I always feel less inclined to write about a defeat, not because I believe everything is rosy or I refuse to accept our failings, but because I’m a mardy bugger who doesn’t like losing.
I certainly feel that in the event of a defeat, the best thing to do in terms of an article is pause and reflect, rather than be overly reactive. Too many people go to social media immediately berating anyone and everyone once we’ve lost a game and it would be easy to do the same after yesterday’s game.
Then, when you take a step back and reflect, there’s a bigger picture which the cruel sting of a defeat often masks. Some people can’t see it at all of course. Others don’t want to.
I’ll be honest, yesterday wasn’t good at all. It’s the second season in a row we’ve gone to Colchester and not turned up which is disappointing, especially with such a great set of fans in terms of vocal support. We take 1,000 away and yet sections of the side don’t turn up for the game. I’m not going to be reactive and say things like ‘unacceptable’ or ‘not good enough’ because it was only a fortnight ago I was on here praising a 6-2 away win at Port Vale.
There’s not an awful lot to say about the game is there? Danny, in my eyes, got the team selection right, but even Jason Shackell coming back didn’t help out with a sloppy goal we conceded. I do know lots of people want Kellan Gordon given a run out at right back instead of James Wilson and they’re entitled to ask for that. What I do know is there’s a world of difference between playing Scunthorpe stiffs in the EFL Cup and Colchester in the league.
I’ll confess I don’t think James Wilson is a great right back, but I do think he’s more suited to the role than Gordon. The Derby lad is clearly a winger, an attacking force whom, given the performance from the wide players yesterday, might be getting a chance in the coming weeks. If he does get his first team opportunity, I sincerely hope it is pushing forward so we can see what he’s capable of. All the plaudits coming his way from the Scunthorpe game are around making runs forward, but our right back needs more defensive qualities than anything else.
Away from the goal it was just a poor match between two sides who seemed to be doing their best to not win the game. Colchester offered little of the threat I expected, their goal was perhaps a little fortunate and they got all three points which I’m sure they’re delighted about, but they played us on one of our worst days. We’ve seen this performance a few times from City, first half against Crawley, 75 minutes against Bury and the whole match at Northampton. We’re not adverse to looking poor and nor is it one man’s fault.
You know where this leads me don’t you? Big John of course. Immediately after the final whistle social media was flooded with anti-Akinde stuff, calling him everything and anything that people could think of. He had a bad game. No doubt. So did McCartan, Andrade and Anderson, yet why are they not being hammered? Anderson was, up to Akinde arriving, involved in a club record deal albeit for two players, why is he not being questioned as heavily?
The problem I have is I don’t feel I can say when John Akinde hasn’t played well because I’m afraid of being lumped in with the fans who delight every time he doesn’t. I don’t get why we have to have a scapegoat and here’s a thing; Danny doesn’t either. I don’t often reveal my conversations with Danny and I will never, ever quote him directly from our personal chats, but he’s told me in recent weeks he doesn’t get why some of the fans have to identify one player whom they want to call out, all of the time.
What really upsets me is the ‘fans’ who wait on social media to get their bile in quickly. It happened with Farman last season, some supporters were delighted when Paul dropped a cross or cost us a goal because it vindicated their ridiculous witch hunt. there’s an element of that with John, one or two people are actively looking for him to fail. When you do that, you don’t see the positive in what he does. Okay, there wasn’t much to see yesterday, but that wasn’t just Akinde was it? Why wasn’t there a call for McCartan to be dropped? He’s a forward, he’s scored fewer than John Akinde, why isn’t he coming in for stick too?
Glass half full, or half empty? Sadly, in the case of John Akinde, some fans will never be convinced.
I feel as though our defeats and failing these days are almost always hinging on Akinde, people see both the wins and the losses as a symptom of his performance alone and it isn’t fair on the player. I got called out by people for doing a worst XI vote the other week and for constantly breating Drewe Broughton, yet some of the same people who did so are openly having a pop at John every game. He didn’t deserve stick against Carlisle, but when he had the run and shot in the second half, people were critical he didn’t score, not positive that he’d got on the ball and created our only real chance of the second half. Glass half full, or half empty? Sadly, in the case of John Akinde, some fans will never be convinced.
That said, he was poor yesterday. I won’t lie nor do I have rose-tinted glasses on, but he wasn’t the worst imp on the pitch. You wouldn’t know it though.