Another abysmal night tonight after we threw away a 2 goal to slump to our 3rd successive league draw and now we find ourselves 5 points off the top with a trip away to Sligo to come. From the start it was a bizarre team selection, it was my opinion that this was the perfect type of game to throw McCormack back into midfield and bring Gilbert back in at right back. Despite that we dominated earlier possession and scored from a predictable Billy Dennehy free-kick, low and hard to the keepers side and although I was delighted to see it fly in, I am amazed how goalkeepers in this league can’t see that it’s the only free-kick he has in his locker and it should have been saved.
The second goal was a screamer from Daryl Kavanagh, who was our best player on the night, he picked the ball up from the throw in on the left, turned and ran at the UCD defence before curling home a superb effort from 25 yards that gave McGinley no chance in the UCD goal. Everybody happy at half-time as we looked like we were cruising to three points and it was surely just a matter of how many we would score.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out like that and we started the second half very sloppy in possession and playing far too deep. On the hour mark we were punished as poor defending from McCormack to concede a penalty gave UCD a route back into the game which they duky took.
So 2-1 up 30 minutes to play, at home against a bottom half of the table team, what do you do? Well Stephen Kenny take off our best player on the night in Kavanagh and to a large chorus of boos he replaces him Brennan to give us an extra man in midfield and leave Twigg up front on his own, a position which we all agree by now he cannot play.
The problem in midfield was the fact we were too deep and allowing the UCD midfield to drop in and pick up possession of their back four. We need to push Turner on to the midfield player receiving the ball and by putting an extra man in there we just let Turner and Rice sit deeper rather than just matching UCD in midfield and ensuring they couldn’t pick up possession so easily of their back four. So with the extra man basically ineffective we gave more an more possession to UCD as with one up front their was no room for their full backs to push our wingers back and for their spare centre half to come into midfield and build attacks.
The second goal was inevitable and when you see it again you will see one centre midfielder receive the ball in his own half runn unchallenged into our half and slip a through to his midfield partner who calmly finished to level the game up at 2-2 in stoppage time.
It highlighted the crux of our whole problem this year which has been in central midfield where we have failed to dominate a single game. Week after week I stand look at so many similar poor tactical and positional play in midfield and week after week our coaching staff fail to see it and allow it continue. Sometimes I wonder what they are looking.
Plenty of more poor performances all round and the lack of desire and work rate shown tonight was very disappointing. Its time the players took so of the blame and they need to stand up and be counted now over the next few weeks. Whether they agree with the managers decisions or not they need to be professional and get the job done, tonight’s 3 points should have been a formality with the talent at our disposal.
All that said booing the team is not the solution, if you have a bad day at work and you get slated for it you’re hardly going to improve the next day. Fans need to stand up and be counted and show why we are Irelands best fans by supporting the team in full voice on Monday and next Saturday in Sligo, we can and will turn this around.
Keep on Hooping!