30 days hath November, but only three goals and two points. Rich Jeffery is glad to see the back of it, yet he just can't let it go without reviewing it. LEAVE IT RICH, IT AIN'T WORTH IT!
Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunn had let in two the previous day away to Bolton and we’d lost the plot. Hmmm, needs work. Like our attacking play.
With our up till then more than decent run of away form, and Bolton being bottom of the league, it was one we had marked down as a good chance of an away win. After a bright start in the match we failed to capitalise on our early chances, before succumbing to a more positive and attacking opponent.
That was our third loss on the bounce in the league since the high of beating Ipswich. It sent us galloping enthusiastically into the welcoming bosom of the international break and the two weeks of respite it offered to reset, recuperate and re-shape.
We had three games in seven days to look forward to when the break was over, two winnable home games with an away trip to Forest sandwiched in between. This would be when we got back on track.
Reader, it wasn’t.
The first of those home games saw a drab and uninspiring game against a bright and enterprising Barnsley team, which in the end we were fortunate not to lose, scraping a 1-1 draw. As with Bolton, we failed to capitalise on our early chances, before succumbing to a more positive and attacking opponent.
We quickly moved on to Forest away on the Tuesday night. We gave a decent account of ourselves in many ways, but similarly to Bolton and Barnsley, we failed to capitalise on our early chances, before succumbing to a more positive and attacking opponent.
The second of those home games then saw a drab and uninspiring game against a bright and enterprising Preston team, which in the end we were fortunate not to lose, scraping a 1-1 draw. Similarly to Bolton and Barnsley and Forest, we failed to capitalise on our early chances before succumbing to a more positive and attacking opponent.
So, four games, two defeats on the road, and two uninspiring draws at home. That’s relegation form, people.
The bright spots? Maddison’s continued class and maturity, and the return of Alex Pritchard from injury point to better things on the horizon. As does the imminent return of Alexander Banor Tettey, how we’ve missed him in tandem with Tommy Trybull in front of the defence. I also think it’s clear now, if it wasn’t before, that our first choice centre back pairing is Hanley & Klose.
As much as we need to cut out the defensive lapses, we’re not conceding loads. What we have to find a way to do is start creating more chances and taking them. This would have the double-edged effect of us winning games in which we concede a goal and making said games a little more exciting to watch than the stultifying performances we’ve suffered of late.
You know, entertainment. Goals, thrills, spills, chills (of the spine tingling variety, not the ‘oh dear, I should have double-socked’ ones). It’s been soporific fare at nFCR of late, and when the highlight of the month is someone from the crowd standing in for the fourth official, then we really are in trouble.
So now November is done, thoughts turn to the month ahead, and the hope that at the end of it a strange man will sneak into my room in the dead of night and deposit the contents of his sack on my bed. I hope that Santa will bring me everything I wish for. Wins, goals, points and fun. Have I been good all year? Maybe not, but let’s hope I’ve been good enough, which the team haven’t been.
We need to get a win as soon as we can and end this run. Fingers crossed it comes as early as possible in December, on the 1st, away at Cardiff. So, let’s hope in South Wales that we don’t fail to capitalise on our early chances, before succumbing to a more positive and attacking opponent.