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Boro v Preston

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Original Fat Bob
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Howson makes his 200th appearance for Boro tonight he’s been a great signing for us.

 

2 0 to Boro for me !

OFB


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Andy R
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An unconvincing start from Boro but we grew into it, got a goal, and by the end of the half we were popping it around like a BTEC Man City.

We’ve regularly tailed off in the second half of games this season so this is far from over but encouraging signs so far overall.


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werdermouth
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If you have the proverbial game of two halves, then that was a half of two quarters where Boro have come out fractionally ahead of Preston at the interval. Preston started well and Boro couldn't get a kick as they were passed out of the game but Wilder's team gradually got themselves into the game and put Preston on the back foot. Boro played some good football at times and when Howson took over corner duties from Paddy provided a much better delivery, which the released McNair headed home. The half ended with Boro emulating Preston's start as they played keep ball as they looked to fashion a second goal - Watmore almost managed but his strike was saved well. Let's see if Boro push on in the second half or will they run out of steam again?


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Andy R
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Well I don’t know how Boro have managed to lose that.

Fair enough, we weren’t cutting them open at will but we dominated the ball for spells and got plenty of shots off, looking comfortable until the equaliser.

The winning goal was an absolute shocker but I can forgive Sol Bamba. It’s the first time he’s put a foot wrong.

The game was crying out for substitutions but Wilder didn’t have anything on the bench unfortunately.

You can see the progress in the approach but we’re lacking a bit of quality in a few areas.

Still, we should never have lost that.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Andy R

werdermouth
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Well if the first half was a half of two quarters then the second half was a half of two good thirds and a very bad third. Sadly, Boro not for the first time this season contrived to lose a game they should have won. They had played some good stuff but that final ball or shot was missing, which surely a second goal would have given Wilder three points.

It's beginning to look like this season will see Boro with just too much to do to bridge the gap - though the performance was for the most quite encouraging and it was good to see the team play decent football. It's the mistakes that are killing us and the failure to take chances when on top seem to be always punished.

Nevertheless, after just two games Chris Wilder has shown that the players are capable of passing the ball and playing some good interchanging football - they just haven't got the killer instinct and the club probably need two or three better players. Maybe Payero could be one and who knows if Siliki will ever be match fit. Another striker is a must.


Boroexile
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Welcome to MFC Mr Wilder.  Now he can be in no doubt about the challenge he faces.  

That was a game that any team with pretensions to be up around the top third of the league had to win and we lost. In my opinion we lost because we lacked any real sense of urgency throughout the game and some of our play was slow and pedestrian. As a result we failed to increase our lead and then when Preston upped the pace towards the end of the game we looked very vulnerable at the back and conceded two poor goals. You could just see it coming.

if we are going to be anywhere near the top half of the league, never mind the top third, I think the team needs to show more urgency, pace and energy. I didn’t see many, if any, signs that Wilder has changed anything much and while I accept it is early days I would have expected to see a bit his influence tonight.  He needs to have some impact soon though because we are steadily slipping down the league, now 15th and as a lot of the teams around us are playing their midweek games tomorrow we will probably slip further.


Andy R
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@werdermouth

Agree Werder re needing a few quality players to make this work. We’re ok at the back (not sure about in goal) and can get better when Fry returns. I still think Howson should move back into defence too but no major concerns with the back line despite the goals conceded.

The wingbacks fall a little bit short to me. Not too long ago we had Fabio and Christie in the squad and those two would walk into this team. I think we need to find a couple of specialists.

I would describe central midfield as honest but not a lot more. Like you, I hope Payero can make the difference there.

Up front I think we’re missing a bit of class. Sporar looks dangerous enough. Watmore works his socks off and can produce sporadic magic but it’s all a bit frantic. We need someone who can knit it together in my view.

There was still more than enough to have won tonight though.


Philip of Huddersfield
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Forget the number of corners, shots on target, shots off target etc, etc, this result was a disaster. No point on commenting on individual performances as it’s the team performance which matters most.

