Match Report – Dons 1:2 Brighton – 19/03/2016

Some idiots today
Some idiots today

That was never a straight red!  Not even a booking.  I’m not even sure it was a foul.

Anyway, what to say about all of that?  Brighton looked pretty rubbish, but they got the points, which means they’ll probably be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.  We played pretty well for most of that match, and got nothing, which means we’re going to be struggling right up to the end of the season.

Our squad is really thin right now – announcing Ben Tilney on the bench shows that (no offence Ben), and we had a number of key players out.  Martin (no idea how long he’s out for), Walsh (same), JFC (who couldn’t play because he’s a Brighton player), Caruthers (for urine-related reasons), Reeves (injured – no idea how long for) – there might be more but I have no idea anymore.  I’ve lost count.

Having said that, I think across defence and midfield we looked very strong for most of the game.  Defensively, Antony Kay has been strong since his return (and also may end up as our top scorer if he continues at this rate and our strikers continue at theirs) and Cody has looked the most competent reserve keeper we’ve had to date.  In midfield, without JFC or Samir in there, Jonny Williams stepped up and had a great 70 minutes or so – he was strong, he was creative and he battled constantly.  I felt like we really saw what he was capable of for the first time today.

Bootsie, Radar and friend.
Bootsie, Radar and friend.

As has been a recurring theme this season, our attack just doesn’t seem to be ‘right’.  We did create chances, but they all seemed to be individual self-created chances from the wings rather than anything created by the team.  Murphy and Hall both created chances for themselves, but I’m not sure they created anything for anyone else.  Maynard didn’t once look like getting a shot off today, let alone look like scoring – whatever he’s supposed to be doing, I don’t think it’s working right now, but I don’t think it’s him – everyone who has played in that position for us this season has ended up in exactly the same situation.  I thought Daniel created a few good chances for himself, but he needs more match time if he’s going to convert them.

Their penalty was a bit unfortunate – Potter had no idea their guy was there and made the clearance.  Their second was disappointing – first of all, it came about because Williams lost possession cheaply in their half, once the cross came over, Powell didn’t cause the attacker any problems, and he had a pretty free header.  I know that heading is never his strong point, but he has to make it harder for the attacker in that situation.  Of course he shouldn’t be the last man there anyway.

We seemed to spring to life once they’d gone two up – Kay’s header was really well taken – he’s proving to be our best ariel threat at this point, and he’s finding space for himself.  I’d like to see the ref penalising their keeper and not him and Kyle for holding on to the ball – whichever way you look at it, Kyle is entitled to get the ball, the keeper is not entitled to hold on to it.  While it smacks of a juvenile ‘he started it’ kind of argument, without the keeper holding on to the ball, then there’s no incident.

Samir's Instruction Manual
Samir’s Instruction Manual

The sending off was one of the most ludicrous decisions I’ve seen in a long time.  It wasn’t a red, it wasn’t a yellow, I’m not even sure it was a foul – their guy rolled round like he’d been shot and the ref bought it.  Terrible refereeing.  Terrible.

Our penalty wasn’t good – not sure why Baker took it with two strikers on the pitch, but credit to him for stepping up.  He’ll need a hug tonight, so whoever is out with him, look after him a little.  It is worrying that we’re not taking the chances that we have to pick up points, but I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating those chances at all.

So we’re now without Kyle for three games, and we’ll have to hope that the international break gives some of our injured players the chance to get themselves back into contention again.  Results didn’t go our way today, so we’re back into the bottom three for the first time in a while.  I’d say we’re down to Bolton and Charlton plus one from three – us, Rotherham or Fulham.  Right now my money would be on us or Fulham.

Big shout out to the family fun day people – lots of activity, lots of fun, lots of families, so all went according to plan.  Great to see Radar and Bootsie in their tutus and Dan in his Samir commemorative t-shirt, and great to see so much money being raised for Willen.

Feeling a little sombre today, but bring on Fulham.  Then Wolves.  Then Rotherham.  After them, I think we’ll have a better idea of how much trouble we’re in.