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Wimbledon (a) - League - 16th November 2002

Reports and reaction from the 2002-03 season as Walsall finished 17th in Division 1
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Wimbledon (a) - League - 16th November 2002

Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:29 pm

By MR D DOFFER ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 02:52 pm: Edit


1-1 h time

a right footed shot to level from junior

unbelievable, he does have another foot

come on my babies

By marko ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 02:57 pm: Edit

yeah, right foot from all of 4 yards!

By MR D DOFFER ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 03:01 pm: Edit

doffer here

a blast from the past

john kiester scores from 18 yards for margate to level v orient

good on ya john

surely it is our ex player is it ?????

By MR D DOFFER ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 03:29 pm: Edit

doffer here indoors

well done new signing

don"t know if it was a pen ?

but shite

saddlers 2-1 down

By MR D DOFFER ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 03:42 pm: Edit

doffer here indoors

well done my portugese man of awe,believe the pen by pollet was harsh ????

well done mad dog sonner 2-2


By MR D DOFFER ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 04:02 pm: Edit


can"t believe it, 4mins into injury time and the dons pick up the points




By SheffieldSaddler ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 04:54 pm: Edit

Totally gutted. When will we ever learn. And yet another 3 goals conceded. We seem to be conceding goals for fun at minute. What happened to keeping a clean sheet!
We deserved something from it according to reports can anyone who went verify this?
And no-one knows why Wimbledon got a penalty, sky said it was because Pollet was pushing down on someone but no-one else seems to know except for the ref!

By Geoff Whiting ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 04:56 pm: Edit

Ditto here Doffer, sad, depressed and pig sick !
The defensive blunders just go on and on.

Palace FROM Selhurst Park won it 4 minutes into injury time, now Wimbledon AT Selhurst Park win it 4 minutes into injury time - strange coincidence, but lessons aren't being learned.

It worries me that teams below us are starting to pick up points. Previously doomed Brighton win again, and points for others below us who managed draws today are beginning to apply the pressure.

Just heard CL interviewed on WM - he's clearly VERY unhappy with the referee today, but wouldn't be drawn into any detail. He hasn't yet been summoned to see the referee, but says he's got all night to wait for him. Whatever is said won't change the result though, obviously.

Gillingham next week is now absolutely crucial, just hope they don't concentrate too much on the opening of the new stand and get their heads well and truly focussed on winning the game.

By Surrey Saddler ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 05:37 pm: Edit

Just back from gloomy Thornton Heath. Once again we went down in a match we could well have won. The Dons were dominant in the first 10 or 15 minutes. We were playing three at the back, i.e. Pollet, Hay and Carbon and as time went by we came more into it. Bazeley was doing well on the right but it would have been good to see Wrack in a more attacking role on the left. He seemed to be covering for Carbon and playing in a very defensive way. They got one against the run of play but our heads held high and Junior scrambled an equaliser just before half time. We had plenty of posession in the second half and looked much the better side. Then they got a penalty. Too far away to see what it was all about but there were prolonged protest from our lads resulting in the usual yellow cards. The ref gave us a penalty when Jorge was felled and Sonner converted superbly. It seemed that the ref wanted to equal matters up!! So much for the first pen! We continued to push. O'Conner was superb throughout.Then what is coming to be the inevitable happened. Same old story I am afraid

By Stu ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 06:19 pm: Edit

I cant believe it. They were there for the taking, and I'm fast coming to the conclusion that we obviously aren't as good as we think we are.

Defensively, we were a shambles. First goal I felt was Walkers fault, and considering Carbon and Hays reaction I think they felt the same. They both had something to say to him. He seemed to wait for the ball to reach him inside the box, rather than come out and thump it. Instead, McAnuff's lightining pace got him in ahead of Walker and we're a goal down!
Second, I havent a clue. They didnt appeal, our players seemed livid. But apparently Pollett was pushing down on someone. If so, I have one question, does that rule not apply for Neil Shipperly?
As for the third. How can an aimless 50 yard punt cause havoc? Barras seemed to be outjumped, and the midfield didnt track back with Francis who thumped home!

We had no width at times, and looked lost on that big pitch. I cant believe we conceded three as we kept a 20 goal strike partnership very quiet today overall. Connolly did nothing.

Jorge was superb, again. Although maybe he should have taken his chance when coming in 1 on 1 on the angle!

