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 A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 09:50

On 24 April last year we were losing 2-1 at Inverness and deep into added time. Defeat would mean the season was over with no chance of making the promotion play-offs for which ICT were our main rivals. Five minutes into added time the Pars were awarded a free kick outside the ICT penalty area. Joe Cardle, who had been put on as a sub (yes he had) by Allan Johnston after we had fallen behind, stepped up, floated the free kick into the box, Nicky Clark's movement foxed the Caley defence and his touch sent the ball into the net and the Pars' fans behind the goal into raptures. We were now favourites to clinch a play-off place which we duly did the following Saturday.

Last Saturday we were 2-1 up at home to Alloa. A win would have put us within 2 points of a play-off place after a stuttering first half to the season. In the second minute of added time Alloa were awarded a free kick deep in their own half. Their keeper launched the ball to the edge of our box and after some naive defending Alloa were level.

The goal at Inverness was subsequently considered by some Pars' fans as 'lucky' in gaining us a play-off place and AJ a new contract. On the other hand, Alloa's goal was not considered to be 'lucky' but the inevitable result of a proactive, tactically astute manager getting the better of our own hapless, tactically inept manager.

And so Allan Johnston became the latest in a long list of managers who became victims of their own success, the most obvious example being Claudio Ranieri at Leicester. AJ got us promoted, consolidated us in the Championship and got us into the play-offs, thus raising the expectations of the fans and the directors. That was the standard against which he was ultimately judged and he has gone.

This season he recruited with a view to playing three centre backs but, after a few poor results, he reverted to four at the back but didn't have the right mix of players in the forward areas to accommodate this switch. However, I do feel he has been let down badly by the players this season. At the level we are playing you expect players to make mistakes but this season some horrendous individual errors and misjudgements have cost us points. A goalkeeping howler at Greenock, a needless early sending-off at Dingwall, a schoolboy miss at home to Falkirk and many defensive errors such as those on Saturday have cost us priceless points which would have seen us in a much healthier league position. We all know the manager is ultimately responsible for the playing staff because he signs and picks them but the players are ultimately responsible for their own performances and some of these have been sub-standard regardless of the formation or tactics employed by the manager.

I wish Allan and Sandy all the best for the future. They gave us some great times and revived the spirit and reputation of the club after we'd suffered one of the worst seasons for a long time. I wish their successors well because they too will have to live with the expectations they shall inherit.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Clarko  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:04

Jesus. He hasn’t been hard done by.

He proved over a sustained period over time that he lacked the tactical nous to influence games which were finely balanced. He’s fine in League 1 when he’s in charge of the team with the big budget but he struggles to exert any influence on matches when he’s in a league alongside teams that are evenly matched.

He has deservedly been shown the door.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:08

How did he get us into the play-offs then?
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: da_no_1  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:09

Good post Eck. Football is all about fine lines.

Towards the end of his reign he did himself no favours with his refusal to utilise his squad and substitutes however. That is a fact that cannot be dismissed. Even one change last weekend would have won us the game.

"Some days will stay a 1000 years, some pass like the flash of a spark"
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Rastapari  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:18

Quote:

da_no_1, Thu 10 Jan 10:09

Good post Eck. Football is all about fine lines.

Towards the end of his reign he did himself no favours with his refusal to utilise his squad and substitutes however. That is a fact that cannot be dismissed. Even one change last weekend would have won us the game.


This.
Good OP too, fine margins indeed.

I Hope You're Ok Today....
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:31

Good posts from wee eck and da. no. 1.

Hard to find anything to argue with in either, but I'm sure it won't stop some folk...

Have a feeling I posted something similar about fine margins yesterday but failed to copyright it....☹



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: wulliepar57  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:41

Good Post Wee Eck
And i like your last sentence the most : I wish their successors well because they too will have to live with the expectations they shall inherit.
This statement is spot on !!!
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: kelty_par  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 10:59

"AJ got us promoted, consolidated us in the Championship and got us into the play-offs, thus raising the expectations of the fans and the directors. That was the standard against which he was ultimately judged and he has gone."

