Tag Archives: Shrewsbury Town

Can’t see the wood for the trees

As Rovers stare into the abyss, League Two gazes also in to Rovers. And with this realisation comes the usual frenzied clamour from the belligerent masses for “misters”, “mesters”, “pros” and “men” to don their battle gear and fight to the bitter end, or May, in a valiant attempt to guide the club to the promised land of third tier lower mid table. But for me I think we’ve already found our leader, the Scouse Boy King.

As I witnessed Conor Grant hurriedly remove himself from the path of a dangerously inswinging Shrewsbury set-piece last week, I cast my mind instantly to the demise of Finland’s telecommunication and forestry sectors and how very profound this latest turn of events was.

The evasive actions of the little wizard from Fazakerley led to the only goal of an otherwise forgettable game and plunged Rovers deeper into the relegation mire. To the casual observer this seemed like a rather dire state of affairs, however to me, the thinking man’s thinker, it seemed like the dawn of a brave and bold new world.

Steve Jobs is dead. Despite the attempts of Ashton Kutcher (2013) and Michael Fassbender (2015) to breathe new life into the former Apple kingpin, there is to be no return. But in 2011, whilst most of the world mourned his passing, the people of Helsinki rejoiced. Steve Jobs had brought nothing but pain to the citizens of the Land of a Thousand Lakes. His insistence on doing away with paper had rendered the vast pine plantations of the Nordic nation obsolete, whilst his fondness for making popular phones proved too much for Nokia to bear.

For the people of Finland this is the tech guru’s destructive legacy. An economic bastard laying waste to all they’d worked hard for. But really they have only themselves to blame. Steve left many things behind, including a company worth more than Switzerland and a $200 billion cash reserve, but he also left behind his cache of wise words. If the good people of the western vodka belt had only mined this rich seam of philosophical gems then they too could have been laughing all the way to the European Central Bank.

As it was, they chose instead to stick resolutely to the teachings of Elton John’s favourite man manager, Graham Taylor. “More and more in modern day football I see no defender on the post. Now I can understand why people do that, but I don’t agree with it”. Trapped in a cycle of tradition and heritage, aching back to the good old days, Finland resolutely kept their man on the post. Twas ever thus and ever thus shall be. And what did they get for it? Well and truly fucked.

And as Conor Grant stood in front of the South Stand in the 62nd minute, clutching the near post and eyeing up Shaun Whalley’s right peg, he knew this all too well. But Conor Grant had three advantages over Finland. He’d seen Steve Jobs (2015), he’d seen Jobs (2013) and he’d seen Steve Jobs: One Last Thing (2011). And Conor Grant knew that for years people had stood at the near post and headed the ball clear and what did they have to show for it? A stockpile of useless timber and a multinational corporation on the verge of bankruptcy.

And so, as the ball careered towards his head Conor turned to Steve Jobs for advice. “Conor”, Steve Jobs whispered to him, “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. So Conor ducked. Because Conor is a leader. And that’s exactly what we need.

 

By The LJ Monk

Doncaster Rovers vs Shrewsbury Town – Report

What an absolute, unmitigated disaster that was…

• What to do about a problem like McCullough? Whilst the obvious option was to drop the Northern Ireland defender entirely and recall Andy Butler, Darren Ferguson instead opted to change the formation to a 4-1-3-2 with McCullough in front of the defence.

• McCullough was able to utilize his passing range without the need to position himself in a place vaguely appropriate to stop the ball bouncing over his head. I have been McCullough’s fattest biggest critic this season but he was much improved in a different role. Surely Paul Keegan will return to the side when fully fit however.

• The change of formation also allowed Taylor-Sinclair to play in his actual position. Lo and behold he was just as awful at left back as he has been all season at centre back. If Rovers don’t sign a better defender before the end of the season, they will go down. It is as simple as that.

• In midfield Lynden Gooch and Riccardo Calder were direct and lively, particularly in the first half but Conor Grant seemed lost and struggled to make any impact on the game. The young midfielder has started at every available opportunity since joining from Everton and is perhaps in need of a rest.

• Rovers biggest problem (aside from the comical goal) was in attack. Stand in skipper Nathan Tyson said it was time for his team mates to ‘stand up and be counted’ in the run up to the game but he was anonymous throughout. Liam Mandeville didn’t fare any better and Andy Williams succeeded only in missing Rovers best chance.

