By Mike Courtney
First home game of the season, 3 points in the bag, clean sheet; goal scored by one of our strikers, solid performances by our new signings. Plenty of positives then to take out of our opening game. But still plenty room for improvement in my opinion.
Let’s stick with the positives for now though. For me the stand out performer was Rudolph Austin. This is the type of player who has been missing from our team. Strong, athletic, covers acres of ground and an attacking threat at set pieces. Ok he did fade towards the end of the game but what a debut in the Championship. Jason Pearce was a rock at the heart of the defence and won everything in the area and hardly gave Doyle or Ebanks Blake a sniff at goal. Peltier was solid beside him but looked better at right back when Lee's came on. Norris got through a lot of work in midfield and Becchio and Ross up front led the line well and linked up clinically for the all important goal. Young Sam Byram is a star of the future, let’s hope we can hold onto him, and El Hadji showed his qualities when he came on.
The only disappointments for me were left full back where White was a bit dodgy and not much of a threat going forward and Luke Varney. I know he worked hard but I expected a bit more from him.
I won't say much about Paul Green as he picked up an injury but while he was on he seemed to work hard and give young Sam good protection against Matt Jarvis. As for Paddy Kenny he didn't have much to do but what he did do he did well and what about the pass in the lead up to the goal....class.
I was slightly disappointed that we went into defensive mode after 70mins but it worked out well as we held out for the win. If that was last season we would not have hung on in my opinion.
So where can we improve? We do need a couple of more signings to make an impact in this league and I think we need to control possession a little more than we did today. We didn't really put together many passages of passing football, we seem to be going with a direct style which I suppose is to be expected under Warnock. His teams always seem to play that way and if it gets the desired results well I for one won't complain....well not that much anyway. I would like to see us play with more fluency and create more opportunities then we did today but with a solid defence we will be very hard to break down and that is a good solid base to start with.
So all in all I'm happy with the 3 points, very happy with the performance of some of our new boys and am a little more optimistic about our chances this season after a good days work.
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