I kind of get what you're saying but the above isn't true IMO. No matter what your expectations are, winning 2 home games in half a season, our players scoring more goals at the Falkirk stadium than at East End until Saturday when Keena equaled the record and a lack of any excitement in most games would see any manager facing the sack.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Perkins  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 11:06

Topic Originator: wee eck
Date: Thu 10 Jan 09:50

"And so Allan Johnston became the latest in a long list of managers who became victims of their own success, the most obvious example being Claudio Ranieri at Leicester. AJ got us promoted, consolidated us in the Championship and got us into the play-offs"

Disagree he was a victim of his own success. Don't think he was particularly successful when compared against other managers with similar or less resources.

Duffy won league 1 with Morton, finished 5th, then 4th

Hopkin won league 1 with Livi then got promoted from the championship

McCall won league 1 with Ayr and currently challenging for the title

Jack Ross took relegation candidates and in two transfer windows romped the league.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: widtink  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 11:09

Quote:

GG Riva, Thu 10 Jan 10:31

Good posts from wee eck and da. no. 1.

Hard to find anything to argue with in either, but I'm sure it won't stop some folk...

Have a feeling I posted something similar about fine margins yesterday but failed to copyright it....☹


©2019GGRIVA
there. Sorted that issue for ye 😉



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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Clarko  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 11:22

To compare him to Ranieri in terms of being a victim of his own success is ludicrous.

Ranieri did something which is likely to be a once-in-a-generation occurrence (at the very most) and he then lost his job for 'falling back' to the standards that he was probably expected to reach in the first place.

Johnston didn't over-achieve when he won League 1 with us. He achieved the absolute bare minimum that was expected and it's something that the vast majority of semi-competent managers would have achieved. Winning League 1 did not raise the expectation levels to anything that was even remotely unattainable.



Post Edited (Thu 10 Jan 14:57)
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: rossmcno1  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 11:25

Fine margins in football.

Hardly fair to say victim of own success.

Won promotion when had to/expected to. Came 5th in first season in championship when probably expected slightly better. Came 4th last season thanks to late rally, let’s not forget at St Mirren the AJ out chants in January. This season dreadful underperformance.

Board have been perfectly patient, some would argue too patient, doubt anyone can say that they have not been patient enough.

Sometimes it’s down to those fine margins, but reality is this has been teetering on the edge since September. Only a huge long run of wins could have saved him.



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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Paralex  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 11:50

Wee eck has given one plausible view of the situation. But there are many other interpretations that could be presented. When a reasonably good full time team takes a two goal lead at home to a part time team, one would expect that they would consolidate that lead in the second half but instead they fell apart. Good management of the situation would have won that game. There comes a point of no return for a football management team and sadly that point was reached some months ago. The season started with high hopes and rightly so because we seemed to have a good squad and the fans were turning up in bigger numbers. Good management should have succeeded but it has been one disappointment after another. The wheels have come off the cart and the drivers are to blame for misusing the equipment at their disposal. Time to move on.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: da_no_1  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 12:43

"Johnston didn't over-achieve when he won League 1 with us. He achieved the absolute bare minimum that what was expected and it's something that the vast majority of semi-competent managers would have achieved."

Given we had struggled the previous season with a far more experienced manager as have other decent managers (John McGlynn, Ian McCall) I think that statement is extremely harsh.

"Some days will stay a 1000 years, some pass like the flash of a spark"
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 12:47

Some interesting responses. Some of them just confirm my point about the new management team having to live with the raised expectations of fans. Good luck with that. I suspect if some posters were supporters of a mid-table English Premiership club they would be expecting to win the title because Ranieri did so at Leicester. Incidentally, I didn't suggest AJ had been treated unfairly. I was simply pointing out that his dismissal was the latest example of a trend that is all too common in football.

I note no one has responded to my view that the players have let him and the supporters down this season.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: JTH123  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 12:48

Good post Eck. For the record I think his time was up weeks ago but while he got all the criticism for the second half performance I didn't read anyone's compliments about how well they did first half.
That's the life of a manager but as fans we need to be willing to see the whole picture to have realistic expectations.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Rigger Al  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 13:08

Ian McCall would be my choice If it was a manager to be around the level we are currently at .But is his previous connection with Pars enough for him to leave Ayr should he be offered .
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Angus_W  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 14:06

Good OP.....

