Sunday, 25 August 2013

AFCB must sort out their away days

"No need to panic," says Eddie Howe. "We know where we are." Sadly it is not a rosy picture when it comes to playing away for AFCB. Two games away and 11 goals conceded is not what a successful season can be based on. While there are mitigating factors in the preferred team not being able to play, others have to be able to step in or the squad simply isn't strong enough.

Eddie now knows the away form really is a problem
 that he must solve quickly. 

For Huddersfield's first goal Surman and MacDonald failed to close down Hogg who slipped in his pass to Hammill with Fraser getting on the wrong side of him. Harte was left flatfooted and neither he, MacDonald or Fraser got a tackle in, while Allsop left a pleasing gap at his near post post for Hammill to find. 

The second goal was also a shocker in that there was no left back when the ball first crossed the area and while Fraser tried to cover the second cross, it was met easily by Vaughan with Harte looking on bemused with his feet hardly getting off the ground. 

Arter completely backed off for the third, with MacDonald and Surman out of position and Patterson given loads of time to thread a pass through to Vaughan. We also saw why Tommy Elphick had possibly not started a game before the Huddersfield match and why he probably would not have started this game, unless Elliott Ward was called away for family reasons. If you are not match fit at this level and you are playing against a top striker you will be found wanting. 

The fourth goal was just a clumsy challenge by Francis on Jake Carroll in the box but it follows the silly free kick he gave away against Watford for their second goal the other week. By the time Adam Clayton got the fifth, Huddersfield probably thought they could try their luck from anywhere and having left MacDonald far behind Clayton swung his left foot to devastating effect.

As Eddie Howe said: "We conceded some poor goals." While it might have been better if AFCB had scored first, three nil down at half time, away from home is a dire situation to be in. AFCB simply did not cope with the attacking threat which was more clinical than they faced last season.

Howe's response was that it was "frustrating." I suspect that a number of the things that the team did wrong were discussed and perhaps even worked on after the Watford game but they have reoccurred. Eddie pointed out that the club is "on a learning curve to improve in all areas". While he may not be surprised by the type of opposition they faced they did fail to combat it for the second away game.  Brian Flynn was looking on for Doncaster Rovers and will have seen plenty to encourage his thoughts ahead of next Saturday's game.

On a happier note Eddie was very pleased with Ryan Fraser who continues to be a highlight with his positive and direct running. It is worth also noting that the second half had a scoreline of 2:1 and was not such a capitulation, the main problems happened in the first half. AFCB were left to play catch up again.

As many have suggested, I do wonder why AFCB is not set up with the back four protected by Richard Hughes sitting in front of it and why there is not five in midfield from the start and just the one up front when playing away. If the team can get to half time with a scoreline of 0:0 in their next game I don't see that as a bad thing. Keeping the opposition out is surely where we have to start off and if it means playing with a slightly less attacking line up then perhaps that is how AFCB should go for a while when playing away. At least it would give us 45 minutes to see what the oppositions strengths are while still remaining in the game. 

More importantly, AFCB can't give good players lots of space and time on the ball and they have to defend more stoutly with players not being so far out of position. From what I could see on the highlights, Howe could have take off any number of the players at half time, as AFCB just were not defending well enough together as a team.

The reassuring words from Eddie Howe were that the team will stick together. "We'll respond as we always do," he said. The aim is to react well on Wednesday and then on Saturday at Doncaster. "We'll put it to bed and learn from it, there's no need to panic," Howe insisted.   

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