Time to step up

@andrewneilblog reflects on the past 7 days, mainly yesterday’s game against Oldham Athletic.

The full-time whistle brought a whole range of reactions – some hands aloft clapping the players with others using their hands to demonstrate their displeasure at what they had witnessed and plenty of chuntering to those they were with as they filled out of Boundary Park.

While the post match talk on the coach back was non-existent (yes it was virtually silent for the short journey back), social media was awash with reaction, comment and analysis ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

However, following such a performance, reaction is always going to be slightly tainted and not always as balanced as it would be when you have had time to reflect – a benefit that the newly installed Media and Communications guy won’t suffer from in is new job given he certainly seems to be a fully paid up member of the Manchester United supporters club.

oldhamFootball is all about opinion along with ‘if’, ‘but’ and ‘maybe’ and yesterday was a clear case of that with a gilt edged chance missed. A rasping shot rattling the cross bar and a looping header that dropped into the hands of the goalie rather than the back of the net.

If those chances has been taken the game would have been dead and buried (much like at Rochdale) long before the 90th minute winner for Oldham – the result of quick interplay and a simple finish, something this sluggish, pedestrian and often boring Rovers team simply haven’t managed – either against Oldham or generally throughout the season so far.

A quick visit to that long standing prophet of doom, BRFCS and you would think that we have been relegated to League Two today – not lost to a team who over the past five league games (prior to today) had taken one point less than Rovers and beaten Peterborough, who despite three defeats on the bounce still sit just the one point outside the play-off positions, the last time out at home despite being down to 10 men for more than a third of the game.

Jack Byrne (remember him fleetingly playing for us last year?) deservedly won man of the match – he made himself available for the ball, brought others into play and created chances something that couldn’t be said about any Rovers player, other than maybe Bradley Dack – if you were being generous.

We look one paced, ponderous and generally lacking of any incisive attacking threat that is going to have a half organised team back peddling, never under pressure for any period of time and that for me is a big worry.

“We can’t keep a clean sheet every week and scrape a win, we have to be a better football team than that and we weren’t”

Tony Mowbray reflecting on yesterday’s game against Oldham (rovers.co.uk)

I like Tony Mowbray and when he talks about football, he obviously has a lot of love and enthusiasm for the game. However, on occasion, his post match press conference can sometimes come across a little ‘shrug of the shoulders’ – yeah we lost, I’ve told the players they were rubbish and we move on.

It is almost as if he knows that there is nobody within the corridors at Ewood who has the authority to pull him into the office and say “Look Tony, things need to pick up or we are going to need to have a difficult conversation.”

The whole Owen Coyle fiasco showed that Mike Cheston (the man seemingly tasked with running the club on a day to day basis) has about as much influence in who the manager is as me or you, so who else was at Boundary Park today, saw that performance and is going to risk their job by informing Venkys that we lost to a team who have been stuck in this division for the past 20 years or so – has even Suhail Pasha or Suhail Shaikh (depending which you believe is his name) stopped bothering with matches now? The Venkys henchman who some believe is acting as a shadow Director of Blackburn Rovers?

So onto next week and two home matches against teams promoted from the fourth division last season, namely Plymouth (Tuesday 17th) and Portsmouth (Saturday 21st).

Plymouth are rooted to the bottom of the table with one win from thirteen matches, while Portsmouth are fairing better than their fellow south coast team and find themselves just outside the play-offs having put together a decent little run although lost at home to Oldham (crap aren’t they?) last time out at home.

Defeat on Tuesday is unthinkable and would only hasten the calls for a change at the top, so those 11 that started yesterday, have to go out and show that they are better than the pedestrian offering served up today.

Personally I’d change things a little – Chapman for Conway – some legs, some energy and a bit of drive while I’d also bring Graham in for Antonsson, who again showed he is better out left than through the middle and maybe Dack for Samuel to play just behind Graham.

Injuries and suspension will always play their part in the season and it’s important to keep the team/squad fresh, however as much as I like Mowbray (in a similar way to that in which I liked Bowyer) I’m still to be convinced that he knows his best XI and 11 league games into the season, that should be starting to set off some alarm bells in the boardroom or whatever name you wish to give our pathetic non-structure upstairs.

Six points are a must really over the coming week, although I’d begrudgingly accept four – anything less than that and I can imagine the vultures starting to circle and social media being a whole lost less of a happy place to be.

It’s time for Tony Mowbray and the players to step up…

Thanks for reading.


Thanks for reading the article. You can read all our reaction from yesterday’s game by clicking the links below!

Click here to read Oldham Athletic 1-0 Rovers – Match Review.

Click here to read Oldham Athletic 1-0 Rovers – Player Reviews

Click here to read our talking points from the game

You can catch all of our build-up to the Plymouth games by either following our Twitter and Instagram at @rovers_chat, Facebook at RoversChat or Snapchat at onerovers – or by signing up to receive e-mail notifications every time we post an article.

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