Problem AJ had with the Alloa game is that it 100% exposed his inability to manage a game.

Thats always been his major flaw and ultimately it has cost him his job.

🔩 ya 🚀
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Westies squint kicks  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 14:20

The problem is calling 4th successful .

Last year Livingston gained promotion on their return to the Championship, Ayr look highly capable of at least finishing 4th this season on their return, yet on our 2nd season finishing 4th is deemed a success. For me 4th was a bare minimum to continue progression.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 14:21

I am not convinced that managers can 'manage a game.' That is what the players are there to do.
Tactical substitutions are a very small part of the manager's job, and they fail as often as they miraculously change a game. It's a part of management that has been highlighted because the cameras can see the manager prowling the touchline with the subs behind him
.
Most a manager's job is done off camera. and this is where AJ really failed. He was not able to establish an effective style of play so was found wanting as a coach. He was not able to inspire the team on Saturdays before kick-off, nor at half time, so came up short as a man manager. His tactical shortcomings were well known but only the final nail in his coffin.

sammer

Post Edited (Thu 10 Jan 14:23)
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 14:52

Did he have any good points, sammer? That sounds pretty damning to me.
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Sliema Par  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 15:07

I will start with the fact that some of the most intelligent,articulate and reasoned arguments on the Forum regularly come from wee eck.Even if he moans at me for my choice of MOM!!

Wee eck gives the examples of blatant moments when players DID let us down.The opening minute miss at Home to Falkirk haunts us.

However,as we are Supporters and not players or coaches, it is very hard to answer.

Is it not the case that our players are all Championship standard other than Jackson Longridge and Tom Beadling, who will play at a higher level yet?.

In my own ignorant opinion, I think that Hippo and FEB and Connolly are nowhere near Championship standard ,reinforcing the view that those are the positions which will be rectified by a new Manager.I do not think players deliberately let us down.Finally I do not think our players understood the 5-3-2 system AJ tried to bring in.Bring in Joe Cardle as Coach and we can sort it!!
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: eastendalloapar  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 15:11

I'm going to make a strange (for me) statement. Was it AJs tactics last Saturday that stopped us from winning or was it the players who didn't give us 100% in the second half? If it's the latter I hope the the new manager gives these players their P45 ASAP.

matt forsyth
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: Rastapari  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 15:18

Quote:

eastendalloapar, Thu 10 Jan 15:11

I'm going to make a strange (for me) statement. Was it AJs tactics last Saturday that stopped us from winning or was it the players who didn't give us 100% in the second half? If it's the latter I hope the the new manager gives these players their P45 ASAP.


AJ once again did not utilise the players at his disposal, that has cost him imo.

I Hope You're Ok Today....
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: AdamAntsParsStripe  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 15:39

Quote:

eastendalloapar, Thu 10 Jan 15:11

I'm going to make a strange (for me) statement. Was it AJs tactics last Saturday that stopped us from winning or was it the players who didn't give us 100% in the second half? If it's the latter I hope the the new manager gives these players their P45 ASAP.


I think a bit of both. There is little doubt the players stopped playing after an really good first half and they let the Alloa goal unsettle them but then AJ should have seen the change in tactics from Alloa and did something to counter it.
I've said it before but the team lack a real leader on the park when things aren't going well.
Big Norrie would have got torn into them.

If you only turn up to moan then do it elsewhere
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 Re: A Tale of Two Goals
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Thu 10 Jan 15:50

wee eck,

What I said did sound harsher than I maybe intended, but he was failing across the board as a manager towards the end. The sour atmosphere at EEP which many have commented on here arose from a growing recognition that AJ was not managing the team effectively.
Like most managers AJ#s knowledge of the game is streets ahead of any of us who comment on here; the problem was that this knowledge was not being effectively communicated to the players, which it clearly had been at the start of the previous season. AJ obviously knew what he wanted but the players seemed to become increasingly confused as this season wore on. Maybe AJ started to doubt himself and allowed this uncertainty to be picked up by his squad.
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