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MANAGER: It looked like one game too many

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday draw

2 October 2022

It’s fair to say that Saturday afternoon’s home game against Crewe wasn’t a classic, with both teams slugging it out in the middle of the park, for the most part, and with the keepers largely untested.


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And it felt that there was almost a collective sense of waiting for something to happen as the spark to ignite the touchpaper remained elusive.

“I think that’s probably fair to say,” manager Paul Simpson agreed. “We’re in the technical area thinking about what we do differently, what we can change system wise, or maybe personnel wise, and it just wasn’t one of those days for football.

“It certainly wasn’t a day for us playing football anyway. It’s really hard to put my finger on it, because it was horrible to watch. Fair play to the 5,000 people who came in and stayed with us because, I’ve got to say, they were the only ones who had a bit of life at the end.

“Our team certainly didn’t. That’s the disappointing thing, it’s a missed opportunity and we felt it was a really good chance to pick up more points.

“We could have got ourselves into a position where we’d cemented our place. It’s now been an ok week, and I’m sure some people would be satisfied with five points from nine, but I think we should be looking at more right now.”

On the high tempo approach seen in almost all of the games so far, he told us: “We certainly didn’t have it in this one, and I’m not going to make any excuses for that.

“We had to go to two away games, that’s the way the fixture list was, we ran our socks off in both, but we can’t dictate where we play or when. We just have to get on with it.

Match Reports


1 October 2022

“It just looked like one game too many for this week. We weren’t able to go and lift ourselves and the disappointing thing is that we had a recovery day on Thursday, then we had a training session on Friday which was excellent.

“We really did train well, we looked lively, so you come into the game thinking, wow, this will be good if we can start in the way we’ve just been doing things through the week.

“We were up against a Crewe side who have struggled a little bit, but we’ve allowed them to look like a good football team. We allowed them to bring balls down and play football because we weren’t on the front foot enough.

“Maybe there was a little bit of fatigue there, or a lack of belief that we could go on and win the game. I don’t know why that’s the case, with the results we’ve picked up so far, and with the way we’ve gone about our business.

“I suppose the only bonus we can take out of it is that we didn’t lose. We’ve had two teams who I think I’m right in saying have only had one proper shot each. Jordan Gibson had a shot that the keeper parried and Tomas had one save he made with his body.

“Apart from that, we’ll be able to just fold those nets up and put them away, there’ll be no need to clean them or wipe them down at all. We got nowhere near them.”

Club News

GALLERY: Images from the Crewe game

2 October 2022

A series of tweaks to the formation and shape were designed to help give things a lift, with Jon Mellish pushed forward and Owen Moxon pushed on, but the action remained in the middle third as the players slugged it out.

“Let’s be honest, I’m sure the players were trying to make things happen as well,” he told us. “I’m absolutely sure they didn’t want to be off it and have a performance with no energy.

“I suppose it’s easy to say that sometimes it happens, but we don’t want it to happen. We should have had enough about us to go and give them a problem, but it didn’t go that way.

“I’m sitting here now trying to think of reasons, but I’m stopping myself because they’re all going to sound like excuses. I don’t want to do that.

“I’ve reminded them that they have to do it every day and in every game if they want to achieve something. There’s no taking a day off or resting on it.

“You can’t go and win away at Grimsby, have a really strong performance, and then come home and not do it again. This was an opportunity for us to get an extra two points on top of the one we got.

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2 October 2022

“I can’t have a go at them, I just don’t think we had any spark, even from the finishers who came on. There was no spark whatsoever and if we talk about waiting for something to happen, if you’ve got something about you as a team somebody jumps up and takes that on for you. We didn’t get that.”

But with the team having played so well to take four points on the road, it seemed only right that they should all keep their starting places.

“With hindsight, it’s always easy to think about what could have been done,” he said. “The lack of freshness we saw, I probably should have realised we might get that.

“As I said though, the training on Friday was excellent, everybody was bright and at it. It’s when we come into the game and we’re flat and not quite there, that’s when it becomes disappointing.

“Thankfully we’ve taken a point. I was speaking to Gav a lot on the sidelines and we were talking about things we might do, but then we were saying to each other in the first half that we just needed to get through it to the break and hope we’d better after we’d spoken to them.

“Then it was a case of just get to the end, let’s not concede from a set play, and thankfully we did that. It wasn’t a great football spectacle It was a game that was lacking in spark and energy and in goalmouth action.

“Thankfully we took a point when on another day we could easily have lost it. I’m disappointed, on the other hand I’m really pleased with the start to the season we’ve made. We’re in a good position and if I’d been offered this at the start of the season, I’d have taken it.”

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