Oh dear, oh dear: Southend 2-1 Imps

Courtesy Graham Burrell

When we look back over the season, no matter what has happened, yesterday will be a real low point.

Genuinely, what more is there to say about it? How can the abject display against a side comprising of kids and players lacking confidence be described? It was the best time to play Southend, reeling from losing players and not yet able to bring in the defensive reinforcements expected after some of Sol’s Macclesfield players quit last week.

On the flip side, they were unbeaten in three at home and have seen an upturn in form recently, but even so, this wasn’t a game I expected us to lose. A draw, sure I could see that. We too are a team in transition, a team boasting a lot of young players and lacking one or two big leaders. Michael Bostwick is a huge loss at present and I hope, from the bottom of my heart, Michael Appleton sees that and acts accordingly with a new deal. We’re missing O’Connor in midfield too, but Liam Bridcutt is the player I imagine will be looking to balance that out when he joins the first team on Friday.

I said in an impromptu ‘Morning Dog Walk’ show (patrons, you’ll get exclusive access soon) that we can’t judge the transfer window on one game in which one of the new faces didn’t play and another hasn’t been announced, but we should still have had enough to see off a spirited but limited Southend United team. We didn’t though, not at all.

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

The team selection didn’t really surprise me. Conor Coventry, a player with a huge future, has struggled with his first foray into men’s football and Tayo Edun seemed to have more experience. Edun really impressed against Blackpool and has played for Ipswich in the Championship, so it looked to me as though MA was getting a little more experience into the side. Zack Elbouzedi was a surprise inclusion for Harry Anderson though, disproving the theory. I can see why Harry was dropped, he struggled in the last two matches but he is a senior professional now.

Other than that it was a case of ‘as you were’ from the poor outing against Portsmouth. The first game of the post-Tyler Walker era looked to get off to a decent start, Jorge Grant’s free-kick could have been better but it made me suspect we were in for an afternoon of dominant football. It was the only really positive action fans got to witness until it was already too late.

To say we never got going is an understatement. The senior professionals should be standing up to be counted and when we talk about ‘young guns’ we shouldn’t forget the players we do have with lots of games: Eardley, Shackell, Bolger, Vickers, Grant, Morrell and Hopper. These are not young kids, these are players with plenty of senior football. Okay, Morrell and Grant can both come out of yesterday with some pride intact (not much), but the others? Not so much.

It wasn’t as if we were defending for our lives though, not in the first half. The back four weren’t struggling with Southend’s threat, not in so much as they looked like conceding. There was the odd moment, a long-range effort here or a cross that evaded everyone there, but in the main, we didn’t look like conceding. We just didn’t look like scoring either.

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

Tyreece John-Jules and Tom Hopper haven’t played a lot of football together and I’m not here to hang players out to dry before they’ve had a chance to settle, I’ll leave that to the Twitter trolls. What I would say is they looked as indifferent to each other yesterday as they did Tuesday. Hopper is struggling to find his feet, albeit after just two starts, but I’m not going to indulge those already writing him off. Some players get going quickly, others do not. As for John-Jules, he’s a player of immense potential but I’ve seen him sky two chances in a week, both of which would have given us something from games we lost. However, getting on his back will surely affect him as a young player, so again we have to move on.

Maybe if those players got a bit of service we might have had a chance, but even the scraps they did feed on came more from Southend’s slightly gung-ho attitude to defending as opposed to our own endeavour. I felt Jorge Grant had a decent game, perhaps more deserving of Man of the Match than the chap who got it, but he wasn’t ‘good’ in the strictest sense. I forgot Zack Elbouzedi was playing for long parts of the encounter and from the defensive flanks, Eardley and Melbourne were edgy, misplacing passes and struggling with what limited threat Southend had. A decent side, with a real attacking purpose, could have turned us over 4-0 yesterday.

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

Unpopular opinion: it isn’t to do with the transfer window as such, certainly not the decisions we made. Walker was recalled and that was out of our control; he came on for Forest yesterday. Harry Toffolo wasn’t a player we wanted to sell, but the money was too good to turn down as we are a selling club, that is our model now. Put those two players in yesterday and we’d look more balanced. Michael O’Connor and Bruno were both losses to the squad but, in my opinion, Liam Bridcutt will do a job in O’Connor’s place and Bruno didn’t have goals and assists exactly flowing out of his magical boots, did he? We had enough players in yesterday who had performed well before Christmas, and over Christmas, and even against Blackpool, to win the game.

No, yesterday was a bad day at the office, the second in a week. I felt we weren’t great against Ipswich last Saturday but we were playing top of the league away from home, so for me, the two concerning performances are Pompey and this. we’ve lost the vital supply of chances from the left in Toffolo leaving and young Max Melbourne has struggled, but it doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. We’ve lost 16 goals in Tyler Walker and the front two, starved of the service Walker did occasionally get, looked like pale imitations of the Forest man. No one player is to blame here, but if we’re lashing out let’s make sure it’s across the board and reflecting the full issues of the day, not just labelling one player ‘rubbish’.

