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 The case for the defence
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 12:21

Our defence comes in for a lot of criticism on this forum. Words like 'bombscare' and 'nightmare' are commonly used to describe our central defenders and Ryan Williamson, who has featured in over half our League games, is often slated for his defensive naivety. Every goal we lose is diced and dissected and blamed on some hapless individual.

We have conceded 34 goals in 31 League games. Only Ross County and Ayr United with 30 each have conceded fewer. When you consider we conceded 12 goals in the first 4 games, when AJ was 'experimenting' with three centre backs, you can hardly conclude that we are a side that consistently leaks goals. It's at the other end of the pitch that our problems lie. 32 goals scored in 31 games tells its own story. Only Morton with 29 have scored fewer. This stems from a lack of creativity in midfield. Imagine how many goals someone like Bruce Anderson would score with decent service.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Berkey  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 12:58

Lack of creativity or support from midfield....

To me we don’t score enough as we don’t commit enough players forward. Why don’t we commit more players forward? It’s because our defence is so poor and slow we would be constantly exposed by most teams in this league so need to sit in deep and keep it tight.

Losing morris has killed our back line this season.

Just sitting here drenched in my own positivity! AJ is gone!
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 14:45

You seem to have changed your tune, Berkey. Your previous interpretation was that we were a team of 'midgets' who couldn't compete in midfield or up front. Now it's all down to the defence.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Socks  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 14:46

Sometimes they are just rotten collectively - yesterday was a day when that was the case. I also don't think I've seen either goal yesterday blamed on some hapless indvidual, assuming (as is reasonable and sensible) we discount the views of a poster from Malta who would moan about Ryan Scully regardless of what he did.

There also seems to be an assumption in the post at the top that defenders alone are responsible for preventing goals and attacking players alone are responsible for scoring goals. This is a gross simplification. Players often switch positions to cover for each other in particular situations and sometimes a weakness somewhere means some movement elsewhere is required to cover it.

Actually watching games with my eyes leads me to the conclusion that the four that started yesterday's game are the best we've had this season, but collectively they have not played well. A weakness at the back can mean that the shape of your midfield has to be tweaked to deal with this which in turn means you become less effective in attack. Low numbers for both goals scored and goals conceded does not necessarily mean that a team is good defensively and poor in other areas - it has to be more nuanced than that.

Now, perhaps wee eck will just dismiss this with his trademark sneering pomposity rather than discuss the points made, but it is, in my opinion, foolish to make such statements based on stats alone.

I don't disagree that there is a lack of creativity in midfield, but I think you have to go a stage further and ask why that's the case. You could quite easily argue that those players on their own are not great, but I think the main issue is that the previous manager put together a completely unbalanced team which so often have looked quite incoherent. Part of that is that we don't have defenders who complement each other well. Lee Ashcroft has undoubtedly been poorer this season that last - I don't think it's the case at all that Morris made him look better than he is, I just think the two of them had a partnership that worked well.

Stats can sometimes give a guide in assessing things but there must always be more to it than that.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 16:19

I was enjoying your analysis, Socks, until I came to your totally unnecessary personal insult. I actually find a lot of your comments quite patronising but each to his own.

I can't find anything in your analysis which explains our relatively good defensive record. I would have thought if the defenders were rotten collectively this would be reflected in the number of goals we've conceded over 31 games.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: RossDAFC  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 16:47

Agree with the Ash/Morris part, Devine and Ashcroft are too alike and too slow combined. We have lacked natural width that we had last season in Aird, Cardle and towards the end the rekindled Williamson/Higgy right hand side partnership. The difference this season is we brought in Jackson Longridge to compliment Williamson as attacking wingbacks in a 5 back. That crumbled within a matter of games and we were left with two attacking fullbacks who left us strained at the back with the aformentioned slow pairing. With no plan B we've been plugging the gaps with Craigen who has performed admirably for a player who has never played in defence before.
Defensive errors happen, that is a fact of this level of football. The main concern in my opinion is the fitting of square pegs into round holes this season. AJ must take the blame for recruitment but for now we are stuck with what we have.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Socks  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 17:13

Describing what I said as a personal insult seems slightly harsh - it was simply a critical comment on your posting style, like the one you have now made (quite legitimately) about mine. It seems we each find the other mildly irritating - OK, fine.

I didn't say our defenders were rotten collectively, in a general sense. I said sometimes they were and that yesterday was one of those days. What's your opinion on how they played yesterday? Do you think they played well as a unit?

I did try to give an explanation of something that's happened to contribute to the low number of goals we've lost - setting the team up in a way to protect the defence which sacrifices something in attack. There can't be a definite explanation for any of these things, although it's interesting to discuss it. Maybe you could confirm your explanation - do you think it's simply that those playing at the back for us have played well for most of the season?
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 17:31

My initial point was that, if our defenders were half as bad as some posters on here think they are, we would not have conceded as few goals as we have over the season. Regardless of what system we play they still have to defend. I didn't actually mention yesterday's match.

