Another rock bottom. How many more are we expected to stomach?
An abject performance and home defeat to a side that had just two points from 11 games. And we weren’t even unlucky. Despite a penalty, Liam Roberts was by far the busier goalie.
It’s the same over-thinking, over tinkering and over complicating being our downfall. Simply put, we aren’t improving.
Summed up by not being able to take a kick-off, and nearly conceding a goal to the first hopeful punt up-field.
Our expectations aren’t ridiculous. We are a genuine League One club, performing poorly in the division below. Well below where our resources should put us.
We rightly hear praise so often for the loyalty shown by our fan base to the club. It’s time that we are shown some back.
Last season’s Achilles heel reared it’s ugly head once again as we failed to take points off the poorest team so far this season. It wasn’t as if we were unlucky either as Southend created the better of the opportunities whilst we huffed and puffed with no reward again.
The most alarming thing for me is Southend are a bad side. You only need to look at the rate that they’ve been conceding goals. Somehow we managed to make them look like a decent League Two side with a fairly solid back line and pace up front.
For some reason Clarke is sticking with 4-4-2, a formation that didn’t exactly set the world alight last season with a string of performances ranging from mediocre to awful. Why he’s so reluctant to play so rigidly is beyond me.
We look so much better when the attacking players can be more fluid. When we switched to 4-2-3-1 last season we had Wes McDonald, Josh Gordon, Rory Holden and Elijah Adebayo/Caolan Lavery constantly keeping the opposition on their toes by switching positions constantly and getting more than two players in the opposition penalty area.
The midfield two could then do what they are good at, winning the ball and keeping it simple, with Rory Holden excelling in his actual position rather than being shoehorned into the side. With a tough few weeks ahead I think the shackles need to be taken off. We are a handful for any side going forward on our day, but the players need to be allowed to express themselves rather than being reigned in.
Well that was not the result or performance we wanted to witness. As a team, we looked out of sorts, devoid of ideas, and lacking quality, which is worrying.
We aren't looking like a team that is going to push the play-offs, yet. The thing about this league that is very frustrating, is that after what has been a disappointing first 12 games for us, we are only 3 points off the play-offs.
There are players that are concerning me. Wes McDonald has been the biggest disappointment so far this season. He has looked a player far from that of last season, and to be honest, he sums up our side.
We look like we can threaten, but not actually come up with the goods. It is the attack that is concerning me, and it has become more apparent as the games have progressed, that we really have missed Josh Gordon, and what he brings to our attack. It has left us with a makeshift right wing, and has resulted in people playing out of position.
That was a hard game to watch and the result was very difficult to take. In no way can Elijah Adebayo be blamed for the result due to missing the penalty, I actually think he played ok and held the ball up well. However even if he had scored and we held on for the win the rest of the game just wasn’t good enough.
Creativity-wise Cameron Norman was probably our best option when overlapping on the right and this just shouldn’t be the case. Rory Holden out wide is limiting his influence, add in Danny Guthrie’s absence and we just simply have no spark in the opposition half.
With the squad being what it is then our options to change it up are limited, however the movement and tenacity Jake Scrimshaw shows would lead me to throwing him up top and going more direct.
On a side note I know people will say he is being marked out of games but it is unforgivable when Wes McDonald gets the ball surrounded by three opposition and rather than making a simple pass time after time he dribbles straight into them, he needs to improve his decision making.
Overall many players need to pick up their performance levels and we have a manager that really needs to earn his wage and show his coaching pedigree otherwise League Two beckons for another year.
I said a few weeks ago that if we didn’t get a win at home to a club who look at best hopeless dead-certs for relegation and at worst a club clinging on to its very existence by a thread, then I would, quote, ‘start to get a bit twitchy.’
I’m confident that what was served up on Saturday made me more angry than any other Walsall performance since the Accrington Stanley away debacle in April 2019 – that miserable, hateful, controversy-laced afternoon that all but sealed our League One relegation. Anyone who has followed us in the intervening times will appreciate just how much competition there has been for that sorry accolade.
It was a performance bereft of spirit, absent of quality, devoid of inspiration, drive or even just basic professional competence in most areas. When we gifted them an opening inside 45 seconds I had a feeling it was going to be a testing afternoon, but what followed was some of the most worryingly insipid football the Darrell Clarke era has offered. And are we the worst professional team in English football at taking penalties?
This team has shown flashes of being better than that cloddish, amateurish, labouring, lifeless and frankly embarrassing showing. Even at our best so far this season I feel that we are still way off the top seven target, but last weekend re-plumbed the depths of 12 months ago and threw us back into a place I really thought we had pulled ourselves out of.
It was fan-storming-into-the-dressing-room-away-at-Newport levels of poor. Sort it out.