• It is not just the attack that failed to make a mark however, the entire team were outfought and out thought throughout a lacklustre second half. At no point did Rovers look like a side scrapping for points. The late siege you would expect from a home team in need of a victory never materialized with Shrewsbury remaining the more likely to score in the closing stages.

• Shrewsbury lost the experienced Zak Whitbread after 27 minutes to injury but 20 year old Dominic Smith (who only made his début last October) was hardly tested as Rovers struggled to create a meaningful chance.

• On a day when Rovers lacked creativity it was galling to see Harry Forrester score his third goal in as many games for Rangers. Letting such a talented player leave seemed odd when in mid table, it looks downright ludicrous for a team struggling just outside the relegation zone.

Winners

Richie Wellens – He won’t care about the mixed reception but he will deeply cherish a hugely important win for Shrewsbury.

Luke McCullough – Answered his growing critics with an assured performance. Still deserves to be nothing more than back up to Paul Keegan though.

Andy Butler – Finally recalled to the squad and gave a solid performance to confirm what all Rovers fans already know. Andy Butler is undoubtedly our best defender. When fit he has to start.

Losers

Thorsten Stuckmann – The simple fact is without Stuckmann, Rovers would probably be bottom now. He has produced some vital saves in big games and whilst his distribution is poor he has to go down as one of Paul Dickov’s better signings. There is no excusing his howler for Shrewsbury’s goal however. We had a goalkeeper at school who once conceded twice directly from a corner in one game. He used to eat glue.

Rovers Strikers – Whilst the midfield has to take some of the blame, Rovers have now scored 3 goals in 8 games. 2 of those goals came in matches we lost anyway. That is not just relegation form, it is bottom of the league form. Tyson, Williams and Gooch have now gone a combined 19 games without scoring. Horrific.

Darren Ferguson – After 9 winless games, Fergie finally changed the formation against Shrewsbury and the result was yet another miserable defeat. Paul Dickov’s worst run as Rovers manager was 9 games without a win, DF has now surpassed that but remains largely free of pressure. If Rovers are to change their manager with a view to saving their season, it has to be now. It is time to stick or twist. 5 of the players who featured against Shrewsbury were signed by Ferguson and another was given his first league start.

Those players aside this is pretty much the same group of players who finished 13th last season plus a better goalkeeper in Stuckmann and a goalscorer in Andy Williams. Our current league position is quite frankly a fucking disgrace.

Doncaster Rovers vs Shrewsbury Town – Preview

After Tuesdays resounding 2-0 defeat away at Swindon Town, Rovers will be looking for a response against fellow strugglers Shrewsbury Town.

That loss meant that Rovers are now winless in 9 games, the sides worst run since January 2014. That streak also lasted for 9 games and was ended with a 3-0 victory in which James Coppinger scored one of the goals. The talismanic midfielder will be absent through injury against the Shrews however and Richard Chaplow will also miss out as he serves a one match ban.

One man hoping to feature is new signing Riccardo Calder. The left footed Aston Villa midfielder could be in contention for a starting berth but the continued lack of defensive reinforcements is worrying for Rovers fans with McCullough once again at fault against Swindon.

Rovers played 7 games in November and December without McCullough, winning 5 and losing just once, keeping 4 clean sheets in the process. In the games that McCullough has played since he returned in December, Rovers record reads W1 D3 L6 with only 2 clean sheets. It is crystal clear where the problem lies.

Shrewsbury will be looking for revenge after Keshi Anderson’s last gasp winner at the New Meadow back in October. The Shrews beat Rochdale 2-0 last time out and have defeated league leaders Burton Albion and relegation rivals Blackpool away from home in recent weeks so will be full of confidence.

Hoping to start on his return to the Keepmoat is Richie Wellens although the veteran midfielder has had to settle for a place on the bench in recent weeks. After being deemed surplus to requirements by Darren Ferguson, Wellens would dearly love to get one over his former club and would no doubt fancy himself against Rovers injury hit midfield.

Match Prediction 0-0

Both teams will be terrified of losing what should be a cagey game at the Keepmoat and Rovers have struggled to score in recent weeks. Two of Shrewsbury’s last three away games have finished goalless and the Shropshire side will be hoping for at least a draw again against a Rovers outfit bereft of confidence.