Monday, 10 October 2011

Further thoughts on Tranmere

It's always a bit risky to comment on matches you haven't been to, but having read the reports over the weekend and what fans who were there had to say, here are some reflections.

It's clear that Tranmere played well.   Some of those who were there thought that they were a bit physical, but one has to expect that in League 1.  As expected, their keeper indulged in time wasting tactics and could well have deserved a second yellow.   They also unsucessfully tried to disrupt the taking of the penalty, but Johnnie Jackson kept his cool.   We musn't expect other teams to roll over because they are at The Valley, rather the contrary.

There has been some criticism of Chris Powell for doing a Phil Parkinson and not sticking with a winning team, although beforehand there were quite a few calling for Green and Kermorgant to start.   In my view Kermorgant is something of a super sub.   I also think that Paul Hayes is underrated.   What he does particularly well is to link up with the midfield and that may have contributed to their below par performance on Saturday.

As for the Green v. Wagstaff debate, that will go all season until one of them is injured or suspended.  But Green did not earn a starting place on Saturday to judge by everything I have read.

The League Paper rated Wiggins as the best player on 8 and it is encouraging to see how he has come on since the start of the season.   Bradley Wright-Phillips got a score of only 4 which wasn't really reflected in anything I read.   He can't be expected to score in every game.

Some were disappointed at the attendance of 15,038 with no Premiership or Championship games in London, but Tranmere are hardly a big draw.  They had to cancel their own supporters bus because of insufficient interest and there were only 300 in the away end.   The home crowd was up by 1,000 on Exeter which is good considering that that game was on offer.   Receipts were up by a third.   If it's any kind of benchmark, the crowd at Leamington was up by about 12 per cent on Saturday.

Les Parry claimed that that the crowd had been quietened in the second half, but someone who arrived after six minutes remarked how quiet they were then.  I am afraid that the team has to lift the crowd rather than the other way round.   Much as I admire Big Dave Lockwood, his invocations to get behind the boys are having little effect.

Overall, a point gained, perhaps a little fortunately.   Onward to Stevenage.   Oh, the glamour of League 1.


  1. I agree with your assessment of Hayes. He isn't going to be a prolific goalscorer but he does add a great deal to the team. He isn't a target man and in my view that forces us to pass the ball to get into the dangerous positions.

    I noticed on Saturday that the ball was often pumped long to Keromorgant instead of taking the patient approach, and I don't think this team plays that type of game very well.

    Hayes has been excellent I think, I had my doubts about him initially, but he does a great job and would be in my starting line up.

  2. Wyn,

    Just a couple of further observations from someone that was at the game.

    I can corroborate what you've read elsewhere about Wright-Phillips; I'm not sure what game The League Paper’s correspondent was watching. I had Wright-Phillips as one of our better players on Saturday. He looks a different player from the one that joined us in January: always looking for the ball, and contributing over the full 90 minutes. He looked by far our most dangerous player against Tranmere, and kept their defenders occupied. My only concern was that he was frequently drawn out wide right by a lack of chances and a mediocre performance from Green, but even that illustrated his determination to get on the ball and willingness to get involved.

    As far as the atmosphere was concerned, it was a little flat. However, I sit in the far reaches of the West, and over the last few seasons I've found that chants and songs haven't generally spread that far. Whereas on Saturday, when the Covered End did spark into life, the chants were being picked up right around the ground. Possibly just a hangover from Chesterfield, but hopefully the start of something more positive.