Overall, we threw it away. Last minute goals have denied us 4 pts against Preston, Palace and today!

Final point, congratulations to the moronic fans standing behind me who responded with "Dingle, Dingle, Dingle" when some fans started singing "Ludo, Ludo, Ludo". They also criticised Corica and Wrack constantly, oh, and Junior. Its not Wracks fault he was having to play left wing back! Its not Coricas fault they didnt give him time on the ball, and it wasn't Juniors fault that everytime he got the ballt they seemed to have two men on him.

We've now conceded something like 37 goals in 19 matches I think! Thats relegation form! Fortunately, we can score goals to which is saving us. But we have to cut these stupid mistakes now, before they really start to cause us problems.

By cat3 ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Damn it! I think we need to reconfigurate our defense again after another miserable lost... A sweeper is a good idea to save a point today... What a bummer! We don't have that option available to us at this point...

Anyhow, we did made a come back after Sonner ties the game... Onward to next week I suppose, I doubted we will get relegated this year Stu, so don't over worry yourself there... We are in fine form... Cheers to all the Sads supporters...

By BS ( on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 08:18 pm: Edit

Maybe we need to sign a defensive coach on loan for a while. Normally you get the defense right and work on from there.
On another subject, I was having a discussion about Walkers height compared to Bartez - does anyone have the facts?

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 12:14 am: Edit

Very worrying that only Grimsby and Stoke have conceeded more goals than us. I just cannot understand how this can happen when we have a defensive squad of Carbon, Hay, Roper, Bazeley and Aranalde. With Pollet now from the Wolves. Basically all except Roper and Aranalde have come from clubs who are now in the premiership(Hay and Carbon) or have a decent first division status(Pollet and Bazeley).
The only thing I can put it down to is lack of concentration and sloppy mistakes. This needs to be sorted asap, you are always told that you build a decent team from the back. i.e one that conceeds no goals. At the moment we seem to be conceding for fun.
We have had 1 clean sheet in the last 8 league matches which is just not good enough. In those 8 matches we have conceeded 18 goals, an average of over 2 a match. So basically we need to score 3 goals a match to win, it just isnt going to happen is it!
I too, like Stu, am at a complete loss how we can stop this happening, but one thing for sure this needs sorting asap!
Over to you Mr Lee.....

By Stu ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 07:59 am: Edit

Cat3, I don't think we'll get relegated. Not a cat in hells chance (excuse the pun).

But, we did play with a back 3 today, rather than the usual 4-4-2. We've tried everything now, and nothing works. I question whether we are to gung-ho at times, but then again, we sat back and defended for the point yesterday, taking Corica off and bringing Simpson on when we got to 2-2. So even shoring up didnt do anything. Is it concentration? Is it personnel? I havent a clue.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 10:56 am: Edit

Until yesterday Stu I'd have agreed with you about relegation, though doubts were creeping in - most of us, me included, seem to think we are too good, play too well, to be a relegation side. Problem is the points total doesn't bear that out. Defeat yesterday got me feeling very worried and made me start looking seriously ahead for the first time.

Unlike last season, the second half of the season looks much harder than the first. Just look at the fixture list, it looks very tricky to me. Last season I predicted we'd stay up because the last ten or twelve games were mostly winable, but this season is just not the same. We've already played quite a lot of the "easy" home games and blown most of them - Reading, Bradford, Rotherham, Palace, plus the Preston draw - that's 13 points chucked away, not to mention the away points we've also blown. We should have been comfortable by now - trouble is we're obviously just a "should have" kind of side.

Of 14 remaining home games the only "easy" ones I see are Gillingham (maybe) Grimsby, Wimbledon(maybe), Sheffield United (maybe), Brighton and Millwall (maybe). The others are Wolves, Leicester, Watford, Burnley, Coventry, Pompey, Norwich and Derby.

In 13 remaining away games, we have to go to Pompey, Norwich, Ipswich, Forest, Reading, Sjoke, Bradford, Rotherham, PNE, Palace, Gillingham, Grimsby and Wednesday.

We've got 19 points now, we need 50+ to stay up, but I can't find anywhere near 31 points in the remaining games - my worst forecast says 40, that won't happen, but even with two or three extra wins that's only 46 or 49, still not enough.

