Northampton Town 2-1 Gillingham
Saturday October 30, Sixfields, (Att: 4,573)
Here we are, back looking at defending in the Football League. Sorry that you've had to put up with reports from my deputies for the past two weeks.
I know I should have left you in more capable hands but Gil Grissom wasn't available and all I was left with was a poor man's Frank Drebin.
Anyway, onto business. There was a bit of a situation down at Sixfields, Northampton at the weekend, so I packed my bag of goodies - rubber gloves, cotton buds etc. - and headed down the motorway.
Northampton Town 0 Gillingham 1
The away team struck first with a well worked free kick. A shimmy and a shake set up space for the man, who proceeded to drill it into the bottom corner. There wasn't really a lot Northampton could do about it.
A well worked routine straight from the training ground. Praise must go to the inventiveness of the free kick, because I must admit that I get a little fed-up when I see another batch of free kicks get smashed into the wall or whacked over the bar.
Northampton Town 1 Gillingham 1
Nobes seems to think that this goal came as a result of sloppy marking. I disagree. However, I can't help but feel the goal came as a result of poor defending.
The corner was floated to the back stick where two attackers and two defenders were waiting with baited breath. Both defenders were out jumped - allowing one of the attackers to power the ball into the back of the net.
Also, I can't help but feel the man on the post could have made a better effort at stopping the ball from going in. Nevertheless, questions must be asked as to why both attackers managed to get higher than their markers.
I suppose it is part and parcel of football, but it looked like the defenders weren't even fussed about jumping - like it was beneath them or something.
Perhaps I am being a little harsh, but I like my defenders in the air at corners.
Northampton Town 2 Gillingham 1
Penalty. I'm not 100 per cent convinced if this was a penalty. I can understand why it was given but, at the same time, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid had it not.
A free kick was sent towards the back post where the defender and attacker got in a tangle with each other. Neither play was looking at the ball and the Gills defender kind of fell on the attacker.
I suppose the defender could be perceived as hauling the striker down and the reaction of the rest of the Gillingham team said a lot.
None of them seemed particularly outraged by the decision. Just a little clumsy in my eyes. Maybe he hasn't got used to his height yet.
Midfielder chips the ball up to the front man who does brilliantly well to control it, fashion a little bit of space, and play it through to his strike partner.
The keeper comes out to smother the ball. Good attacking and very good goalkeeping. Brave and alert - exactly what you want from your man between the sticks.
It was good forward play over poor defending, so I'm not going to criticise the defence.
I might just start copy and pasting this into every article, because it is a daily occurrence. Northampton's keeper hoofs the ball down the pitch where a Gills defender leaped for it.
Unfortunately for him, he completely misjudged the flight of the ball and ended up flicking it towards a striker in the acres of space.
A goal wasn't scored, but the defence can count themselves a little lucky. Time and again we see defenders misjudging the flight of the ball and it invariably leads to a goal scoring opportunity.
I'm not asking for defences to have a PhD in Physics, but they must understand how a ball moves in the air by now?
Overall, it wasn't too bad a display from either defence, but I am getting annoyed at having to write about the same mistakes every week.
It is completely unreasonable to expect them to be world beaters because there is a legitimate reason for them playing in League Two and not Serie A.
However, in the instance of the aforementioned Gillingham defence - which didn't result in a goal - it is a sloppy piece of defending that, if see on a Sunday league pitch, would result in a tongue-lashing from the defender's gaffer.
Of course, if any club is reading this and questioning whether I could do any better - as a coach, I won't even pretend to be good enough to play in League Two - then I will accept a challenge of joining the club on a one week basis to improve the defensive structure.
Anyone willing to give me a punt? Thought not.