Jason Price - "interesting" (Photo © Corred)
Disappointing but not discouraging. That was this afternoon. Despite an obvious gulf in class, we showed a massive amount of spirit and bottle and in the end, we really should have taken something.
A lot of people complain about how we 'sit back' and let sides come at us, and there was an element of that in the first 20 minutes. However, the real problem was our inability to keep the ball. Throughout the afternoon, we continually lost the ball needlessly. Things improved after Green's introduction. We kept the ball better, but not well enough. Prior to Green, we barely had a touch, relying on big punts up to Parkin. After his arrival, we started to try and pass the ball, and Green, who had a mixed game, did keep the game ticking over and tried slicing open the defence. The problem with Green, and numerous others like Elliott and France, is that they try too many 50/50 passes. Anyone who saw Andrews out there, and the oppo's Watson and Hughes, will see that they make 90/10 passes. 90% of passes find a team mate, they are simple passes, followed by good movement for another easy pass. It may be a lack of movement, or just too much ambition, but we hit too many passes into no-one. Some are over-ambitious, others executed poorly and others just baffling decisions. At one point, we chased about 15 passes before forcing an error: Green got the ball in the middle and just gave it back to them, we then chased another 10 or so passes. We have to keep the ball better. It sounds ever so simple, but it isn't really. However, if Green and the like want to progress, they must know that if they don't do it, PT will bring in someone who will.
Jon Parkin - "tough, honest performance" (Photo © Corred)
Jon Parkin was brilliant for an hour. Really tough, honest performance. Held the ball up well, won a good portion of his headers and took his goal superbly. He looked tired after that, and the service dried up.
Duffy's cameo was equally impressive; quick, skillful and desperate to score. He maybe should have come on at half time. The service in wasn't the best. France was very wasteful with numerous crossing opportunities, as was Fagan after he went out right.
Price was interesting. He got forward in support of the front men well and missed a decent opportunity. He got a lot of stick telling him to get back in position, but we can't have it both ways. Either he sticks to the right and hopes for the ball or he goes off, finds it and tries to create. The second option is preferable, but it can leave us open. He never produced anything as a winger, but he played well as a third striker. Tired quickly though.
Craig Fagan - "Doesn't look a striker" (Photo © Corred)
We were torn open at left back. After Delaney did a great job there, it looks a daft move to play Lynch. However, when you consider the pace in the Palace team, Lynch looked a fair bet. Hindsight is a funny thing, Lynch was taken apart and poor on the ball. Delaney next week, please!
All in all, a decent performance. We played to our strengths well. Barmby got on the ball and tried to work openings. The long balls to Parkin were decent hits that gave him a chance. Fagan buzzed around and supported Parkin well. The thing with Fagan is that he doesn't look like a striker. Once Duffy came on, you could see the difference. He was dying to score, he took a gamble on any type of slip, he moved into positions where the ball just might drop and shot on sight. Fagan would have had a first half tap in if he'd taken that same sort of gamble, and he probably could have shot when he laid on for Price instead. Fagan is great to have around, but he's not going to be prolific anytime soon. Andrews did well on the ball, but lacked the pace to dig in. We really should have gone with Welsh alongside him to give the midfield some legs. PT's handling of Welsh of late is baffling, bordering on stupid. The defence struggled against pace again - come back soon, Colesy. Parkin lost his man for the first goal and Ward beat Cort to the rebound. We must improve at set pieces.
Mark Lynch - "was taken apart" (Photo © Corred)
Palace were dull, weren't they? How can you have that much talent, and yet rely on time wasting and diving to nick an away win. Just a horrible team, with a 'professional' attitude that stinks. I wouldn't pay to watch that. the ref was a spineless little numpty who let them kill the game for 80 minutes before he did anything. He warned the goalie to hurry up on goal kicks in the first 10 minutes, but then ignored him for the next 80. He handled the game well in terms of fouls etc. He added on 5 minutes at the end, which was fair enough, but that's no good after they've robbed every bit of momentum we had.
Ratings: Bo 8, France 6, Lynch 5 (Green), Cort 6, Collins 6, Price 6 (Duffy), Barmby 7 (Elliott), Andrews 7, Delaney 8, Parkin 8, Fagan 7.
Great attitude and effort, but more pace down the spine of the team and more composure on the ball is badly needed. Must not lose at Stoke, must beat Coventry.