Architects of our own Downfall

If you can’t score from the penalty spot and then stick the ball in your own net, you probably don’t deserve to get much out of the game.

Why Cole was allowed to take our first penalty yesterday, I really don’t know. Noble has been our spot-kicker for a couple of seasons now and I see no reason to change that. The fact that Jaaskaleinen was able to hold the kick comfortably just show how poor a pen it was by Cole.

A first half lead would have been nothing less than our play at that stage deserved. After a slightly shaky start, we looked good going forward, the only problem being not being able to convert chances. Barrera looked especially tricky and lively. Dyer also had some good touches and was unlucky not to score when the keeper diverted his effort onto the post and away. Sadly, Cole looks short of confidence, or maybe short of caring, I’m not sure which. Piquionne looked the more lively of our front pair. Noble had a very good half, his passing was crisp and accurate, and at times quite imaginative.

The second part of our downfall occured early on when Upson managed a diving header into his own net, and picked up a suspected broken nose for his troubles. Barrera took a hard knock near the end of the first half, and largely disappeared in the second, which was a bit worrying. He’ll have to learn to take those knocks and come back for more if he’s to make it in this country. Dyer also faded, probably due to lack of match fitness. As a result we were less threatening, although we still managed a few chances to score.

Bolton then used their arial strengths to good effect to score a second. Noble put us back in the match with our second pen, even though McCarthy wanted to take it. Just as we thought we might get something out of the game, a route one move by Bolton saw them go 3-1 up.

After last week’s performance, there was at least something to be a little bit optimistic about from this game, but we have to convert our chances and learn to defend properly. In our first match this year, we were opened up by pace and skill, in the second we were undone by not being able to defend in the air. Makes you wonder what we can defend against.

London Transport didn’t help the day go better by closing the District line to Upton Park, meaning a long walk to and from Canning Town station.

With our upcoming fixture list, I fear that we may get to the end of September without a single point on the board. Still, it could be worse – we could be Wigan.

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