The next four home games up to the new year are all on my "easy" list, we must get the 12 points, while we'll probably get nowt in the away games at Pompey Norwich and Ipswich. So, 31 points going into the new year might give us a chance, things might look different, but anything less than that and in my opinion it's back to Division 2 next May.

As I'm typing this it seems almost stupid to be talking this way so early, but I believe the writing is now firmly on the wall. Check it out for yourselves, get the fixtures out and forecast the results.

I hope CL is already doing the same !

Cheer me up guys, I'm feeling gutted right now.

By Ian Gittins ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 12:13 pm: Edit

We suffered really badly from losing Aranalde. Not so much for his talent, although I think he's OK, but because we had no replacement, necessitating a change of formation.

We played 3-5-2 with three hefty centre backs, Hay, Pollet and Carbon, all of whom seemed unsure what their role was in the system. They looked very hesitant. There was a lot of holding back rather than attacking the ball, allowing the opposing midfield to sweep forward unchallenged. Wimbledon could easily have scored more.

Bazeley and Wrack played wing-back, with limited success. Bazeley got forward a few times but Wrack, as somebody said above, seemed to be playung auxiliary left back. On the occasional times he got forward, he inevitably bottled taking on his man and played the safe sideways or backwards pass - does he realise he's supposed to be a winger?

O'Connor worked hard in midfield but Sonner was pretty anonymous and Corica flitted in and out, as is his wont. The most promising signs were up front, where Jorge looked full of running and ideas and worked like a Trojan, and Junior has the skill that makes you think he can always produce something. Our attack was as good as our defence was shoddy.

Which, I guess, if you look at the goals scored and conceded this year, is the story of our season.

Next game, I'd sooner put Simpson or a loan left back in the team than persist with 3-5-2, which didn't look to be working. I'd also put Herivelto on the bench so that, if we bring on Zdrilic in the second half, we can also bring on a genuine winger with the will and ability to get to the byline and cross, rather than a bits-and-pieces, percentage player like Wrack.

Finally, the referee today was utterly shocking. Their penalty was a mystery, we were pretty lucky that ours was given, and nobody had an inkling why he sent off the Wimbledon player after their winning goal.

Overall? A draw would have been a fairer result, but we can easily carry on losing if we defend as ineptly and without organisation as we did yesterday.

I think mine is as long as yours, Geoff. In a manner of speaking, that is.

By Stu ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 02:07 pm: Edit

We'll stay up without too much difficulty, without doubt. I have no questions about that, if only because we can score our way up to be honest. The performances aren't that bad, it just requires a little tweaking.

Add to that, the middle of the table sides are all beating each other, so a run of 3/4/5 victories sends you well into the middle of the table.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 02:38 pm: Edit

Stu, you can't imagine how much I'm hoping you're right mate.

If this was all down to how many goals we can score, I'd definitely be as optimistic as you. The problem I see though is, no matter how many we score, we often seem to somehow contrive to let in as many or more at the other end.

I'd also agree wholeheartedly that the performances aren't that bad, in fact I'd say they've been really good at times, but that's another thing that worries me now - that we've played well and yet still often failed to get three points on the board, and frequently not even one point.

Now we face potentially harder games as we approach the 2nd half of the season - what's going to change that's going to see us getting points to help us up the table ?

I'm not convinced - still very depressed.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 02:59 pm: Edit

Well I must admit I read most of Geoffs posts but there comes a time when you honestly must question what on earth he is talking about.
I cannot believe for one minute anyone can start looking at how many points we will be picking up in the remaining 27 matches of the season in order to avoid relegation!
How can you start predicting which are going to be "easy" ones at home when you dont know what situation these clubs will be in when we come to play them! Will they be on a good run, a bad run, will they need to points to get into the play offs, will they in mid-table with nothing to play for? So many IFs Geoff it is not even worth talking about after 19 bloody matches!
Sorry but there comes a point when I just cannot believe what I read of some people on this board.

By Jorge14 ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 05:37 pm: Edit

We played OK yesterday. But OK isn't enough, we need to play well, but there is no need to panic like that Geoff, and for once I'll agree with Sheff. We have played less than half the season and you are talking about which games we need to win to stay up. A lot can happen between now and May, and yes there are games in which we must win e.g. Grimsby, Brighton, Gillingham etc. All those who will be in and around the relegation zone at the end of the season but we cannot start to think about a relegation battle yet, we can't start to think about one until we are in one, and to be honest, I don't think we will be if we play to our best abilities.

