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Scunthorpe United 1 Watford 2 (03/01/2011) 03/01/2011

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks written on DM’s iPad in the back of a happy car heading back from Lincolnshire…

1- A change in tempo from the reckless abandon of recent home performances, on a bizarre afternoon worthy of a David Lynch film. A penalty that all but cleared the stand, a supporter evicted in a wheelchair, three floodlight failures that provoked chants for Clint Easton and Scott Fitzgerald and a lopsided, disjointed game that displayed no hint of developing a pattern even before unscheduled interruptions. One half expected the lights to come on to reveal that all the faces around you had changed… all we were missing was a psychotic dwarf (insert Derek Payne related joke here)

2- Manchester United look like winning the top flight thing without playing well… It’s an old cliche, but if you can win a game away from home playing as badly as this you’re doing something right. Tired and leggy, we didn’t create a lot or look like scoring until we suddenly did… and even then, we were scarcely worth a point. Take that every day of the week in these circumstances.

3- And the circumstances are that the FA cup weekend has just fallen rather handily for us, with Graham, Cowie and the (albeit retuning to Boro) Taylor all taken off with knocks. Replacements Deeney, Bennett and Whichelow (whose finish was definitively one of A Man Who Knows How To Finish) all did well, but to say we are stretched would be an understatement.

4- Martin Taylor bestrode the game like a colossus, effortlessly superior to every challenge presented to him. Monstrous stuff

5- A mention for Ross Jenkins, who having been found to be incompatible with John Eustace last season here took on the considerable task of replacing him. After a first half in which he survived despite committing a dreadful, two footed challenge on Scunny’s full-back and generally seemed to be trying too hard, he settled down and played a role in a more authoritative Watford performance after the interval.



1. NickB - 03/01/2011

Really pleasantly surprised by this result, had a bad feeling about the fixture and at 1-0 down, assumed the run was at an end, so top marks.

By the way, I really like ig’s thunks, and I also like Matt’s thunks, but which is better?

There’s only one way to find out….

Ian Grant - 04/01/2011

…a battle of elaborate metaphorical descriptions of Danny Graham’s last three goals? No…?

2. Luke Fairweather - 03/01/2011

A wonderful on the road report from Mr M which is most welcome. Disagree with bits of Thunk 3 however. We are not “stretched” but moving into our youthful stride. Pompey don’t even have their kids to put on the bench, but our acadamy means that our first team has great potential depth. Who said “you won’t with anything with kids”? Things could be about to get really interseting.
Another wonderful result. Malky staying – obviously.

marcus - 04/01/2011

I read that Pompey do have youth players to put on the bench but that Cotterill is making a “political” and visible point to Pompey’s owners that he has no resources and no players.

3. Fran - 03/01/2011

Matt, I really didn’t think Jenkins’ tackle was that bad (and I’ve just seen it again on TV). The players came together side on and Jenkins took the ball not the player. It was right in front of the lino and the game was only stopped because of the Scunthorpe player’s (over) reaction.

We were really poor today, but to win when playing that poorly is very admirable. Matty’s goal was excellent. Sadly the wrong Buckley turned up today, I hope this evil twin disappears again.

I agree about Taylor M, I love the way he strides in, takes the ball off the striker and then calmly dribbles until he sees a pass. Pure class.

4. DM - 04/01/2011

@Luke – the very fact that after the 18 on duty today (which included a bench with about a dozen apps between them) there are no fit pro players, that we picked up two more injuries and that Mutch and Taylor, A are off back to their respective clubs suggests that we are pretty much stretched to breaking point. With Walker cup tied, Eustace and McGinn unlikely to be fit, we may be looking at young Sean Murray in central midfield at the weekend ! As good as our young players are proving to be, it’s a concern that we are over reliant on them..

Ian Grant - 04/01/2011

True, Dave, but it was bound to happen at some point this season. Injuries and suspensions inevitably bite when you’ve got a small core squad. On the bright side, it could easily have happened sooner and it could very easily have happened with far fewer than 39 points in the bank. It ain’t over yet, but to have got this far is a simply tremendous achievement.

5. marcus - 04/01/2011

Comments re others:

Loach – he is SO enthusiastic when we score. He really gee’d up the away fans to make a noise for the penalty. Have never seen him catch so many crosses competently – at least 3, one of which was really difficult. made at least one GREAT save.

Doyley – has hit a purple patch last couple of games – excellent defensively and good going forward with some OK distribution.

I was not convinced of much improvement by Jenkins in the 2nd half, altho he did well vs Pompey. We lost 95% of all contested headers in the middle of the park and say 75% of tackles. Mutch didn’t see much of the ball without Eustace’s ball-winning and distribution – a fit McGinn and/or Cowie would help to only a limited extent IMHO as there are more “harrier” types than tacklers/ball winners.

Although the squad seems thin, I reckon we have some cover in goal, attack, defence, on the wing and in terms of a creative MF player but no ball-winner to replace Eustace. Will chuck out a thought – play one of Mariappa, MTaylor or Dale Bennett in MF to tackle and win the ball with the other two as CBacks – could try it against Hartelpool.

6. Luke Fairweather - 04/01/2011

You are right of course. I shall however reserve my right to be the hopelessly, naively, happy-clappy, optimistic Orn that I have always been, leaving the carping, complaining and worrying the to dunderheads on other less enlightened sites. BUT..I insist that things are still set to become even more interesting.

7. Lincoln Hornet - 05/01/2011

5 Thunks, hope you don’t mind

1. M. Taylor – Won everything,brilliant and un fussy display, our man of the match by some distance.
2. Swash Buckley – As bad as Taylor was good!!
3. Jenkins – Wish we could swap him for the old one, he worries me. Two footed challenges usually receive at least a card and it was early in the game and we would have done even better to win with 10 men.
4.Scunny look a poor side, can’t believe they have done so well away from home. Also 4,500 home attendance would be a major worry.
5. Had a decent meal in the old farmhouse outside the ground and also bumped into Tommy Mooney in there having a pint, good day all round. U ‘orns.

8. Resco - 06/01/2011

@Luke – re: Jenkins’ first half tackle. Watch the reply on the bbc website – you can pause it when he is at least a foot in the air whilst jumping in 2 footed. Very lucky for us that he escaped a red card.

9. smarkymark - 06/01/2011

@Marcus : That is a reasonable shout playing Mariappa as the midfield “ball winner “.Admittedly he has played in midfield before and looked poor but we are playing Hartlepool in the ( not so important given our league position ) FA cup.Jenkins could then play on the right with Buckley ( if not rested ) on the left.Who knows, Hodson,Cowie or even McGinn may be fit?

10. marcus - 09/01/2011

@smarkymark – thanks; I don’t remember Mariappa in the midfield as it happens; perhaps it was a couple of years ago.

Hodson was tried in MF in pre-season – that was a hopeless, not-to-be-repeated experiment in my view.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool despatched nicely aftee a dire first half.

Matt Rowson - 09/01/2011

Mariappa played in an unusual centre-mid combo with James Chambers at Leeds in 2006 from memory. We lost 2-1 but did ok and finished with 9 men, so no disgrace. Emergency measures only tho I think…

marcus - 10/01/2011

You’re probably right but my question is: absent Eustace who is the midfield ball-winner and/or do we need one?

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