FWIW, my take on yesterday was that Caldwell sent on the cavalry and our midfield sat in deeper so that the link between defence and attack, which had worked well in the first half, was lacking in the second and it was difficult to relieve the pressure on the defence for any length of time.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: kelty_par  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 20:48

Our defenders do seem to make a lot of individual errors, whichever way you want to dress it up. A lot of it seems to be due to communication (players going for the same ball, players going pit of position and not making their teammates aware they are doing so, players waiting for each other to get to the ball rather than just going for it themselves) and a fair amount seems to be due to misjudgment (letting a ball bounce, letting a ball go over their head, trying to let a ball go out of play rather than making sure of a clearance, switching off at a set piece, trying to play a risky pass rather than clearning their lines). The second goal yesterday looks a case in point - one centre half misjudging the flight of the ball, the other not communicating that he had it covered and then misjudging it due to the flick header from the first. It's quite strange in that some games we don't concede a lot of chances but still end up conceding goals. The Queen of the South game, the Falkirk game and even the Rovers game have all had fairly similar outcomes with the first real chance the opposition had being scored from.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Berkey  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 21:18

Wee eck sitting back protecting your defence doesn’t make our midfielders any good, it’s just means it’s harder for opponents to score as there’s more bodies in the way. Of course our strikers are not going to score living of long punts with little support and no quality on either flank, aj signed terrible dross in the summer and also made the fatal mistake in keeping the dross we should have moved on.

The whole team lacks height, physicality, creativity and pace. AJ gets the blame for this at the moment but from next season it will be stevie’s team.

It will be interesting anyway, glad we have a new man in, a good few of those players were stale and must have had pics of AJ to somehow get another year.

Just sitting here drenched in my own positivity! AJ is gone!
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 22:39

I think you've covered everything there, Berkey. Goodness knows how we escaped automatic relegation. AJ's main problem was trying to find quality replacements for four players he wanted to keep who got better offers elsewhere. I don't think anyone on here, including you, has identified anyone we could afford who would have fit the bill.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Grant  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 23:13

"My initial point was that, if our defenders were half as bad as some posters on here think they are, we would not have conceded as few goals as we have over the season"


If you had a limited understanding of how football works with regards to the 11 players on the pitch and how they all effect each other you would make that point, and you'd be wrong.








Which you are.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: RossDAFC  
Date:   Sun 7 Apr 23:46

That much is evident, Clark and Mcmanus scored 21 league goals between them last season. Cardle chipped in with 7 and Higgy 10. Past that, a few players on 3 and 4 including Ashcroft and Aird. Fast forward one year and Bruce Anderson is our top goalscorer in the league with 5 and has only played 9 games. Beyond him is Keena who was also only here for half a season and Jackson Longridge - a left back.

Our top two contracted strikers have 4 between them. It's well documented that Joe would have been here had AJ not been and I think his contribution has been missed in areas. For suggesting better strikers, i'm not 100% sure but I was concerned when the likes of Hippolyte was signed due to his record and Ryan being given a chance up top despite poor record and being 4th choice the year before. All in all - we have much less quality as a whole than we did last year and I think we all over estimated a tad. But we are pretty much safe now - time to look ahead and build on where we have failed this year
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Sliema Par  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 05:15

Our season 2017/18 was completely transformed in the January transfer window when AJ brought in Tom Beadling,James Craigen and James Vincent.

As has been pointed out; our forwards ie Clark,McManus and Cardle were scoring for fun ,which does not suggest a lack of ammunition.

Today we have Ryan Blair with his accurate corners and free kicks; Louis Longridge fully fit and making both goals at Partick Th; and the box to box powerhouse that is the sadly injured Joe Thomson ;all in addition to the above three.

Wee Eck,as usual,makes pertinent points about the defence which,at worst,is adequate,

The problem, all season, has been up front.After 31st May it can be tackled.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Berkey  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 09:35

Louis Longridge got 2 assists on sat so how many assists is that for the season? 3?

Even higgy has the occaisonal good game, okay he’s been injured but Longridge hasn’t shown much in his other appearances since, indeed he was murder against ayr. He’ll need to have a strong consistent finish to the season for me to change my mind that he’s just higgy mk2 with all the same predictable results.

Blair is another I’m not convinced about, great dead ball striker but what else can he do? For me he’s not got the pace to be winger or the physical presence to play in the middle of the park so not sure where we play him? Prob fine in a 352 but not in a 442.

Just sitting here drenched in my own positivity! AJ is gone!
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 09:48

Defence, midfield, forwards.

No area is good at present and no individual is showing anything to change that imo.

Just about every other team in our league has one or more players who can turn a game.

Pawlett, McMullan, for DU, Shankland, Moffat for Ayr, Gardyne, Vigurs for Ross County, Polworth, McKay for ICT, Dobbie for QOS,

Can only hope that things improve next season, but can't see where the funds to allow that will come from.
Maybe Crawford, Shields with help from McNamara can unearth some affordable gems and/or shake, coach or cajole better performances from the players we have.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Raymie the Legend  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 10:02

What this league has shown is that the teams are closely matched. There is not a lot between them.#

Alloa are bottom but have a goal difference of just -13

Aside from Ross County, the next highest scorers have only 44.