Pollet did OK yesterday, but is he really the answer to our problems, yes, maybe he is for the one game where Ropes in suspended but he is nothing that we haven't got already apart from a little bit of experience. What we need is a left back who has played at a high level before. Hopefully that will be remedied this week, because without Zigor or another left back we lack balance.

There was one bloke yesterday who had a go a Pollett by shouting "Dingle" and "You're playing proper football now Dingle." And still people moan at Bazely for being an ex-Wolves player. He has been one of out best players this season, and sometimes I question peoples logic.

And again people criticise Wrack and Corica. Now Wracky gives 110% every game, but he is constantly played out of position but he never complains does he? So why does he still have some boo boys in the Saddlers fans. I thought that hopefully the part-timers who have a go at players constantly had been left behind at Leicester.

Overall, we played quite well. No one really let the side down and I got on TV. The only down point was the atmosphere (or lack of it) and the result. If we play like that in another game, we might win or get a draw, we turn it up a notch we will easily be in mid-table come May.

By Exile ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 05:39 pm: Edit

Sheff - it is an automatic reaction to (yet) another loss - we're now heading toward familiar territory where Moaning, Geoff and the boys (incl. me, on occasion!) can talk stats about relegation until we're safe again.

It is, after all, familiar territory...

I do find it incredible that we're leaking so many goals. What is heartening is that we're scoring at the other end of the pitch, so all is not lost. I thoroughly expect the defence to pick up. Don't forget we've chopped and changed the back 3/4/5 following injuries and suspensions, so the combinations are still settling down (I'm being charitable now).

Cheers all

By Paul G ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 05:51 pm: Edit

Have to agree with Sheffield there. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw someone trying to calculate our points total from the run in. Who the hell has ever been relegated in November? Even brighton have cause for optimism. The whole league may turn upside down after January. Leicester, Norwich, may finish half way if they lose 3-4 players to the premiership. We have matched sides like Derby and Coventry away.

I do worry that we may slip into trouble at some point this season. These defensive errors are undermining what we are hoping to achieve but I honestly feel we can go anywhere and expect a result this season. There are no definate defeats and I include Portsmouth in a fortnight. We can score a goal from anywhere and if Pollet settles into the team hopefully our defence will improve. There is no doubt the individual defenders we have are good enough - its a question of getting them to gel. Perhaps we suffer from Lee being an attacker as a player. He may need to curb his attacking instinct occaisonally and work on his defence.

But we will be OK. Geoff come back in April and post your run in prediction.

By hullsaddler ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 06:33 pm: Edit

I went yesterday with a friend to see Cambridge scrape a nil nil draw in the cup, at Scarborough.It reminded me of what we used to accept as the normal sort of place we turned out at.
I'm still convinced that we are capable of surviving at this level and not returning to where we have spent most of our history.
It depends whether you think that luck evens itself out over a season or not.Hopefully we will score in the 93rd minute to win at some point this season.
I am still confident that we have a side that is capable of finishing higher than any other in living memory.
Not as exciting as the last time I was at the McCain stadium ,by the way.

By Stu ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 06:53 pm: Edit

Jorge, you must have been sitting really close to me. Those morons were sitting two rows behind me, over my right shoulder. I couldn't believe what tripe they were coming out with. Why bother coming if you just gonna pick out and moan at 4 of our starting team (Pollett, Bazeley, Corica, Wrack), its not as if Wimbledon is a close game, its a bloody awkward ground to get to from Walsall.

By Wyrley Saddler ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 08:19 pm: Edit

The problem with us is we cannot string 3 wins together on the run like our rivals. Teams play against us struggling then go to win matches and we find teams below us suddenly mid-table or above. We need to address the problems NOW, or we will find ourselves up against it once again. To all those who say we are too good to go down, results speak for themselves and at the monent we are relegation bound on our current form.
Does Jimmy Walker ever look like saving a penalty.
At Blackburn it seemed just token jestures in trying to save their penalties,and the same yesterday, I know he aint the biggest keeper but jesus christ jim, make an effort.

By dave_hawkes ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 08:22 pm: Edit

Haven't been posting on here much because I've hardly been to any games this season unlike the last few years. But I couldn't stay away any longer...