Preston were even made to look a little better than poor.

Preston’s first goal was rubbish marking and it was noticeable that as the Boro players walked back to restart the game , their heads were down and no player was urging the  others to get going again. No leadership on the pitch. Then Preston we’re gifted a second goal. That was it - game over.

So it’s 1 point out of 6 for the new manager. Not good enough in performances or points.

Where does the team go from here?  No idea.  Forget this season- would we take mid table now ?   Do we care after tonights shambles ?

I was going  watch Boro and the local team here at Huddersfield, on Saturday but not after that shambles of a performance.

I think I’ll continue to be an armchair supporter and enjoy proper players and proper teams in the Premiership- even the bottom teams are miles better than  what I’ve witnessed tonight and in previous games.

Philip of Huddersfield 


Redcar Red
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A game of two half's including the Referee who robbed Preston in the first half and then robbed us in the second. The only consistency in officiating games in this League is the inconsistency of the standard of Refereeing and Linesmen (I can't call them Assistants because quite frankly they aren't, they are just a carbuncle on the sidelines most of the time who get the most obvious decisions wrong or the very one who they are supposed to be assisting ignores them). Imagine if these incompetents were on MOTD each Saturday night or Champions League or Internationals? Roy Keane would be having a cardiac arrest.

Leaving the seeming irrelevancy of the Officials aside this squad is very clearly unfit and can't play for more than 45 minutes. We ended the first half like the Harlem Globe Trotters and played the second half like Les Dawson's Roly Poly's. How so many Players can literally disappear in front of almost 20,000 people is incredible, it's a wonder NASA don't have a box at the Riverside wondering how Teesside has managed to keep it's very own Area 51 under the radar for so long.

We did see glimpses of what Wilder is trying to achieve in the first half with some of the best football I have seen from a Boro side in years but the second half showed Chris Wilder the harsh reality of what he has to work with. Sol Bamba puts in death defying challenges and rescues us time and again but then has a brain fart two games running. Sporar has great ball control but hangs onto the ball for far too long and kills momentum stone cold. Tav still clearly believes he has a great future in the game after his obligatory lung bursting run to get a defensive tackle in but that done, then resorts to anonymous sub par mediocrity for the rest of the game.

Daniels has distribution like a ten year old paper boy on his first Sunday morning, struggling with all the supplements he consequently just dumps them anywhere to solve the problem. Bola needs Jones on the same side of the pitch to create something and someone to link up with, he also needs to give Tav his shooting boots back. Having said that Jones was my MOM out right as at least he defended and tried to create. Hernandez dribbled frequently but a lot of one year olds do that with greater effect and can at least produce an end result by filling their own nappies. What Hernandez delivered did however stink just as much.

On the few positives Paddy done well as did Crooks before he got crocked and as mentioned Jones. Peltier also done OK, we certainly lost something when he went off. Howson done well in parts but his failure to put a slide rule pass through for Watmore in the first half after a great run was frustrating. Watmore also done well in bursts but like Sporar he unfortunately likes too many touches instead of trusting his instincts and just hit it or toe poke it first time.

Rome wasn't built in a day but when Players struggle with the basics, i.e. Paddy yelling at Sol to hoof it into the opposition half yet he irrationally plays it across his own 18 yard box defies logic and all Coaching basics.

Tomorrow I would make the Players watch that second half on a loop for 8 hours, strapped into chairs with their heads in restraints, unable to turn away or even blink come to that. Assuming that is probably an affront to their human rights and somehow illegal I would take them to Hutton Road to run 500 laps around the field avoiding the dog dirt where it still possible.  The Field is no more but the dog dirt still prevails. I'm guessing that Wilder and Scott will have a growing January shopping list based on those second 45 minutes.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Redcar Red

