Topic: Eastleigh at home....
FT: 0-1 Att: 1343 (29 away)
'The fourth official has indicated there will be a minimum of one minute's added time...'
That was the announcement that greeted us as we finally made our seats.
When they charge me with child cruelty, because if things carry on this way they most surely will, the fact that I only inflicted one half of this level of football on her will be pretty good mitigation I reckon. I'll need all the mercy I can get after what she had to endure today. It was shocking.
I know all that 'support your local team' stuff is very worthy and laudable, but there are times when you see why kids wear Messi shirts and play FIFA, why they watch Match of the Day and want the same boots as Pogba. It's a little-effort like. It's predictable. They kind of always win. It's big and brash and easy. I know that in twenty years or so from now I'll still be proud of her decision to go with Town and her loyalty to them. But for now I'm just amazed.
Our late arrival was down to a 'Draw-along' with Nick Sharratt at The Square Chapel Theatre in Halifax. For the uninitiated, he's an illustrator that does the Tracey Beaker and Jacqueline Wilson books amongst others. It was great fun even if it was a bit of a Boden-filled Middle-Class-athon. His drawing is projected onto a huge screen and everyone literally 'draws along'. He's very good at what he does and she loved it. She got to meet him afterwards and he signed a load of stuff for her, including her drawings from the session. Thank god she had something to smile about from today.
We made the short walk down to The Shay. It was pretty quiet. To be honest, you wouldn't have known there was a game on. The crowds ain't the biggest down there but today it was deathly silent. We were to find out why shortly. Whatever the official figure, as Hannah pointed out, the actual attendance was 1345. Our late arrival meant the turnstiles were shut and we had to go in via the main entrance and through the banqueting suite. The upshot of this is that our vouchers stayed in our season tickets and, as a result, we won't have been counted in. Having season tickets means we're entitled to a free 'banqueting experience' at a home game this year. Those that have been say it's good. Hannah's pencilled in Sutton United on the 22nd of December as, whether it's good or not, 'it'll be warm'.
We've got to know the family that sit behind us pretty well. 'Nothing' was the response when I asked what we'd missed. According to the match report in The Courier, we'd actually missed a series of good saves from Johnson and Sellars clearing the ball off Town's line. Whatever the reality, the downbeat assessment was a sign of what was to come.
Apart from Maher coming in for Preston, the team was unchanged from Tuesday. He was missed as his replacement was really poor. Matty Brown, the captain, was on the bench but not named officially as a sub. Hopefully, whatever the reality of today, that's a sign he'll be back soon. God, does this team need him.
Eastleigh were nothing special but they dominated possession in the first few minutes after the break. Businesslike as opposed to brilliant, efficient as opposed to exciting, but that was more than enough to run the game. They're a bland outfit even down to their grey away kit and, if it wasn't for the drum (yep, another f***ing drum), we wouldn't have known the 29 faithful that had made the trip up North were even there. Fair play to those that did travel. A 480-mile round trip is no joke. Especially when you've lost your manager and gone out of the FA Cup to lower-league opposition. Hard to begrudge them their celebrations at the end.
Let's be right, Town managed flashes of what the team is capable of. But they were literally just that. Flashes. A few seconds here and there.
In terms of individuals, Kosylo was busy but never really fired on all cylinders. You feel that his growing frustration at many of those around him means that he's overdoing it, trying too hard and wanting to walk the ball into the net. It's as if he's loathed to play the early ball as he's not convinced the recipient will do anything with it.
The real standouts were Hanson and King. Hanson will inevitably move on to better things in the years to come. Given their position, I'm surprised Bradford City haven't tried to take him back. After a moment of indecision from Sellars nearly cost Town another goal, he won the ball and ran two-thirds of the pitch to set up an attack that led to a corner. It was more than just him winning the ball, it was him grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck because someone needed to. Only so much that one player can do, but it showed an attitude that will serve him well through what I hope will be a long career.
The fans have been crying out for King to start for weeks. He seems to have secured his place in the starting 11 for now, but given Fullarton's team selections, he could well be relegated to the bench for Tuesday's trip to Solihull. He's comfortable on the ball and rarely wastes a touch or pass. For that reason alone he stands out. He was at the heart of most of Town's best work, but good passes and telling through balls need a finisher at the end of them if they're going to mean anything.
Sadly, Edwards is no finisher. Clean through from a defence-splitting feed. Keeper to beat. Centre-half caught him and took the ball off his foot. It was halfway up the field before Edwards realised. That summed up his game.
A bullet header from a soft free kick gave them the lead.
A serious injury to Skarz afforded us another moment that, in some respects, summed up Fullarton's current position at the club. During a break that saw both team's physios and the club doctor on the pitch, Eastleigh's coaching staff were barking instructions and shouting encouragement to the players huddled around the away dugout. Apart from muttering out of the side of his mouth to Phil Hughes (his number 2), Fullarton, hands thrust in his pockets, barely said a word to the team. You could hear shouts of 'talk to your team' from the stands. I even found myself doing it. It was frustrating and, if the stories of unrest in the camp are true, worrying.
I don't know the nature or extent of Skarz's injury but he was stretchered off with an oxygen mask over his face. His departure saw Odelusi on for Town. He's s***. No need to waste any more words on him thank you very much.
Town could have drawn the game. Staunton blasted the ball over the bar from 7 or 8 yards when burying it would have been easier and today's ref wasn't convinced with Kosylo's shout for a penalty where others may have been.
But a draw would have papered over the ever-widening cracks in this season. The FA Cup game at Morecambe on the 10th of November seems all the more important now in terms of what they might get from it. I reckon Havant and Waterlooville a week today is the real test though. They're currently 22nd and Orient put four past them today. Lose that and there'll be more joining the chorus of 'what a load of rubbish' that rang round the stands today.
We walked back to the car and, whilst not completely downhearted, I could tell she was tired after a long day (she'd crammed in 90 minutes at youth theatre this morning too).
'Do you think we'll ever see them in the Premier League?'
'Doubt it kid'
'Oh well. They're still my team Dad. What's for tea?'
Bless her. Shaymen 'til she dies......
Last edited by Travis Bickle (Sun 28 Oct 2018 9:35 am)