I do think we will stay up, but not if we keep playing this way. Yes, we are playing good football and have some good players, but we are not picking up the points we deserve.

I don't know what's worse, playing crap like we did under Graydon towards the end and losing, or playing well like we seem to be and still losing matches.

It's good to see the fans still have confidence in the side, because the players don't seem to be suffering from a dip in confidence either. I watched our goals on the TV today and Jorge and Junior looked the business up front, Sonner took his penalty well, but defensively we let it slip again.

Time to turn the focus away from 'good football, good players, too good to go down' to 'real chance that we still might go down, need to grind out the results and fast' I think.

Lets hope the opening of the new stand coincides with a kick-start to our season. I suppose the thing to remember is that we are struggling a little, but were not in the relegation zone and there's plenty of others (Sjoke, Grimsby, Brighton, Bradford, Weds) who are in there with us. We came back from nowhere to stay up last year, and I fully believe we will come good this year too.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 08:28 pm: Edit

Sheff, Paul G and exile, thanks lads, I needed that.

I was just saying out loud what I was thinking and putting it up for discussion, that's what the message board is for and well, I DID admit that I felt stupid thinking this way so soon, but it was just how I was feeling last night, totally down and gutted, maybe a reaction to yet another unbelievable last minute cave-in. I also think my pessimism may be brought on by Neil R. doing his this season/last season comparison on another site, and seeing we are slipping behind where we were at this time last season, plus looking at this year's run in compared with last season's.

I feel better over this having got it out and got your reactions.

We'll just wait and see how this progresses, but I'm still desperate for four consecutive home wins out of the four coming up before the new year.

By 4two ( on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 11:25 pm: Edit

The way i see it is....

We will win some matches clearly...Like Milwall...Stoke (it wasnt that bad)

We will win some games closley
Sheff Wed...

We will get turned over...by better sides

Or we will chuck it away
the rest of them

We will stay up. Every now and again we will give a side a good going over and vice-versa.

We are good enough to stay up.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 10:21 am: Edit

I see that Geoff has received some criticism on the site for taking a pessimistic view of how well we are doing this season. I think that those who have been saying such things need to take off the rose tinted glasses. Our performances, in terms of results, badly need to be improved if we are not going to get dragged into another relegation dogfight. Grimsby’s and Brighton’s improved form are a danger sign and it is only the form of Stoke, Wednesday, Ipswich and Bradford that is keeping us clear at the moment.

I put a comparison on thesaddlersfc of how we are performing this season in comparison with last after the Preston game, exchanging the results against the promoted sides with those that came down from the Premier and the promoted sides from the 2nd with the relegated teams. I've just updated it and, from being 5 points behind after Preston, we are now 6 behind.

We still also have games against the form teams to come, in Portsmouth (two draws last season) and Norwich, who we took 4 points off last term!

By RushallSaddler ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 11:03 am: Edit

I've been looking at the fixtures after xmas and to me it looks like our easier games are away from home, ie Grimsby, Sheff Wed, Sjoke City, Gillingham, Rotherham, Bradford etc, as opposed to the Dingles, Leicester, Portsmouth, Norwich, Cov , Derby etc at home, I think away from Bescot is where we will pick up most of the wins we will need for safety as CL will have the defence sorted out by then, also with those fixtures in mind it makes the next 4 home games upto and including boxing day 'MUST WIN' games (gills, Grimsby, Dons and Sheff Utd)

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 11:14 am: Edit

I agree that the defensive problems can be sorted and that should make the situation better. Every home game is very important, though.

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 05:02 pm: Edit

Interesting that Geoff is getting stick for being pessimistic and thinking our forthcoming fixtures bode ill. Round about this time last year I was getting stick for being optimistic, I think only Popper was in agreement at the time that we would/could stay up. Much of the reason for my optimism was our last ten games, which always looked full of points. I haven't looked at fixtures that closely this year but Geoff presumably has.

My main thought is that we should be doing loads better with the quality of players we now have. There is no Darko Mavrak, Tom Curtis, Carlos Andre or Jason Brissett, players who were out of their depth in our last two seasons at this level. We have better players than at any time in my 31 years of watching, and perhaps at any time in our history.

We need to turn things round quickly to narrow the gap between our entirely reasonable level of expectation and our actual achievement.

