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Match Thread: Morecambe v Port Vale

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I for one aren't calling for John Askey's head and I was never expecting a charge for promotion in Carol and Kevin's first season. Having said that though most games this season haven't been an easy watch with us especially at home scratching for a goal to win a game or salvage a point.

  Surely the Manager should be able to see that by playing two strikers we become a more potent unit. Take last night we got on top when we played two men up top in the last 20 minutes or so but it wasn't down to better personnel being brought on. It would be because it simply gave the Morecombe defence a little more to think about.

  I would bet that had Askey played with a second striker alongside the 'all so worn out and tired' Tom Pope that we would have beaten Morecombe last night.

  Don't forget that until Conlon got tripped on Saturday we never looked like scoring a goal. Amoo is quite simply a waste of a shirt at the present time and until he snaps out of his woeful efforts needs dropping. The sad part here is that he is a decent player when he wants to be!

  If Askey continues with his one up front policy on Saturday we will struggle to beat another of the division's poorer teams once again.

 Come on John it isn't a very pretty sight watching us huff and puff to score against so called inferior opposition. 

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23 minutes ago, old sage said:

 It isn't the two games in 4 days that is the problem it is playing up front on his own with little to no service. Remember 'Feed the Pope.....'. If Tom was a dog Askey would be charged with cruelty for starving him!!

I think the problem is when we can’t feed him, which is a very basic game plan of getting crosses into the box, we have no plan B. He can’t run in behind, so we are very one dimensional with our plan of attack. We could try two up front (which I think suits Pope better), but I don’t think we have midfielders that are good enough to play in a two. We tried it and got massively overrun. 

The wingers aren’t good enough to consistently beat their man, and the fact Pope hasn’t scored in the league from open play since October backs this up. 

We need a re-think of how we are going to cause opposition problems. 
 


 

 

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But what is the alternative to Pope, no-one else apart from Taylor scores consistently.

Nobody gets a decent run in the team to cement a place , ok maybe Bennett but Cullen and Archer definitely haven’t .

I love Tom pope we all do he’s a club legend but sadly we have to a have a plan going forward to replace him
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Banging on about 2 up top is getting tiring.

Once again we're into that age-old debate;

When Pope is good; up the Pope, he is class!

When Pope is bad; he needs feeding! Not his fault.

Our chance creation isn't the best but I find it hard to rationalise that a forward with possible the best winger in the league in David Worrall (who is top 5 for assists and crosses this year), and a good winger (on his day) in Amoo who recently went on a run of scoring and assisting every week for 4/5 games, isn't being fed. He's unlikely to get much better wingers at this level, and then add in two attacking fullbacks who can put a ball in in Gibbo and Monty.

Pope's a legend but we can't excuse 2 open play goals in 24 with a lot of our play being predicated down the wings. Always a place for him at the Vale but a new starting striker is needed. 433 has done a good job in making us tough to beat and we can't throw it all out of the window because Pope doesn't suit it.

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1 hour ago, old sage said:

I for one aren't calling for John Askey's head and I was never expecting a charge for promotion in Carol and Kevin's first season. Having said that though most games this season haven't been an easy watch with us especially at home scratching for a goal to win a game or salvage a point.

  Surely the Manager should be able to see that by playing two strikers we become a more potent unit. Take last night we got on top when we played two men up top in the last 20 minutes or so but it wasn't down to better personnel being brought on. It would be because it simply gave the Morecombe defence a little more to think about.

  I would bet that had Askey played with a second striker alongside the 'all so worn out and tired' Tom Pope that we would have beaten Morecombe last night.

  Don't forget that until Conlon got tripped on Saturday we never looked like scoring a goal. Amoo is quite simply a waste of a shirt at the present time and until he snaps out of his woeful efforts needs dropping. The sad part here is that he is a decent player when he wants to be!

  If Askey continues with his one up front policy on Saturday we will struggle to beat another of the division's poorer teams once again.

 Come on John it isn't a very pretty sight watching us huff and puff to score against so called inferior opposition. 

Mike; we've lost one game at home. We've had a few iffy performances but its been far from 'not an easy watch'.

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5 hours ago, Santa said:

I can't really put two soft goals in the first ten minutes down to tiredness.

We turned up, ponced about on the ball for about 70 minutes and got what we deserved.

