[L1] Leeds 0-0 Stockport (5-9-2009)

Leeds 0 – 0
0 – 0
Stockport

League 1
5th September 2009

Pre Match

Despite playing at home in a match we’re predicted to win comfortably, I’m wary of the Stockport hitting us on the break, especially with Omozusi and Kisnorbo missing from the defence and no Merino creating chances in the midfield. They’re a good team currently sitting one place ahead of us in 4th place (granted, 1 point separates the top 6 teams and we’re only behind on goal difference) so I’m looking to keep this one tight.
The backroom staff have recommended playing an anchor man to counter the threat from Carl Baker so I’ll be bringing Rodri into the hole, despite the fact Baker plays down the left wing. I’ll also be instructing players to unsettle Baker with hard tackling given his lack of bravery (6).

Given Beckford’s current drought combined with Becchio’s more imposing presence and slightly higher skillset, I’m keeping him in the lone striker role with a support target-man role to prevent him becoming isolated. In Merino’s absence, Kilkenny will be providing the attacking playmaker support from midfield, combining with Doyle’s defensive midfield role to give us balance. Snodgrass and Robinson are both being utilised as attacking wide midfielders. In defence, Bromby makes his debut as the cover defender to Campbell’s stopper with Sheehan and Crowe as automatic full-backs.

Tactically, I’m looking to control the game with a slower tempo, more accurate passing and less long shots, attempting to work our way through the Stockport defence without losing shape and have attempted to motivate the team by telling them to do it for the fans.

Half time

We’re holding possession well (82%) without not looking harried on the ball, and though we are misplacing some passes, this is as much to do with the skill level of League 1 players rather than poor tactics. Also, an 82% completion rate isn’t something to worry about.
Defensively we’ve looked pretty sound, with Bromby and Campbell combining well to prevent any shots on goal at all.
We don’t seem to be making enough in-roads offensively, though with 3 of our 4 chances on target, we’re looking more composed in front of goal.

Speaking to Mr Snodin, he reckons we’re in control of most areas, Campbell has been dominant, our passes are connecting well but our forwards are being outnumbered, which is pretty much obvious to all watching, so thanks for that input, Glynn.

No changes to the team made at half-time though Becchio is flagging a little (80% cond) so I’ll be reassessing at the hour mark. I’ve also told the team to close Baker down more than they are as he’s completing too many passes from around the pitch.
A “For the fans” team talk, again, with the exception of Campbell (pleased), Kilkenny (make a difference) and Becchio (prove a point) and I’ve added a “Work the ball into the box” touchline shout.

Second Half

  • 55″ With us still in control of possession and completing most passes, I switched tactics to standard and pass into space to see if we could mix things up a bit.
  • 60″ Stockport’s first shot comes courtesy of a direct free kick.
  • 67″ Beckford on for Becchio as an attacking deep-lying forward, attacking strategy
  • 72″ Added touchline shout to get ball forward. Game is becoming more open now, with Stockport finding space and holding more possession as we try to get the breakthrough.
  • 78″ With Robinson looking tired, Howson brought on at MR
  • 84″ Angel on for Rodri as we switch to 4-4-2. Angel playing as a poacher.
  • 90″ Nearly got caught out by a surging run and cross from Baker. Safe hands from Walker.
  • 91″ Angel denied a one on one by some good goalkeeping at the other end.

Conclusion

A match where our defensive line was solid and we showed our superiority in the middle of the park but probably too cautious for the first 70 minutes considering we were at home. We missed the creativity Merino gives us going forward but considering he’s out for the next 2 months, we’re gonna need to deal with that quickly. Angel looked promising for the last few minutes – fast and incisive and, on this performance, could be edging Beckford out as the small man in an attacking pair.

Glynn thinks I should have told the team it was disappointing but I’m letting my silence speak for itself on this occasion as the players already think I don’t give them enough credit.

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