Ken Smith
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All in all I thought that Preston deserved their win. Their defence was very  strong though admittedly fortunate at times, but Boro helped them with wayward shooting. Boro’s defence though has been a complete shambles for weeks now. Once Preston equalised Boro proved that they haven’t got that bounce back ability that I wrote about earlier and it was fairly evident from there on that Preston did have it, and it was no surprise to me that they would score a second. Whether Boro’s players aren’t fit enough I don’t know, or whether they soon feel sorry for themselves is more likely. In my opinion some of them lack character or grit when the opposition score. They showed it in the first match of the season at Fulham, but since then nada, zilch, etc. Huddersfield’s home form is fairly consistent, and I think that another defeat is looming on Saturday as Boro fall as low as 18th which would equal their lowest position this season.


exmil
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I think that CW hit the nail on the head on his post match and media interviews, too many players do not play as a team and as he said they try to be glory boys. Halftime we had control of the game then the players went off script, thinking the game was won and decided they (individually) could win the game. I like what he said, if they can’t play as part of a team, playing for each other, then they can leave or sit on the bench (or play in the U23 matches as an alternative) but not in the first eleven. I see a lot of changes, not just in January but the summer also, if players are not willing to buy into Wilder’s ethics of a team.

Come on BORO.


jarkko
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@redcarred A very good summary of the match, mate. And I love the language and the metaphors, me. Thank you, RR. 

Actually we played quite well for nearly an hour - especially the first half (except the first 10 mins). Preston had only two shots on goal in the whole match but they scored with both efforts.

The first PNE goal was bad marking by Boro but very similar to McNair's goal, too. So 1-1 in typical Championship style.

The second goal was comical. Other than that, Bamba was good but the second Preston goal was really poor desision making. McNair was standing still and Bamba didn't hoof the ball away. A basic error - perhaps inexperience I would say as a sixty-year-old defender still playing regularly!

I felt sick after the final whistle. But now, on Wednesday morning,  i can see nothing is lost yet. I think someone said Wilder went four games without winning at Sheffield United when he started. And they went up as Champions.

Plenty of matches left. It takes time as RR said. Up the Boro!

 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by jarkko

werdermouth
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My observations agree with Jarkko's view of the game in that after Preston's opening ten minutes Boro played some good football and were well on top until the last quarter of the game. I could definitely see the influence of Chris Wilder on the team as there was far more possession and better passing and interchange between players.

Whether it was the lack of fitness that saw Boro's performance level fall off or perhaps Preston made some telling substitutions that changed the dynamics of the game - possibly a combination of both.

As to the charge that some players were playing as individuals - well the main culprit appeared to be Hernadez as RR posted eloquently earlier, who seemed intent on beating the whole Preston team at times rather than pass the ball. Also Tav seemed to drift into wanting to change the game on his own but failed in his execution - I actually thought he'd had his best game of the season against Millwall but did little of note yesterday.

Bamba's clearance that led to the second goal looked a tired one and maybe it is asking a lot for him to play 90 minutes twice a week - though there's not too many options at the moment. Indeed, Boro's bench appeared to be a mix of the misfits, the unfit and the inexperienced - bringing on our subs seemed to weaken the team in contrast to Preston's changes.

A work in progress it remains but still an encouraging work that really needs to start winning points.


PaulInBoro
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I refrained from commenting last night so I could sleep on it words that describe my feelings are

Amateurish

Clowncar

Lackadaisical 

Tav in the words of Public Enemy  " Dont believe the HYPE"

Can somebody remind the poor lambs that a match last 90+ minutes not 45

So much for the new manager bounce more of a splat in our case

You dont get points for possession its goals

If last night was a one off then it would be forgivable but it is happening time & time again

Not happy more grumpy than usual


Andy R
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@werdermouth

Spot on. I agree with all of that.


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deleriad
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If that had happened under Warnock you would again think he just doesn't have a clue how to organise players. However, I actually think there were green shoots there.

For most of the game we played simple pass and move football and chose to keep the ball rather than hoof it. After we had settled into the game it felt like there was only going to be one winner. 