We can't keep playing the 'it's better than last season' / 'at least we've still got a club' card every time we turn in a poor performance. 

We turned up and for that first half we didn’t look like we had a plan B to break them down. Credit to them because they had the wind behind them, they put everyone behind the ball when we had it and they shut the space down for our wingers and full backs and we had nowhere to go. You say we were poncing around and fans around me were moaning for them to launch it long, when we launched it they lost it or it went out and they got moaned at, we tried to keep it and work it across the pitch but they were very disciplined and we couldn’t break them down, the fans still moaned. We didn’t (or the management) didn’t provide an alternative answer to them until the second half.

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On the topic of systems, I was surprised to realise that a good number of teams in this league play 3 at the back.

Plymouth, Exeter, Cheltenham, and Northampton all play a variation of 352, utilising wing backs (which in my view is what Monty and Gibbons are). 4 of the top 8.

With Amoo out of sorts, Worrall maybe needing to rest his hip, and our best performers being our fullbacks; is this worth a consideration?

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Askey has done a very good job. We remain 6 points off an automatic promotion place after losing to the bottom club, but one that has a striker on the bench who 4 seasons ago was one of our best. 
 

Unless he has misspent lots of money that I am not aware of, I cannot see how he could be doing better.

I have huge reservations about Pope but he is our best striker despite these and is the only one who can play with any effectiveness on his own. Our other strikers have never been good enough to deserve playing two up top. 

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6 minutes ago, Joe B said:

Banging on about 2 up top is getting tiring.

Once again we're into that age-old debate;

When Pope is good; up the Pope, he is class!

When Pope is bad; he needs feeding! Not his fault.

Our chance creation isn't the best but I find it hard to rationalise that a forward with possible the best winger in the league in David Worrall (who is top 5 for assists and crosses this year), and a good winger (on his day) in Amoo who recently went on a run of scoring and assisting every week for 4/5 games, isn't being fed. He's unlikely to get much better wingers at this level, and then add in two attacking fullbacks who can put a ball in in Gibbo and Monty.

Pope's a legend but we can't excuse 2 open play goals in 24 with a lot of our play being predicated down the wings. Always a place for him at the Vale but a new starting striker is needed. 433 has done a good job in making us tough to beat and we can't throw it all out of the window because Pope doesn't suit it.

Agree with this, the problem is haven’t got a striker on the books that ticks all the boxes.

Pope is immobile and can’t run in behind. Will never create a chance for himself and needs to be fed. However, holds the ball up well and is good in the air, strong and helps us defend set-pieces.

Bennett is mobile without being quick. Doesn’t hold the ball up very well and doesn’t seem to win a lot of headers. He has a good left foot and a bit of skill. 

Cullen isn’t particularly quick (seems like his legs have gone a bit after all his injuries) and isn’t physical enough to win headers or hold the ball up consistently playing as a lone striker. Has a decent football brain and capable of finishing.

Archer- what has happened to him? Seems to be in the mould of what we are looking for at 6.3 and quick, however something has gone wrong if he can’t make the bench. Maybe never fully recovered from the injury he sustained earlier in the season or just doesn’t have the skill to play league football. 


Not sure where we are going to find a striker in January that ticks the boxes, but I hope we try at least. Good luck John! 

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2 hours ago, old sage said:

 I agree one to play alongside Tom Pope!

Surely Askey must realise by now that playing one up front against the lower teams doesn’t work.

Again he left it too late to play two up front and take the game to Morecombe.

Shame really we could be in a better situation with good game management and using players like Cullen up front with Pope more often.

We are becoming a one trick pony so that teams put two players on Pope and cut out the crosses to feed him.

We are also limited by options off the bench because there are not many players on the bench who are game changers.

Morecombe have only won 5 matches this season so were there for the taking same as Leyton Orient who are also on a poor run so it will be another dire game on Saturday with them sitting back hoping to pinch a win.

Dont know what has happened to the so called pressing game with the wingers and midfielders getting forward to support Pope.

So I expect ground hog day again with an isolated Pope feeding of scraps and hoping for a lucky penalty to save the day.

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Losses against the bottom teams, can't beat the top teams. It's no coninsidence. Despite how 'well' Morcombe might have played last night it's gotta be down to tactics. We seem to have a team who play well against footballing teams but can't grind it out against non league teams. Crewe manage to go to these places and smash them. We aren't set up right to beat these teams and that's what will stop us getting promotion this season. That's not a criticism but it's something we must work on next season if we want to be promoted in 2021.

