Date: 19th August 2007 at 9:23am
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The Valiants away woes continued at Huish Park yesterday as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Yeovil.

A goal in the 17th minutes from ex-crewe player Justin Cochrane was enough for the hosts against a Vale side again devoid of creativity and imagination in the midfield, and – for the opening 45 minutes at least – unable to muster any desire to give Yeovil a game.

For the third game running the balance in midfield was wrong. Rocastle and Hulbert doing exactly the same thing in centre midfield, Whitaker (rather alarmingly) floundering again out on the left. Paul Edwards is fit again, and indeed did come with 19 minutes left yesterday, but we need to be starting with two wingers. We need to take the initiative and get teams on the back foot. Yeovil had a great campaign last season reaching the play-off final but this years squad is weaker. We need to get results at places like this.

When are we going to score from open play? What has happened to the free-scoring attacking team we saw in pre-season, just three weeks ago? I blame Foyle for this. He is pre-occupied to the point of obsession with the midfield protecting his wobbly back four. Wingers ‘tucking in’ and making sure they track back. This has blunted any attacking edge we have. Players are scared to venture forward. Hulbert and Rocastle are glued to the halfway line when we are attaking, sitting back close to our 18 yard box when we don’t have the ball.

Things were better in the second half. The players at least tried. Harsley and Richards replaced Rocastle and the quiet Shane Tudor and we did apply some pressure, although Yeovil didn’t seem to uncomfortable with sitting back and soaking it up.

In the dying minutes we had two blinding chances to force a draw, both falling to Marc Richards. Sodje cleverly played the new striker through with just three minutes remaining but the Yeovil keeper was able to save easily, then a minute later a cross found Richards unmarked at the far post just five yards out but he couldn’t control his shot. Maybe a lack of match sharpness, maybe a lack of confidence, perhaps a little bit of both but Richards doesn’t look the man to sort out our lack of goals.

So, our shocking record away from home continues from where it ended last season. We need to improve an awful lot before the next game.

 

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