It's league full of average teams, with average players. I don't recall seeing too many players where I've thought "he's a really good player"

Is our defence poor? Probably. Are they any worse than other teams'? probably not




It's bloody tough being a legend
Ron Atkinson - 1983
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Sliema Par  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 11:05

mach1: you make a valid point about Gardyne being able to turn a game.

If Dunfermline were to sign him for next season,it could transform our chances.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Grant  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 12:56

Why on earth would Gardyne sign for Dunfermline?
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 13:23

The usual reason would be for more money, which would rule us out probably.

Think we may have to rely on players on loan again. Keena and Anderson have kept us alive this season with their goals.
Blair and FEB have been quite influential as well and Vincent off and on.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Berkey  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 13:36

We need something, our 2 best players this season are the 2 loan forwards we have had. We don’t have anyone who can influence a game maybe more than 1 game in 8.

Big changes coming this summer........I hope we have some targets lined up and not relying on McNamara.

Just sitting here drenched in my own positivity! AJ is gone!
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: hudza  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 14:56

When has FEB been quite influential?
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 15:03

I think FEB perks up the attack most tines he has been on the park.

Just my opinion, but I prefer him to Louis Longridge, or Hippolyte, or Muirhead, or Higgy.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Berkey  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 15:40

Faz has contributed nothing of any note this season but with a big guy up front, some quality delivery and if he could learn to be a bit less ball greedy he could do us a turn next season.

Doesn’t quite have the snticipation or positional sense you would expect from a player who has played from a young age.



Just sitting here drenched in my own positivity! AJ is gone!

Post Edited (Mon 08 Apr 15:44)
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: parathletic  
Date:   Mon 8 Apr 15:59


Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Sliema Par like | nolike - 1
Date: Mon 8 Apr 05:15

Our season 2017/18 was completely transformed in the January transfer window when AJ brought in Tom Beadling,James Craigen and James Vincent.

As has been pointed out; our forwards ie Clark,McManus and Cardle were scoring for fun ,which does not suggest a lack of ammunition.


Cardle scored one goal against Dumbarton after the 9th September in 23 appearances and Mcmanus scored 7 league goals in 32 appearances.Scoring for fun might be pushing it :)

Ultimately although the defensive record isn't disastrous unless we keep clean sheets in all our remaining matches we will still have conceded more than the amount that got us into 4th place last season. Regression in every department is what has cost us.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: LochgellyAlbert  
Date:   Tue 9 Apr 09:32

Big turning point for our team was the loss of Willow Flood, he was a good player at United and his flying visit to us upset AJ's planning for the season.
If he had stayed who knows what would have happened, we might have been sitting on top of the league with AJ still at the helm!
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Berkey  
Date:   Tue 9 Apr 09:44

Lochgelly the big turning point was signing players to play 352 then after about 3 spankings realising we still didn’t have the right players to play 352!

Just sitting here drenched in my own positivity! AJ is gone!
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: PARrot  
Date:   Tue 9 Apr 10:00

Quote:

Berkey, Sun 7 Apr 21:18

Wee eck sitting back protecting your defence doesn’t make our midfielders any good, it’s just means it’s harder for opponents to score as there’s more bodies in the way. Of course our strikers are not going to score living of long punts with little support and no quality on either flank, aj signed terrible dross in the summer and also made the fatal mistake in keeping the dross we should have moved on.

The whole team lacks height, physicality, creativity and pace. AJ gets the blame for this at the moment but from next season it will be stevie’s team.

It will be interesting anyway, glad we have a new man in, a good few of those players were stale and must have had pics of AJ to somehow get another year.


There is no dross in our team.
None of them would get a game for Barcelona and few if any would make much impact in the SPL, but that doesn't make them dross.
They are performing at a decent level against very similarly talented players. It is difficult to shine when things are so even.

Great players...nah. Dross....far from it.

Nobody on here is anywhere close to their level.

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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: LochgellyAlbert  
Date:   Tue 9 Apr 12:06

Quote:

Berkey, Tue 9 Apr 09:44

Lochgelly the big turning point was signing players to play 352 then after about 3 spankings realising we still didn’t have the right players to play 352!


It ain't rocket science, my son's u/18 side were winning leagues playing that system, and that was over 20 years ago.
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: da_no_1  
Date:   Tue 9 Apr 12:44

It's blatantly obvious why Michael Gardyne won't be playing for us next season. Of course it's down to finance. Only an idiot with no grasp on our financial situation would think otherwise.

"Some days will stay a 1000 years, some pass like the flash of a spark"
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 Re: The case for the defence
Topic Originator: Rastapari  
Date:   Tue 9 Apr 15:42

Quote:

Raymie the Legend, Mon 8 Apr 10:02

What this league has shown is that the teams are closely matched. There is not a lot between them.#

Alloa are bottom but have a goal difference of just -13

Aside from Ross County, the next highest scorers have only 44.

It's league full of average teams, with average players. I don't recall seeing too many players where I've thought "he's a really good player"

Is our defence poor? Probably. Are they any worse than other teams'? probably not


This.

I Hope You're Ok Today....
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