Well that was one to forget wasn’t it? No point going over it all again, here’s our lowlights and highlights from last night.
The Result: Yep, let’s get it out the way first. 4-1 is a dreadful result for a team top of the League. But it’s our first heavy defeat of the season
The Line-Up: We were missing a lot of first team players (Mitov, Digby, Boateng, Wes, Ironside) but that’s no excuse. I feel we set up for the game wrong and personally would have started with Joe instead of Knibbs, keeping the quicker man for an impact off the bench when they tired of their pressing game. But we didn’t, so let’s move on.
Jubril Okedina: It’s not going to do anyone any good to dwell on this, and we’re not about to throw him under the bus after a couple of mistakes. The best players in the world can have the odd bad game (ask anyone who saw the highlights of Liverpool vs Man City at the weekend), but it’s how he comes back from this that will show us what kind of player he is. He’s had a couple of decent games and looks like a composed player but Salford’s front two are always going to be a challenge for any centre back, let alone one with only 180 minutes of first team football under his belt.
Salford’s Commentators: The worst double act to come out of Manchester since Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, this pair of dullards seemed annoyed they had to commentate on Salford (who they spoke about as if they were up there with 1970’s Brazil or Pep’s Barcelona) instead of watching their beloved Man United on the telly. We were spoken about with the kind of disrespect reserved for something found on the bottom of your shoe, and the way they described Salford was like they were some incredible footballing dynasty who dick everyone week in week out rather than a team ninth in League Two. Far from being in Man United’s shadow, they’re still in Stockport’s shadow.
Paul Mullin: Goal drought well and truly over.
Chances: Even though the result finished 4-1, we still had a number of decent chances, and were perhaps unlucky not to have scored a couple more. Mullin and Hannant both came close, and Adam May had a couple of opportunities too. Whether it would have made any difference to the overall result we don’t know, and in all honesty probably not, but Salford’s goals came at the expense of a couple of individual errors rather than a complete walkover.
Results Went Our Way: Okay we’re clutching at straws a bit here, but Southend beating Newport and Stevenage beating Tranmere means we’re still top going in to Saturday.
So yeah, not a great evening for us, but before we start losing our shit let’s remember this is our heaviest defeat of the season, and the first time we’ve conceded more than two goals under Mark Bonner. Compare that to the last time Salford put four past us last January, and we’ve come on leaps and bounds. Salford’s commentators might be alone in comparing this side to 1990s AC Milan, or 1999s Man United or 2008s Barcelona side, but they’ve probably spent the same amount of money assembling their side as any of those teams, which we just can’t compete with. But it’s us that’s top, despite our limited means, and at least we don’t have to listen to those two wankers every week.
Southend come to the Abbey on Saturday, and even though they’ve just beaten Newport, shouldn’t present anywhere near as much of a challenge. Plus there’s a good chance the Digger or maybe even the Boat will be back, and Wes should have recovered by then too.
Man of the Match: No-one really excelled, and the usual suspects had quiet games. Mullin gets it purely for working tirelessly to add to his goalscoring tally.
Soundtrack of the Match: New Order – Blue Monday
United: Burton, Knoyle, Okedina (Alese), Taylor, Dunk (Iredale), Tracey (Ironside), May, Drysdale, Hannant, Mullin, Knibbs