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32 minutes ago, Emile said:

Crewe manage to go to these places and smash them. We aren't set up right to beat these teams 

Crewe play 433 when playing away from home against teams at the bottom of the league 

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9 hours ago, Rampant Zebra said:

But what is the alternative to Pope, no-one else apart from Taylor scores consistently.

Pope doesn’t score consistently though.  Has scored in 5 matches out of a total of 29 appearances.  In 2 of these games it was penalties, which would probably have been dispatched by another player anyway.  Excluding the penalties his goals have had an influence on just 3 results (10 man Morecambe, And FA Cup games against Cheltenham and his excellent head bet at Man City).

Your ‘main man’ should be scoring far more often than that from open play if you want to trouble the top end of the table.

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18 minutes ago, Iron Curtain said:

Crewe play 433 when playing away from home against teams at the bottom of the league 

Not a single team in the top 10 of this division plays 442. Its either 4231, 433, or 352. Bradford have played it on occasion (most recently to shoehorn James Vaughan and Eoin Doyle into the same team) but they've just as frequently played 433 and 352 (more often 352 than the others).

If people sit there and genuinely believe 'more strikers on the pitch = more goals' then they must have missed football since about 2005.

We simply haven't got particularly good strikers.

I always have to preface criticism of him by saying he's a legend, but Pope scored 7 goals from open play last year (+ 4 penalties) and has 2 this year, in the league

That's 9 open play goals in 62 appearances, or to be more accurate, 9 open play goals in 4390 minutes (I think), the equivalent of 9 in 48 full 90 minute games of League 2 football.

If Bennett scored 9 open play goals in 62 league appearances (or a 48 full games worth of 90 minutes, playing every single minute without ever being subbed), he'd be booed every time he entered the pitch. Yes, he has to score the penalties, but over 75% of penalties go in anyway so its hardly a specialist trade.

I don't think we need a left back, the number 1 priority for this football club between now and the start of the 2020/21 season is a forward. There's always a place for Pope at Vale Park but unless we see a considerable upsurge in form he simply can't be our main striker.

Edited by Joe B

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45 minutes ago, Iron Curtain said:

Crewe play 433 when playing away from home against teams at the bottom of the league 

Crewe move the ball quicker and are more mobile up front 

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Too much dead wood who JA doesn't dare to play, if he did then we could change it around quickly. Other than that, we either get players in now or wait until next season when it's going to be much harder. What really was the point in signing Kennedy, Lloyd, Evans, Archer and others if they never get considered?

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3 minutes ago, CAVALIER said:

Too much dead wood who JA doesn't dare to play, if he did then we could change it around quickly. Other than that, we either get players in now or wait until next season when it's going to be much harder. What really was the point in signing Kennedy, Lloyd, Evans, Archer and others if they never get considered?

I'm not sure it will be much harder next year, Cav, unless somehow Plymouth, Exeter, Swindon, Bradford all miss out. Southend will be lucky not to fall straight through, Bolton seem to have resorted to being battered every week again and I suspect we would beat any of MK, Wimbledon and Tranmere currently. In terms of the teams currently in the top 7 of the Conference, only 2 have any recent league experience. 

It's a missed opportunity this season (as things stand) in terms of our inability to beat teams at the bottom, but I'm not expecting us to suddenly plummet down the league next year. 

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Might be worth waiting until the summer and use the money to get better available, could save on transfer fee's and be put better to wages on players available to fend off other clubs.

Next Year is a way away yet, I assume Bolton will be strong as they will have a new squad over the summer and be a huge pull for players, Salford if they don't go up will spend spend spend so probably batter most teams.

Behind that probably a much of a muchness again.

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6 minutes ago, valefan16 said:

Might be worth waiting until the summer and use the money to get better available, could save on transfer fee's and be put better to wages on players available to fend off other clubs.

Next Year is a way away yet, I assume Bolton will be strong as they will have a new squad over the summer and be a huge pull for players, Salford if they don't go up will spend spend spend so probably batter most teams.

Behind that probably a much of a muchness again.

Don't forget Barrow have Quiggers and Angus if they come up 🤨

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