Appy Says! - Oldham reaction
Talk about 'after the lord mayors show' or what eh!
Against Bournemouth things looked so good, this was improved upon by a fine showing at Colchester with some of the football on display as good as I have seen Pompey play in a long time.
Just a couple of weeks after that Cherries game, to kick-off our season, we returned to Fratton to welcome Oldham and slumped to a poor 1-0 defeat...
In spite of the defeat Appy felt we 'did ok' and only a set piece goal was, in his opinion, going to undo us: 'we did okay. We had a few good chances and made their keeper work early on.
'The keeper pulled off a couple of good saves and I couldn't really see them scoring a goal unless it came from a free-kick.'
Having failed to get that goal, and being increasingly frustrated by a well set-up Oldham side, we were eventually caught! Was this an own goal or not?
My view and thoughts were yes, and it seems Appy does too but some reports are not saying so.
Losing the ball in dangerous areas and 'giving cheap free kicks away' did not help us: 'we got frustrated by a team who set up with two banks of four and got their goal - that made life difficult for us.
'We just got sucked into giving cheap free-kicks away and letting long balls be pumped into our box time and time again. We've got to be clever and make sure we don't go to ground so easily.
'You only have to look at the goal itself. There weren't any of their players around the ball. It was a nothing ball into the box and Johnny's got into the right position, but hasn't got his feet sorted quickly enough.'
This will be 'taken on the chin' and we 'move on' now...
Obviously the referee needs a mention, he was bloody awful!
His (Appy's) view on him was: 'the game was probably a bit too big for him and it got out of his hands.
'I didn't see what went on with the red cards, so I can't really comment on that. But the players didn't seem to know what was going on.'
The ref has to be the worst ref that I have seen us have at Fratton - and I include our 'friend' Kevin Friend - he totally lost the plot, and was rarely in charge of it. I did not see much wrong with the two red cards, just a bit of a tussle in midfield, but having sent our guy off I was amazed that he was going to let Oldham get away with it!
Eventually he did not, but quite clearly sending off the wrong Oldham player compounded his day really! And that was after advice from the 4th official and an assistant!
Lets put it straight though the referee DID NOT cause us to lose this game, the fact that we were so poor - and Oldham not any better mind! - was the reason for this...
Appy is adamant that he will not change his style of play thought and feels that once that first win comes others will follow: 'we won't be changing the way we go about things. We certainly won't start crashing long balls into the opposition box. We'll stick with things until they come off.
'I said to the boys afterwards that when they get their first three points they'll want to have that feeling again.'
I agree, and always have done, that winning like losing becomes a habit so once we get that first win more will come. A couple of wins these turn into a couple of couples and so on but I did not think that we played anything like the kind of 'free flowing passing' football that I had seen against Bournemouth and Colchester!
Maybe I am being unfair but I thought that we were actually pumping it long and that seemed to be our game plan on the day, which was not working as the ball was either not being held up or was being cut out by the giant central defenders they had.
We had to be getting the ball wide and then cut this back into dangerous areas on the deck, but hey ho...
It is hard to be critical of Appy but I do feel you have to air a grievance if you have one and I think he got it wrong at the weekend, with the set-up - limited options or not - failing to work. From the games I have seen us play this season, which is all but Carlisle away, we have always looked more dangerous when we have got it into the wide areas and got the players to run at the defenders.
We did not do this nearly enough at the weekend...
Hey ho, you move on and prepare for our next game against high-flying Crawley next Sunday, which of course comes after the paint pot trophy tie with Bournemouth at Fratton on Tuesday night.
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