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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big Match Analysis - Tranmere 1 Plymouth 0

Our weekly analysis of our Big Match is back, with Turls reflecting upon the defending from both teams.

Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
Saturday November 13, Prenton Park, (Att: 4,840)

Here we go again, cleaning up another mess that has been made by a bunch of sick, twisted, individuals. Just when you think you're out of the hole, another catastrophe happens and drags you back into the mire.

I want my holiday for crying out loud. I'm meant to be in the Bahamas, lapping up the rays and checking out the fine Bahaman ladies.* Instead, I find myself at Prenton Park, Tranmere, examining what's going wrong with the state of defending in English football.

Where shall we start? Well, in truth, this crime scene isn't as bad as some of the ones we've seen. For a start, there was only one goal. Makes me think that some of the managers and coaching staff in the Football League have been reading my wise words.

Actually, having just looked at the league table, it could just be down to the fact that both sides are pretty awful up top.

Tranmere Defending:

The goal didn't come until the hour mark, but there was the occasional example of sloppy defending.

Tranmere gave away a free kick on the half way line. Plymouth's Craig Noone took a quick free kick and slotted the ball straight down the middle of the pitch to Bradley Wright-Phillips.

The shot was saved well, but let's rewind the action back to the quick free kick. It was good thinking by Noone, but Tranmere should have had the presence of mind to deal with it.

They had enough bodies back when the ball was played to deal with such a simple ball down the middle. It was along the deck and wasn't going at a rate of knots, so it should have been cut out at some point.

However, that's not my main problem with the play. What I'm concerned with is, that when the free kick was given three Tranmere players were standing within five yards of each other and not one of them hurried to get back into position.

I'd be fuming to find so many of my team in close proximity to each other. The gap between the defence and the midfield was enormous and it was because of this that the goal almost came.

Plymouth Defending:

Tranmere hit back with a cross from deep on the left. Ian Thomas-Moore was able to bring the ball down without any pressure on him and lash it over the bar.

I don't know where to start. How can a striker have so much time and space to shoot inside the box? Plymouth weren't short on men and it wasn't like Tranmere had overloaded the box with attackers. They got lucky - it should have been a goal.

Still in the first half, and Dale Jennings picked the ball up on the half way line and went on a direct run towards Plymouth's goal. No one closed him down, no one pressured him, and he was allowed to shoot from distance.

It was a speculative effort and should have served as a warning to the Plymouth defence. It didn't.

Tranmere Rovers 1 Plymouth Argyle 0

Tranmere worked the ball around well before slipping it to Jennings on the left flank. The teenage sensation - it's required that all middle-of-the-road journalists refer to a teenager as that - picked the ball up.

He cut inside the right back - who was found to be a little square-on for my liking, and then proceeded to wander across the face of goal before putting the ball past the Plymouth keeper.

There is no doubting the quality of the goal, but if I were in the Plymouth dressing room after the match, I may well have got a tad upset. No one really pressured him and no one even gave the impression that they were planning on tackling him.


Some other stuff did happen in the match, but it wasn't terrible defending - so I won't bore you with the details. In terms of defence, the put forward a good case, but they'll have to be a lot sharper before I let them go unpunished.

* If Turls's girlfriend happens to be reading this, then let it be known that he had no plans to check out any other women and only has eyes for you. Baby, you're his world.

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