One of the things that used to make me tear my remaining hair out under Warnock was watching our players stand around while our player with the ball was outnumbered and inevitably lost it. Yesterday whenever we had the ball there were always two players showing for the pass which meant that we weren't relying on a piece of skill or a trick or drawing a foul. 

Wilder's comments are interesting because they put the second half in a clear light. I don't think we got particularly tired but I think several players started to get frustrated playing it simple and went for skill and holywood passes. Basically we reverted to Warnock ball. Several times Jones got passed the ball while standing still then tried to beat his man from a standing start and lost it. Tav, Sporar and Hernandez started to over-complicate things. (I think Crooks and Bola also started to feel the impact of some niggles.)

On the glass half-full side, maybe this will be a good lesson for the players. If they keep it simple and keep moving they'll win far more than they lose. 

I'm not going to be too critical of the players. They have had multiple changes in how they're being coached to play in three years. It's not unexpected that they'll slip back into bad habits after only a few days on the training pitch under the new method. The one exception was the organisation for the corner Preston scored from: for some reason Tav was left marking Ched Evans and that was only ever going to end one way if the delivery was good enough. 

I reckon Peltier made a good case for our player of the match. He is hampered by being right-footed and playing on the left but he showed fantastic energy to get up and down the pitch while always covering defensively. Bamba may have cost us a goal but he also saved us one a short while before thanks to his Go Go Gadget legs. Jones might retrain as a good wingback but it'll take time; he did ok until we reverted to Warnockball.

One thing I noticed is that Crooks was really advanced and very good at finding space. Tav seemed to be deeper and struggling to find space. Howson is enjoying being the deep lying midfielder of a three. 

 


werdermouth
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I think Boro are fast approaching that point where they need to show automatic promotion form for the rest of the season just to make the play-offs. In the past, that has normally meant the prospects of enjoying a promotion campaign are essentially over, which makes the task facing Chris Wilder very difficult as he probably needs to start preloading that points-per-game average very soon indeed if it to retain any meaning.

As things stand, Boro have accumulated just 23 points from 19 games at 1.2 points per game. The play-off points target is usually set at around 75 and that requires 52 more points from the remaining 27 games, which now already exceeds 1.9 points per game. Indeed, with the current sixth place team set for nearly 78 points based on current tally, then for Boro to achieve that would already require more than 2 points per game.

So, Chris Wilder needs his team to go on a winning run after essentially dropping 5 points this last week so he can bring down the required points per game. Perhaps it will be too tough a challenge this season as there are still no signs Boro can score when on top or hang on to a lead. 

If the new manager is relying on the January transfer window to change things around then that will come too late to be able to integrate new players and attain automatic promotion form. Let's hope he can improve what he's got before then and start winning games as the season will feel even flatter with little to play for the final half of the campaign.


PaulInBoro
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@werdermouth do any of us think that we are capable of promotion, on last nights evidence we are miles away and it's not just last night


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jarkko
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@paulinboro I will do that. Still a long season ahead. But the calculations given by Werder above are looking quite bad. Even terrible.

But I am still dreaming. But it needs a winning run of about four wins in a row next.

I am just thinking, that McClaren didn't start that brilliantly either. Nor Wilder at Sheffield United.  So there is hope but is it more next season than this? Looks tricky.

Up the Boro!


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werdermouth
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@paulinboro

As yet this season has failed to show that the performance of the team is capable of a top six finish. However, it's fair to say Boro have probably easily dropped at least a dozen points that they should have managed to get given they were on top for most of those games.

The task of Warnock before and now Chris Wilder was to reach the play-offs in a league that has few standout teams. OK, no team has any right to finish in the top six and it has to be earned but the aspiration of probably 12-16 teams is to make those play-offs.