 

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32 Comments

  1. Listened to BBC Lincs commentary. Against one of the weakest sides in the league, we played poorly, let them get the first goal, failed to produce a single shot on target ourselves until Anderson late header and to cap it off did our usual trick – let in a late goal through incompetent defending. We’re getting new player after player and it seems to be making little difference to match performance and results. (Thank God we still got Joe Morrell!) So what is amiss? Confidence? Attitude and commitment? Ability? Lack of a good game plan? Something’s got to happen soon to get out of this rut.

    • This rut , lost narrowly to well organised promotion chasing ipswich comfortably beaten by pompey ill admit but even the loss yesterday doesn’t make it a rut when u consider weve just swapped half the squad and lost some very experienced players at this level these young chaps are going to take time to bed in but this is a calculated move being as if u look at the table chances are we’re very close to being safe already and attention is turning to next season

  2. One thing that really worries me is playing budget manager has, a reason why thinking back to an interview with previous managers last season when ambition was mentioned, left. We were told that this seasons budget, by Mr Nates was same as season we came into the league, and Liam stated yesterday playing budget for next season will resume nearly the same. I know we cant keep growing losses, but it wasnt a good enough budget to get out of league 2 with ambitious managers so worries meeven with a good manager developing youth how the budget will get us out of this division.

    • correct David,
      the word consolidate was used & DC said consolidate .?.. I don’t do that, it crossed my mind that he was going then.
      we caved in when top of this league in 1982 in similar fashion
      we’ve had a great 3 years & we should be ok.
      Up the Imps

  3. Looks like January transfer window killed us. We are lot worse after than before it. Wonder what that is gonna cost us this season. No strikers ,no wingers,no left back, no fight,no passion. Well done mr. Tilson. Oh sorry mr. Alpleton…

    • Judging from the nonsense contained within your post, I’m guessing the reason you can’t spell Appleton correctly is you’re an idiot?

      • I spelt it wrong, you are right. I won’t be able to sleep now because of that haha.
        Am I an Idiot ? Yes I think so. After all I bought season ticket. Now I’m being treated with atroucious transfers and with over three months of low quality product…

        • Eh? Which 3 months? The last 3 months in which we won 5 out of 6 home games whilst scoring lots of goals, or the coming 3 months which haven’t happened yet and therefore you can’t possibly know what’s going to happen? As for atrocious transfers…they’ve hardly played yet. In case you weren’t aware, the club did exist pre Danny Cowley and is currently in the highest place it’s been for several decades. If this still ain’t good enough I suggest you find something else to do on Saturdays. You could try spouting absolute bullshit on websites as you appear to be pretty proficient in that. 👍

          • No I mean the next three months… Low quality players like elbouzedi (guy is a joke..), hopper (magic first touch lol) etc means low quality product till the end of this season.. Looks like it doesn’t matter that the fans paid for that… We are lot worse side than before January. But we are young and hungry apparently now eh? I miss Danny Cowley again…… Oh and thanks for your advices. Means a lot to me lol 😂

        • Tricky though with spelling, given computers are full of spell checkers it hints at a lack of research. Perhaps this carries into football? But also ” low quality product” speaks volumes.

          There is a significant part of me that thinks you may be a troll as literally nothing you have to say is positive. Or you have a big personal issue with MA

  4. Liam Scully said yesterday that we’re not complacent but the ridiculous change around of players during the window suggests we think we are safe which in my view is not the case.
    It seems ludicrous to throw money at getting up to a level we’ve not graced for 21 years then to allow half the team to leave at a time when the manager appeared to have got some momentum into the team.
    I hope we can cobble enough points together at home to stay out of trouble but as I write this I’m distinctly worried.

    • Lets all calm down a tad. We’re not going to get promotion this year and we’re not going down.

      We are now building for next season. A club like ours, unfortunately, has to sell players to continue on.

      Bruno and Toff I’m pretty sure will have brought in some good money, Big John will have reduced the wage bill significantly, Michael O’Conner was out of contract end of the season and Tyler didn’t belong to us and reading between the lines wanted to be part of the Forest push for promotion. All of these we had little choice in.

      Let’s just get behind the team and let the Big Apple do his job with our full support. This is our first season back in a league which over history isn’t our regular home. I, for one, will be renewing my season ticket and am still proud to be an imp.

  5. 10 in 8 out mid season! And no time to train or gel ( physio 2 day recovery mandatory after a match) with two games a week, I feel there is no time for a team such as ours to recover and progress. It feels at the moment that the previous great football that we recently enjoyed from a team with the heart of Lincolnshire in their souls has been set aside for the balance sheet. This transfer window has shown that players/managers/execs have missed out on what makes Lincoln City great. Loyalty, comradeship, belonging and a common purpose. Season ticket holders will be disapointed to be left with a 2nd half season of wondering if we will survive relegation rather than optimism for a stable future mid table with a hope of promotion long term.

  6. Most will be eating their words when Appleton gets us in the top 6 next season. Give him time!
    While I loved the Cowley’s and what they did for this club the football under the new manager is already better to watch.

