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Reflections on Rochdale

By: Steve Plowes
Date: 13/09/2006

I went to Spotland tonight and cannot believe what I have seen. Keeper Phil Barnes played with tremendous courage and kept us in the game; he may make the odd fumble but I can recognise a BRAVE keeper when I see one, as opposed to the yellow Welshman, Rhys Wilmot, Alan Buckley's bete noir.

The official line is that Rodgula thinks we are unlucky to have come away with nothing, and a short-sighted bloke who walked past - before the end - thought Isaiah Rankin should have won it for us, so it was his fault we lost.

In truth, anything good that happened did so by chance; Rankin was far and away our best attacking player and operated pretty well alone. He hit the bar, bottled a one-on-one, and had a rocket saved by a despairing dive which was warmly applauded by all fans in the ground. But it was all as a result of chance or individual effort.

There were several examples of players doing clever things which team-mates failed to anticipate; Crofty spotted a pass inside the full back that the crowd had to shout to Newey about - by the time he spotted it, so had the full-back; Gaz Jones was given a clever flick-back he had no idea about.; a cross flashed across the face of the 'Dale goal with Jones baffled by its passage.

The centre-half pairing looked the biz, but the general tactic seemed to be to hoof it the length of the pitch and hope for a flick-on; no chance when the MOM was the 'Dale centre-half, who looked like England's skipper in "Mike Bassett: England Manager". (Gary Wackitt, I believe)

The general impression was of 10 men in need of a job description, with one guy left with no alternative (Phil Barnes). I personally think Graham Rodger is not up to the task; Rankin did his best but can't be expected to do everything and will get pissed off in double-quick time. I have just voted for him (Rodgula, not Rankin) to be dismissed immediately.

I sat and wondered all night what Town's greatest manager - Alan Buckley - would have done with the personnel on display. Or Lawrie Mac.

I went with my mate Eddie, a Boston fan who also lives in Lytham St Annes; he said "It's just like Boston used to play in the Conference - hoof it down the middle and hope for the best."

I have seen Town beat Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Newcastle - tonight we made Rochdale look good!

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