Great chips on saturday though, spoilt for choice at Selhurst for good eating places.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 05:44 pm: Edit

Shifnal, I wasn't on this board a year ago (yes lads, I know, you call it "the good old days") so I had no idea you were talking optimistically back then 'cos of those "easy" last ten games of the season. Recently I've said on here or elsewhere (not sure which) that :

(a) I too was very optimistic last season, for exactly the same reason that you've mentioned now

BUT that

(b) I don't get the same feeling for the last ten this time round. And yes my comments were after I'd had a good look at the remaining fixtures, all 27 of them.

The last ten are 5 home 5 away :

15/03 Home Burnley
18/03 Away PNE
22/03 Away Palace
29/03 Home Coventry
05/03 Home Portsmouth
12/03 Away Gillingham
19/03 Home Norwich
21/03 Away Grimsby
26/03 Home Derby
04/04 Away Sheff Wednesday

I know they're way ahead, and that all teams will have changes in form, but I'd still say this collection of ten look much harder on paper than last season's.

What it means is we need to turn it round very quickly, starting with 4 home wins out of the next 4 up to the new year. I dont think we can afford any more slip ups at home against the "beatable" sides, nor can we wait for a last minute points haul over those last ten games, and anyway if we do get to that stage we'll all be biting our fingers down as far as our elbows.

We DO have a much better group of players this season and yes, I agree Shifnal, they're almost certainly the best Saddlers team I've ever seen in my 45+ years of watching them, but it's time they started to prove it with more than just good performances, we need the points to improve our league position.

By dave_hawkes ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 07:06 pm: Edit

The plus point is that despite messing up far too often at home this season and dropping silly points, we're still not in the relegation zone and we are quite comfertably away from the relegation zone too. I know it's easy to say 'the teams below are winning, we've got hard games' and you'll see on Walsall Mad that I agree with what you say on there Geoff, but as long as we are not in the relegation zone I wont be stressing too much.

The alarming thing for me is that we are proving we can match anyone in this division, but aren't getting the rewards because of silly errors. Just take things 4 or 5 games at a time. If we're still struggling come January 1st, then I'd be a little more stressed, because the home games look very tough (but bloody attractive for fair-weather fans like meself) but I don't think we'll go down.

Maybe now people are realising that we could actually be relegated, we will get out of this 'good enough for top ten' because good performances don't always equal 3 points, and the table doesn't lie. Scraping together a few 1-0 victories is what we need to do for the next few weeks I think.

By RushallSaddler ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 08:03 pm: Edit

Geoff, it's like I said in my earlier post, our post xmas away games look much more winnable than our home games, with the four pre xmas home games (inc boxing day) the most winnable, we really could do with winning all four, because I can't really see us getting very much from our next three away games (Pompy, Norwich & Ipswich) and about your last ten games - I think we'll win at lease five of those, possible 7 as I fancy us turning over Portsmouth and Norwich as over the years we have a very good home record against both teams,

By DUS ( on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 08:13 pm: Edit

Its pretty bloody obvious really, we're letting in too many at our end, its in the figures, it cant be argued. How can you score 2 and 3 goals regularly and lose??? We have to tighten up at the back and the jobs done. We're all saying the same thing. And as for relegation, no way.

By Stu ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 08:20 am: Edit

Good start for Andy Bishop last night, scored the 2nd for Kiddy at Torquay. And it was his shot that was saved and the rebound put in that led to Kiddys first.

By Geordiesaddler ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 08:47 am: Edit

Just to put things in perspective regarding the relative strengths of the squad between this year and last. This time last season Tony Barras was top scorer, now he's fifth choice centre half. The feeling I had this time last year was that we were lucky to have as many points as we had and that our limitations would catch up with us, as they did. Just feel at the moment that some of the senior pros' need to stand up and be counted. Matt Carbon, not for the first time, was ball watching for the third goal on Saturday (which wasn't off-side), the penalty was a penalty, and the first goal was too easy for words. Also found the protests after the penalty way over the top - two more unecessary bookings. Hope Collin Lee will address these issues as these are things we have control over, unlike the form of referees which is out of our hands.

By popperpancake ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 01:07 pm: Edit

That's why it's so frustrating this season. Far better players at the club..far better performances....but not far more points. How many points did we have after the same number of games last year? I still think we will move up the league and get comfortable in mid table. Agree with Geoff (i think it was u) about next few home games. We need to pick up some points. Don't know if its just habit but i always check the results of teams like brighton, grimsby, stoke, sheff weds etc and look at how far we are out of the relegation zone as oppose to anything else.