Once you give up on that or are out of the running then the next target normally becomes avoiding getting drawn into a relegation battle. The club, manager, players and supporters all need a positive target to keep the season alive otherwise lack of focus and goal can cause drift and apathy. Just avoiding relegation is not a target for a club like Boro and their resources - especially with more than half a season still to play!


exmil
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I personally do not think we can get promotion this season or that we are anywhere near ready to play in the Premiership. January is not usually a good transfer window to get decent players, so I see next season with a Wilder pre season to really judge any progress. As people have pointed out, when players are getting tired they revert to past tactics because they are not fit enough to last 90 minutes, it does make you wonder if there has been any structure to previous training camps.

 Also we still have our “injured” list so having a full squad to choose from may make a big difference, although I don’t think Fry and Hall were pulling up trees before being injured. I would not hurry them back either, only to have them go down again.

Patience is the key word for the this season and hopefully we can see further progress in the shape, identity and performance by the end of it.

Come on BORO.


PaulInBoro
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@jarkko 😀 that's what we need dreamers, unfortunately  I think the chances of us getting promoted this season are < 10% my big worry is that if we keep playing as badly as 2nd half could we get dragged into a relegation battle, I am hoping that CW will sort out the 2nd half malaise that we are suffering.

This post was modified 2 months ago by PaulInBoro

Andy R
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I think I gave up on promotion before the season started! I don't mean that as a doom-monger but just an assessment of the squad. You usually get a feeling the season before if you're about to mount a challenge but we finished so tamely and then overhauled the squad. A clutch of new signings towards the end of the window raised some hope but they weren't Warnock's players and now all the players have a new manager, a new way of playing and new instructions.

Whilst Wilder's first two results have been really disappointing, as much because we were ahead in both and looking good, I'd go as far as saying I'm very happy with the early signs. I think the changes in our approach play have been pretty clear and very encouraging. They haven't borne fruit yet but it's very early days and appear to be a large scale change to our fundamental way of playing. These journeys take time but I like the look of the destination.

As Werder points out, we have extremely little time this season but I don't think promotion was ever realistic this term. You can always hope for these things and can never completely write it off (even now) but it's overwhelmingly likely that we won't be promoted.

My objective for Wilder is tangible progress. I want to go into next season with that feeling that we're about to mount a challenge.


jarkko
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Exmill

As people have pointed out, when players are getting tired they revert to past tactics because they are not fit enough to last 90 minutes, it does make you wonder if there has been any structure to previous training camps.

 Come on BORO.

They did have the magic barbeque camp in Cornwall. It should give energy, usually plenty of it. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by jarkko

Ken Smith
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Apparently many Preston fans fear relegation this season even after last night’s win and some even calling for the appointment of Neil Warnock to save them.


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Forever Dormo
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@jarkko:  Let's just speculate that, this season, Norwich, Newcastle & Leeds will be relegated from the Premier League - not too much of a stretch of imagination as the first two are stuck in the relegation places and Leeds hovering just above.  If Boro were to be a candidate for promotion NEXT season, I think it highly likely the 3 teams I have named would be much more likely candidates to bounce straight back up, whatever Boro and other teams did.  No Championship clubs would be able to compete financially with any of the 3 relegated clubs (let alone the moneybags from Tyneside), and as you will see in the Premier League, the teams paying the most, buying the most expensive players, tend to finish at the top end.

On that basis, Boro's chance is really THIS season.  Just as every relegated Premier League club has its best chance of return immediately after relegation, if they haven't spent ridiculously before relegation, and if they can keep together the bones of their team.  Every additional season spent in the Championship makes promotion less likely.  If you don't go up in Season A, there is certainly no guarantee you'll be a candidate for promotion in Season B and, by the team Seasons C + D come around, better players have left the club, commercial contracts have been financially renewed (downwards), and parachute payments become a memory....


Forever Dormo
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Well - that game put a big depressed dent in the rest of the evening!

The result was a disappointment but not a surprise.

When new managers come to a club, the supporters look to see a "bounce", a couple of results which improve on what had been happening before, and which give increased confidence to the players in the dressing room.  Confident players (and supporters), like people generally, usually perform better than players waiting timorously for their worst fears to be proved right. CW, and supporters, would have hoped for more than 1 point out of his first two games - played at home against less-than-frightening oppostion teams. It wasn't to be.  Maybe we can hope for first signs of that bounce in terms of results, in the next (away) game?

