Last night was a disappointing performance in an attacking sense. After the departure of Elijah Adebayo, fans were wondering what changes in the team would be made to compensate for his loss. The team lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with Lavery as the lone striker, and Gordon in behind him. The link up play, and attack, seemed disjointed, and as the game went on, the pitch certainly played its part.
One thing that fans feel needs changing, is the long ball tactic. With Adebayo, there was a tall striker who could win the ball, and hold it up. Last night, Lavery was unable to win many of the long balls forward, especially against a Mansfield defence that were taller, strong, and physical. He was also very isolated, meaning that there weren’t options when he did win the ball. Lavery had his best spell for the Saddlers when he was a part of a front two, and that is something Darrell will have to take into consideration, when looking at how the attack can be more potent.
Last night, the Saddlers looked better with the ball at their feet. Wright looked very bright and sharp, as did Melbourne when he moved forward on the left. Gordon and McDonald struggled to get going on a pitch that made it difficult to run on the ball. But with pitches set to be tough to play on for a while, the side will have to adapt.
Derick Yaw came on, but struggled to get a touch on the ball. A lot of the time, the ball was hit long, and the defence cleared before he could control it. It was revealed post-match, that the pitch grew increasingly tougher, and harder, as the game went on. Yaw came on late, and the conditions played their part, as they did for both sides.
Clarke will have more decisions to make ahead of Saturday’s game, as he tries to work out the best way to go about setting his stall out. We are yet to hear if Wright will be missing, but Nolan came on, and looked bright in his short spell.