By RushallSaddler ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 01:23 pm: Edit

Not sure how many points we had at the same stage last season, but i think a good yardstick is boxing day, after last seasons win over Crewe I think we had 25 or 26 points, so if we can win at least three of those four home games we'll be ahead of the game, also I've got a sneaky feeling about Portsmouth next week - i think we could cause an upset, oh there goes that pig again flying past my window, no seriously I think we have a squeak of a draw.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 01:43 pm: Edit

I dont do this normally, but this is the gist of the article on thesaddlersfc.tk:

For those who missed the original column, the method used is quite simple. You take last years results and compare them to this year, with the three teams that came down taking the place of the promoted teams and the three that came up doing the same with the relegated teams.
On that basis, you can have a look at how we are doing this year, compared with last.


Ipswich (H) 0 2 Points 0
Wolves (A) 1 3 Points 0
Shef Utd (A) 1 1 Points 1
Nott For (H) 2 1 Points 3
Brighton (A) 2 0 Points 3
Reading (H) 0 2 Points 0
Watford (A) 0 2 Points 0
Bradford (H) 0 1 Points 0
Rothm (H) 3 4 Points 0
Millwall (A) 3 0 Points 3
Shef W (H) 1 0 Points 3
Derby (A) 2 2 Points 1
Burnley (A) 1 2 Points 0
Preston (H) 3 3 Points 1
Coventry (A) 0 0 Points 1
Palace (H) 3 4 Points 0
Stoke (H) 4 2 Points 3
Leicester (A) 0 2 Points 0
Wimbledon (A) 2 3 Points 0
Total 19


Albion (H) 2 1 Points 3
Wolves (A) 0 3 Points 0
Shef Utd (A) 1 0 Points 3
Nott For (H) 2 0 Points 3
Stockport (A) 2 0 Points 3
Barnsley (H) 2 1 Points 3
Watford (A) 1 2 Points 0
Bradford (H) 2 2 Points 1
Rothm (H) 3 2 Points 3
Millwall (A) 2 2 Points 1
Shef Wed (H) 0 3 Points 0
Birmingham (A) 0 1 Points 0
Burnley (A) 2 5 Points 0
Preston (H) 1 2 Points 0
Coventry (A) 0 1 Points 0
Palace (H) 2 2 Points 1
Stockport (H) 1 0 Points 3
Man City (A) 0 3 Points 0
Wimbledon (A) 2 2 Points 1
Total 25

By Paul G ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 02:04 pm: Edit

The whole club seems to have made a quantum leap forward this season. Quality of players, quality of infrastructure (video room, training facilities for players etc), and quality of ground. The quality of the squad is now such that there are NO games that are certain defeats. Last year there were several matches where damage limitation was the prime objective. Remember how the club seemed to treat a 0-3 at maine Road as acceptable. Like Rushall above I even think we could get something at Pompey.

I can not deny that we have fewer points than we should. But I also can not deny that the overall quality of the squad is so much better than last year. We can score goals anywhere. It just comes down to tightening up at the back. We will not go a whole season making defensive errors. At some point the defence will click and we will most likely go on a long unbeaten run.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 02:48 pm: Edit

I agree Paul. The problem now does seem to be at the back and that can be solved. The spirit is fine, judging by the way we fought back twice on Saturday. Trouble is, I can remember lots of teams who were "too good to go down".

By popperpancake ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 03:09 pm: Edit

I'm just glad people are now accepting it aint all aranalde's fault. At Last. Team game...team responsibility.

By Stu ( on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 03:43 pm: Edit

It was never all Aranalde's fault, but I still put my hand on my heart and say he has made more individual mistakes that have led to goals than anyone else. And by that I mean silly mistakes, losing possession, trying to lob the ball over the opposition players head (Brown vs Sheff Utd last season), letting players cut inside him and giving them space.

Although, I'll also stand up and say before his injury, he'd been playing very well indeed (apart from that stupid penalty he gave away at Blackburn). And i do think we miss him desperately as an attacking option.