When new managers come to a club, they frequently comment adversely on the fitness of the players. That way, the players (who remain at the club) don't feel that THEY are being criticised but the fault can be landed at the feet of the outgoing manager/coaches etc. In the case of Boro though, I heard it indicated (I think before the Millwall game) that if games were ended at half-time, Boro would be 3rd in the Championship but if they consisted only of the 2nd half of games, they'd be near the bottom of the league. It was also mentioned on BBCTees, before the PNE game had been settled, that 90% of Boro's conceded goals had been conceded in the 2nd half of games.  The two goals Boro conceded yesterday will have made that proportion even higher.

All of which really suggests that whilst the "fitness comments" attributed to CW might be common when new managers take over, they are supported in Boro's case by analysis of the results. It stands to reason that if players aren't as fit as their opponents, they will start to make more mistakes as their energy levels fall towards the end of games.  You would like to think that in the 10th minute Sol Bamba would have put that ball high into the East Stand so no goal would have resulted.  Players who would have been able in the first half to get into positon to make a tackle, a block, a header or take a shot, may not be able to get into that position if they have nothing left in the tank later in the game. I am not blaming Bamba for making that mistake, but it becomes more understandable if we take on board the comments which the new manager is said to have made. All of which makes it essential that hard work is put in NOW to increase the fitness levels.

It goes without saying that, if the team was capable of converting the opportunities it makes during the first halves of games, the matches would be won at half-time anyway, even if we have a less than fully-fit squad. So the issue would be less of "an issue".

It was still a depressing result even though parts of the first half led one to believe a good result might be achieved.  I did warn people at half-time about that 2nd half goals-conceded statistic, and therefore cannot say I was surprised when worst fears came to fruition.


Ken Smith
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 @ Forever Dormo 

I tend to agree with you, but this is by far the worst standard of football that I have ever seen in the Championship. Taking last night as an example in the five matches played only Boro had scored a goal by halftime and at the final whilst three of the still finished goalless. It’s not only the Championship that is poor either. Rotherham and possibly Wigan are too good for League 1, but not good enough for the Championship. Even in Division 2 it tends to be the same clubs that earn promotion who struggle the following season. Forest Green Rovers appear to be the stand out team yet attracted only 1,842 spectators last night. I don’t think that Leeds will be relegated though, but it depends how long that they can keep hold of Marcelo Bielsa who after being sacked by Athletic Bilbao spent only a couple of seasons before resigning at Marseille, Lazio and Lille all in the space of 4 years, and the fact that he still hasn’t learnt to speak English does sound that he doesn’t intend to stay at Elland Road for the long haul. I do think that Southampton are vulnerable also.

It does make one wonder though how clubs like Burnley and Brighton who were on a par with Boro a few years ago have become established in the Premier League whilst Boro lasted just the one season. If Boro were to be miraculously promoted this season could they survive more than one season there?

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Ken Smith

Philip of Huddersfield
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@forever-dormo they may not be as fit as other teams but there again they just aren’t good enough to be anywhere near the play offs .As already been said they need over 2 points per game to achieve a top 6 . 
It just won’t happen .

So the best we can expect is the occasional decent game .

Philip of Huddersfield 


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Martin Bellamy
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I’ve suffered today from my neighbours coming out of the woodwork to remind me who they support!

I, too, thought we looked good for about 35 minutes of the first half and genuinely thought we’d have a comfortable win. The longer the second half went on, the more worried I became. 

I thought Tavernier had an awful game. His decision making during games often looks wrong and I don’t know how many goals he must score in training to justify his self confidence that he’s going to score in a game, when a pass to a colleague looks the better option. 

Jones looks almost a great player but I do think he can improve and become a useful Championship player. 

As for promotion, do any of us think we’d last more than a season in the Premiership? 


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