Obviously the first thing that became apparent was that Crouch wasn't there - probably tells us all we need to know about him.
Distin was there, although he did look particularly lazy. Read into that what you will - just pre-season slowdown or a continued lack of interest in the club? Who can say. Him and Kaboul did look very solid as a central pair though, I think they could very happily pair up in our starting 11 this year.
The trialist on the left of defence ('Bhasera' says the News - I'll have to take their word for that!) looked to me VERY exciting. In the Glen Johnson mould of an attacking full back that went forward and beat players. Certainly not the finished product but on the evidence of this worth a contract.
Paul Hart chose, rather curiously, to solve the selection problem on the right of midfield by not playing anyone there at all. Maybe someone can correct me here but to me, Marc Wilson was (fairly successfully) playing in two positions - he took his natural role at right back, but pushed forward to right midfield as well, like a wing back. Did a fairly good job - half decent going forward, very difficult to get past in defence.
I was really disappointed by Matty Ritchie - like everyone else I'd heard great things about him but to be honest he was bullied out of the game. Real slip of a lad, about 4' tall, and Havant barely let him get a touch. When he was on the ball he did look dangerous, and he whipped in a few good crosses, but anyone expecting him to break into the first team soon will be disappointed. One for the future still.
Mullins and Hughes were solid enough, as usual, but the real pick of the midfield bunch was Basinas - had a fantastic half. Comfortably our best player - fantastic in the tackle and picked out any danger in midfield before it had a chance to develop, and showed real class in creating play - his passing was superb and he picked out players so well. Someone behind me in the stands said he should be captain, and it's not at entirely unrealistic choice - he absolutely bossed the game, total centrepoint of the team. Our creative nucleus creating the move going forward, and the first line of defence when we lost the ball.
Nugent was hard working but ineffectual, Niko simply ineffectual. To be honest I can't really tell you much about the second half - Obviously the only players I recognised were Linvoy, Diop, and Ashdown, so I wasn't sure what players were doing what! Soon got to know this Bopp chap - Took his goals very well but nothing special I don't think, made a lot of mistakes.
What will Paul Hart take from his first game in full control then?
The most immediate problem with the team is a lack of clinical striker. All this talk of having 'targets lined up for a while' by Storrie makes me think Edin Dzeko might still be a possibility, but perhaps that's just my wishful thinking. Him or not, we need Premiership strikers, we need two of them, and we need them fast.
Next we need to look at wingers - the decision simply not to field a right midfielder at all was fairly telling - we simply have no one to play there.
Basinas absolutely oozed class and if he has the legs to play 90 minutes in the Premiership (which I think was an issue raised when we saw him before) then he should walk into our team every week - the centre of everything we did and hardly put a foot wrong.
The trialist we saw play at left back looked to have a great game - we'll need to see more of him and against a higher standard of opposition, but I think we definitely have something there.Written by Battenberg
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