By JPD ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 01:24 am: Edit

So Neil, according to your reckoning we are very much in the poo.
Luckily there are some really bad teams below us.
I was a bit dissappointed when Halsall was given the coaches job. Not because he lacks talent or can't do the job - far from it probably - but just because it always seems to give a club a lift when a new manager or coach comes in.
We missed a great chance of getting a pschological boost there and we need every boost we can get.
19 points just isn't good enough at this stage.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 07:09 am: Edit

Not completely in the poo yet, but we do need to pick up. What I mentioned in my article as well is that we still have to play the two form teams in the Division yet, in Portsmouth and Norwich, and last year we took 4 points off Norwich and 2 off Portsmouth.
It's just a shame also that we haven't met any of the better teams on a slump, such as Ipswich and Wolves, when, at another point in the season, we could have got something from both games!

By Dave Roe ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 11:58 am: Edit

I wonder if the Grimsby Rivals site has set up their relegation calculator yet ?

It was the only thing giving me hope last season !!!!

By Stu ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 12:05 pm: Edit

I'm just amazed that people are mentioning relegation already. We're only half way into the season, and its not as if we've got 10 points and don't look like getting much else!!!

I said last season we wouldnt go down because of our run in, I refuse to even look at the run in at the moment as there is still 1/2 a season left...

Talk about panicking. Worse than me nan!

By RushallSaddler ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 12:31 pm: Edit

Neil, we may have got 4 and 2 points respectviey off norwich and pompy, but what were their league positions at the time we played them, I seem to remember Pompy struggled most of the season and norwich came with a wet sail late on and just scraped into the playoffs. When we play them over the next month they're both top three and playing rather well, still think we'll beat both of them at home in the new year though.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 01:06 pm: Edit

That's what I mean!

By Mike T. ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 04:21 pm: Edit

Can't talk about the away games but as I recall Pompey came to Bescot on a Tuesday evening, scoring goals for fun and in the top 3 on the back of a 6/7 match unbeaten run. Sir Ray switched to a 3-5-2 formation (or 5-3-2) and it was an uninspiring 0-0 draw with not a lot happening until Prossie whatisname came on for them in the last 15 mins.
I think we beat Norwich 2-0 at home (but they hit the woodwork about 4 times much to Delia's displeasure ) Carbon had an interesting battle with Roberts. I believe Norwich also came on the back of a decent run at the time.
Having said all that Pompey have a very different team now (and Manager) and I would settle for another point from Fratton Park this year!!

By Geoff Whiting ( on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 08:30 pm: Edit

I saw Pompey play at Molineux in the 1-1 draw the other week, and frankly if they play as they did that night I think they'll blow us away, I don't think our defence will cope with their pace up front which was electric. I know the Wolves claimed they should have won, but I don't agree, Pompey should have scored more goals that night from the chances they created and Wolves rode their luck at times, though they did finish the game stronger.

It doesn't worry me too much if we lose at Pompey though, don't get me wrong I'd obviously love us to get something, but what I mean is that as I expect us to lose there, it won't be a major disappointment if it turns out that way (unless the winner comes in the 94th minute as usual, in which case I'll be suicidal again).

What worries me more about the Pompey game is the number of injuries we might come away with, I mean they were good when they'd got the ball, but absolute dirty b******s when they hadn't, remember Wolves lost Blake and Ndah with bad injuries that night, and I can assure you it wasn't through tripping over their shoelaces ! And there could have been more from some of the awful challenges that were going in. If we come away with a narrow defeat, not too much harm to the goal diff., and a full complement of fit players, I think that'll be OK for me.

By Tim Wilkes ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 08:10 am: Edit

I see the Pompey game is all ticket....anybody know how many we have or if we are likely to sell out, cos I can't make it up to Bescot this weekend?

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 08:15 am: Edit

Yes we have 450. They are now on general sale. I would have thought we would sell them all to be honest.

By Stu ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 09:07 am: Edit

They've changed the ticketing arrangement, I dont think they're on general sale till Monday now.

My old man got me a couple of tickets on Tuesday morning, and they said we'd sold about 150 by then. They weren't expecting them to go on general sale till Monday.

And, as Sheff says, we've only got 450! I'd hope we sell them out.

By Tim Wilkes ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 09:48 am: Edit

Aaaagh...time to send an early Xmas e-mail to the Ticket Office and start praying.

By Tim Wilkes ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 11:43 am: Edit

Wahoooo.....oh the power of prayer!

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