  7. The point made about Bostwick cannot be understated. We need him back and in the team…. and quickly. A basic look at results says we have won 9 out of 16 games when he has played and only 3 out of 18 when he hasn’t.

  8. Gary, I’ve been waiting for your write-up today – looking for a bit of balance and a bit of hope. I was at the game yesterday – and in my mind I am not balanced or hopeful!
    I would like to compare this to a year ago – last season was the first full season that I took my son to games – home and away. We get to the games early, we watch the lads warming up, paying attention to all the drills, hang around after the game, meet the players, meet the staff, meet the coaches, meet the nutritionist, meet the bus driver….. The spirit and professionalism and attention to detail blew all the opposition out of the water in League 2 – and for that I am thankful to DC & NC. This year (even at the start of the season with DC and NC in place) the intensity has gone. Last season watching the intensity of the warm up games – Bossie at one end, Rheady at the other, sharpness of passes, vision – followed through into games. This season we are going through the motions, no intensity, no sharpness – no wonder we are giving the ball away in the middle.
    Yesterday was clearly more than lack of intensity in the warm-up, but I am holding out a lot of hope for Bridcutt, for Bossie to come back fit, for the team to have more time together in training. We need to pick up these next few wins quickly, because I don’t think amongst these youngsters we have the grit for a battle at the bottom of the table.

  9. I’m prepared to go along with those of you who write that we are a successful team-in-the-making and must be patient. Whatever, these poor results won’t dampen my support for the Imps. I’ve been supporting them since I came to Lincoln 20 years ago through some seasons when you could have your own block of seats attendance was so poor.! Agree we need Michael B back ASAP to steady the defence. Oh and Diana, put the necessary name spellings into your spellchecker so you don’t upset the boys.(PS It’s “atrocious”. See what I mean?)

  10. It seems as though the Club must now be reasonably confident we won’t go down and have rapidly switched around the playing staff for younger and, more importantly, cheaper options. Presumably they’re hoping the team will do just enough to keep us in L1 and can then build again in the close season. However, it’s a bit of a kick in teeth for the fans, who will no doubt be implored to ‘pack the Bank’ week in, week out to watch a side assembled to achieve the bare minimum

  11. Nice one. Just so I can put your comments in perspective. “Interesting” viewpoints. We are in a worse state than Southend, will be playing hoofball on Friday and you predicted the arrival of Anthony Scully. Wow

    • Weren’t you the guy who accused ME of “trolling”?
      That’s why I switched you off on Twitter.
      Results speak for themselves. Who had the most shots on Saturday? Who scored the most goals? Who won the points with a team of kids?
      By all means critique my points but please don’t waste your time putting words in my mouth as, in the words of a song I wrote over 20 years ago
      ‘Now I understand we’re supporters, and our joy depends on results, but if you’re such a know-all let’s see you play football whilst we shout crude insults, “You’re useless!”‘
      Having supported the Imps, through thick and thin, for 56 years, my concern is for the players, the team, and the club. How would you expect a loyal supporter to react to losing to a club who, but for Bolton’s point deduction, are bottom of the league, have the worst results, and who outplayed, outright and beat us with a goal from their fullback who had never before in his career scored with a header?
      Fan is an abbreviation of fanatic. I’m a supporter who has spent more time and money than you on LCFC. If you cannot see that leaving two players we own – one our top scorer – on the bench is ridiculous, particularly when it was them who offered the one spark of ignition in the dying embers of a damp squib of a game then I will forego the chance to further indulge your sneering, unrealistic discussion on a team and game that seems to rely on the same logic MA used to handicap our team from the referees first whistle. Or as my dad – a supporter since the old second division was minded to say “we’re better off at the top of the 4th division than the bottom of the third” which is where we are headed from what I can see.

  12. Thank you for your temperate response.

    I don’t do twitter. Just referred to three points that you yourself made, which struck me as a bit odd.

    You may have me confused with someone else for you to boldly declare that you have spent more than me on the Imps.

    I don’t mind a bit of flowery language to make a point or two, but you can undermine your good points by overstating others.

    Don’t worry, I won’t bother you again. A low blow to refer to the song. Apologies on that and all the best.

    • Well I apologise. I’ve been stalked by another Ben. But I am proud of the song and the 2000 young people who were involved in the project, some of whom I still hear from.
      I’m worried that the young players will wilt under the pressure of replacing Walker, Akinde, Andrade, and that the team will be dragged into a relegation battle against more experienced sides. And if Appleton goes under pressure, what then?
      Sorry about being defensive but your namesake was really a pain in the butt. Sorry for my mistake and please forgive my mistake?

      • At the end on Saturday couple of empty brain kids hurled a lot of abuse at Shackell. He dealt with it like the star that he is. We are not going anywhere by getting on the players’ backs. Where they at Carshallton?

    • I actually feel terrible now. Perhaps you’d be magnanimous enough to allow me to buy you a drink sometime at a home game? Sadly it won’t be the next home game – not just in case we win but due to prior commitments.
      Once again my profuse apologies and best regards.

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