Monsieur Salut writes: abject apologies to all our readers. A technical issue shut us down for a while but we now appear to be at least on our way back to normality. Bob Chapman once again filled Sixer’s boots in style and ought to have a cheerful match report to offer. But hey, this is – as we well know only took well – Sunderland. Phil Parkinson can hardly be blamed having been in charge for only three days. Where we go from here – a lowly 10th – is anyone’s guess …
With the knowledge that there was a south of Lincoln match embargo in operation, I contacted Pete
to find out who was going to do the match report from Wycombe.
He informed me that he was in Prague with an ex Ferryhill colleague of ours, Peter Malkin and would I mind volunteering for the task.
Thinking that this was the start of a new era I readily confirmed that I would be more than happy to oblige as there would undoubtedly be plenty of positives to report back on.
Prague is a wonderful place. I spent a week with my wife during the Christmas of 2016 in this fine city. You can walk everywhere and there is so much to see. When you get tired there is always an interesting bar to rest up, with cheap beer on draught and great food to accompany it.
In hindsight the only disappointment of the trip was having to watch Sunderland being defeated 3-1 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day in a local bar full of Czech Man Utd fans. To be fair to them they were very knowledgeable of the players in my team and bought me a couple of drinks in commiseration at the end before I headed off to the next Mozart concert with my wife.
Friends had been asking what I had thought about the appointment of our new manager.
Inevitably I replied with the standard response, that he has a good track record at this level and would probably be able to drag us out of the mess that we have found ourselves in.
Needless to say I was intrigued with what his first team selection was going to be. When you have a successful side you know what your best 11 is. With the current lot I haven't a clue what it is. I'm pretty sure Jack Ross had a similar problem, with a squad that was too big and packed out with average Div 1 players. I was never convinced that we were too strong for this league, nor that 100 points was a realistic target. Sure we have some quality in Mc Geady, but we also have a lot of dross. Quite simply, whilst we have been in this league we just haven't created enough goal scoring chances from open play.
Last season was a novelty. I enjoyed visiting a number of new grounds of which Wycombe was one. The novelty has worn off now and there are no new grounds for me this season.
The Wycombe ground is located on the outskirts of High Wycombe in a trading estate. The only pub nearby is the Hour Glass. It's a plastic glass dive which we left early last year as things got a little lively. Oh for the quiet life at my age. It was no better this year but at least we stayed a little longer this time.
Team selection was interesting with Burge and Watmore starting and Gooch and McLaughlin dropped to the bench. Needless to say, as so often is the case we started quite brightly with McGeady curling a shot over the bar from distance after good work by Watmore on the right wing.
However at the other end Burge was called upon twice in quick succession. Firstly he tipped away a curling free kick following a foul by O'Nein on Aarons. This was soon followed by the keeper collecting Akinfenwa's header from close range which he should have put away for the lead.
However the big lad soon came good as he knocked down a header from a free kick which Charles volleyed home from close range. Once again no clean sheet I thought, 12 games in are we realistic automatic challengers for promotion?
Half time came with inevitable substitutions. Wyke was replaced by Grigg at the start of the half and then later both Maguire and then McNulty were introduced but we still didn't pose much of a threat.
In fact the best chance fell at the feet of Conor McLaughlin who shot wide. I know he is a full back but he should have done better.
We were so lacking in threat going forward that had Ross been in charge it would have turned nasty.
In the previous two away games scuffles had broken out nearby. Fortunately with a new manager in place we were dumb struck looking on and thinking can it really be this bad.
However, only a goal down we were still in with a chance. That chance came to McGeady, picking a ball up he moved forward and shot from 25 yards out, the ball was heading for the top corner until Allsop produced the save of the match tipping it on to the bar. With that the game was lost and we move on to Tuesday night against Tranmere.
I will be there no doubt but might I suggest to Pete to stay out in Prague; I am sure he can find a more interesting match to go to. It really is dross at the moment and the new manager has to change things quickly if we are to have any realistic chance of escaping this division.