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Morecambe match report
24 January 2015 18:05 Post ID: #71078
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Argyle's promotion hopes were dealt another blow with a 1-1 draw with Morecambe at Home Park, the sixth game without a win.

We looked a team lacking in confidence and ideas.

We had plenty of the ball but didn't use it well enough in the final third and didn't find the killer pass.

On the face of it one point from the last two home games would spell disaster but the results today went in our favour, so we either look at today as an opportunity lost to make up some ground on other teams or we say we are still in with a chance.

There were a few glaring problems with the system, John Sheridan used a 3-1-4-2 formation with Olly Lee sitting just in front of the centre-backs and Lee Cox as an attacking midfielder alongside Bobby Reid.
The problem is that Cox isn't an attacking midfielder and looked short of ideas when he reached the penalty area (not his fault) and Ben Purrington played as an orthodox left-back and not a wing-back which meant he didn't get forward.
The attacking left-side player was Lewis Alessandra which then meant Reuben Reid was isolated up front and often he ventured out to the right side of the pitch anyway.

This made the team look dis-jointed, the problem with Purrington sitting too deep and close to Tom Flanagan was evident against Luton and should have been rectified for this game against Morecambe.

Also credit to Morecambe who closed us down and hassled us, not allowing a player to look up and play a pass.

The first half was very flat. Kelvin Mellor picked up an arm injury but carried on, often nursing his arm.
Luke McCormick made a good save when Morecambe broke through, he went down low to save a shot in a one-on-one situation, the ball was loose and the Morecambe player dived in for a second chance and injured McCormick's hand.

Soon after McCormick made another excellent save tipping over a header.

Just when most fans were getting ready to vent their frustration at the half time whistle Bobby Reid sent a long ball to Reuben Reid who headed past the covering defender and advanced on goal, instead of shooting he took the ball around the keeper and slotted in. A well taken goal. A half time lead that should have given us confidence and the boos changed to cheers.

McCormick didn't return to the pitch and was replaced by James Bittner who made his first appearance for Argyle.
A case of deja vu for McCormick who was injured at a similar stage last season, will our promotion hopes also hit the ropes just as they did last season?

We did start the second half well but instead of getting a second goal we conceded one and it's another goal conceded from a set-piece, although no blame should be attributed to Bittner, we just didn't defend well enough and allowed the shortest player on the pitch a free header.

We huffed and puffed and there was no denying the effort put in by the players but we just couldn't create a decent chance.
Lee was withdrawn and Flanagan moved into midfield (I wonder what Ollie Norburn thinks about that?) and Ryan Brunt made his debut with Reuben and Alessandra playing either side of him.
We did have some pressure but a total of three shots on target compared to five from Morecambe tells the story.

Cox was replaced by Nathan Thomas and the winger did put in a great cross soon after coming on but there was no-one close by to convert.

There's a lot of pressure now to win the next two games.

With Alessandra playing wide to compensate for the lack of attacks coming from the left and Reid also going wide it meant that at times only Cox was in the area and that's not his game.

Bobby Reid was our one bright spark and without him we would have had no attacking options apart from the runs made by Reuben Reid.
Alessandra did try and was always available for a pass.

Lee (his dad Lee was at the game) didn't have a good game, if he was supposed to play the deep quarter back role it didn't work and despite him putting in some good corners last week against Luton it was Bobby Reid who today took all the free-kicks and corners and as we've come to expect they either don't beat the first defender or are floated in and are easy to defend. A strange choice by Sheridan.

Brunt didn't have much to work with and didn't find the ball at his feet too often.
Bittner did ok although his short passes to his defenders did cause a few scares.

Purrington is a good left-back but cannot operate as a wing-back, we need Andy Kellett back and quick! For me that issue should have been sorted out in training over the last week, Flanagan needed to move over five yards to push Purrington further forward, it looked like we were playing with two left-backs/centre-backs. Or use Thomas as wing-back for a home game.

It just seemed logical that Lee takes better corners than Reid, Purrington is not an attacking wing-back, Cox isn't an attacking midfielder and Reid and Alessandra operate better in the middle and in the penalty area, so why did the opposite happen?

Overall, we look a different team to the confident and dominant one that was doing so well before Christmas.
We need to find a win and some confidence quickly otherwise it's another season in League Two.

Man of the match - Bobby Reid.

McCormick 7, Nelson 7, McHugh 6, Flanagan 6, Mellor 6, Purrington 5, Lee 4, Cox 5, B Reid 7, Alessandra 6, R Reid 6, Bittner 6, Brunt 6, Thomas 6.
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