a few amongst us felt we were still in it at half-time, as the Parkway defence looked shaky and we know what our boys are capable of. Even so, it didn't seem likely we'd get anything. The response from the boys to what had been a calamity in the first 45 minutes was tremendous, but it doesn't hide our shortcomings.

Was this the same team that pushed Bath City so hard? Was it a reaction to the efforts of Tuesday evening that caused us to have our heads in the fog. It's a strange, almost amazing coincidence that Bath City yesterday, playing away at Oxford City, found themselves 3 down at half-time and finished up drawing the game 3-3. But then I look at the way we started the game and frankly we can't blame it on the after effects of Tuesday.

Within the first minute or two I saw our two fullbacks half way in the opposition half. Some will say it showed our intent. To me it showed the opposition an open door, and they exploited it. They'll have had us watched, as all the teams have, and seen how there is often space in behind our fullbacks. We cannot start like that. It was as if we were presenting them with a written invitation. The first goal, though an uncharacteristic misjudgement by Adam, was caused by giving away a silly free-kick on our right. The other three goals were sheer lunacy on our part. Parkway were looking for that space every time they got the ball. One, two, three times, three goals simple as you like. I may have muttered something vaguely rude after the third one, and suggested the boys reconsider their tactics, perhaps... FFS!

But I can't blame the boys alone, that was a tactical setup of the team by the coaching staff from the get-go. I just don't go along with it. Surely it is prudent to start by keeping things tight and seeing what the opposition has to offer. What was the idea, kill the game off in the first 20 minutes? Instead we were like lambs to the slaughter.

For me the issue is not the defence, as in the keeper and our back four; they did look in a panic at times in the first half, but in general I rate our defence quite highly. For me the issue is still down to the willingness (and ability) of the midfielders (and forwards at times) to do their defensive duties. I stood and watched as Parkway players were given all the space and time they wanted to play very simple (but accurate, give them their due) passes in behind our wide defenders. They mustn't be allowed that time. A good, simple ground pass deep out of defence did us time after time. Other teams have and will see that Achilles' heel we have and continue to exploit it. We HAVE TO fix it.

Okay, enough of my browbeating, which tells you how I was feeling at the break. Some very good performances in the second half. Anis did well but for me the MOTM just had to go to Harry. He hit the woodwork 5 times, scored two penalties, the second one as cool as ice, and made us tick. Kingsley of course, massive effort out there, and a great strike from Teddy Davey. And perhaps one of the best cameo roles ever from Holla. From the moment he came on he looked his usual class act, sure at the back and then towering over everyone to play the perfect header for Kings to get on the end of.

An absolutely unbelievable, bonkers, frustrating, stressful, exhilarating game of football. Said everything about how football should be... and no effing VAR! Everyone wanted to berate the ref but I really didn't feel he did too much wrong; no one will get every decision right. It's because of the way officials get abused that we've ended up pushing so many potentially good officials away from the game. Of course there are times when they give crazy decisions, but I'd choose that over VAR every time! Would we have seen the emotion of that game if we'd had VAR and everyone just stopped for a few minutes to watch the damn screen and the man with his finger in his ear!!

And finally, top marks to the Chairman for arranging the Spitfire fly past right over the ground at half-time. No idea how you organised that, but Duncan and I much appreciated it :-)
Don't tell me you missed it? Like I said, the game yesterday had everything.
  • KOB

    25-09-2022, 14:35

    I need to add one thing to the above. In just about every case in that first period, the ball was being played into the space deep on our right where Tom was, but I think that was more because of Ryan Lane (the Parkway left-back) seeing and executing the pass well - he wound me up with his backchat at one point but he's a good player. It wasn't that Tom Leggett had vacated that space; indeed, I think Tom had worked hard to get back in there each time, but he wasn't necessarily set right, because of the way they were quick to transition and our fullbacks were always looking to play high. That pass shouldn't have been able to be made with such ease time after time, and that's where the midfielders and forwards have to do better to close down. But yes, our defenders need to be more cautious at times. We all like to watch attacking football, but...

    Just trying to stimulate some thought and discussion here, nothing more. I fully support the boys and the coaching staff. We can never stop learning, in football or in life.
    • Hartley Row

      25-09-2022, 15:42

      You can't knock the comeback, but we can't keep giving teams the lead. As KOB points out we will have been watched and our shortcomings will be well known to the opposition. Doubtless PP will be passing on information to their tenants Truro for next week's encounter. PP were upset about the time added on however their time-wasting tactics were the most blatant I've seen. No amount of lecturing will prevent this. Get the card out and that should stop it!
    • VINTY

      25-09-2022, 15:36

      Following on from KOBs succinct analysis I did not know whether to laugh or cry at our first half performance. Against a team lower than ourselves we gifted them the freedom of the park and they must have thought Christmas had come early as they only managed to put four (it could have been more) goals passed us. As they felt sorry for us they were also generous enough in scoring our consolation goal.
      To be fair to the lads we did raise our game in the second half
      (it surely could not have got any worse) against quite a brittle defence, dominated proceedings and after scoring three goals and hitting the woodwork on a number of occasions, we came out of it with an unsatisfactory draw instead of an easy win. It was a game for the taking but we did not take it. The skipper has also got to raise his game instead of targetting the
      small goal posts with ease he needs to find the bigger net!!!!
      Having in the past highlighted the deficiencies as mentioned by KOB we have to take into account that we are a small club
      on a small budget playing above ourselves in a bigger league and not being able to compete for players that most other clubs in the league can afford. We would love to pay £400 a week for a top striker as others do or a dynamic classy midfielder, so we are very limited in our selection and that is no reflection on the current bunch of lads we have so we have to take that into account when we
      reflect on the team's success or otherwise. We supporters are all behind the lads and want them to succeed and hopefully
      the management can blend them into becoming a more mature and successful team in the months to come. We
      await to see. UP THE ROW