Millwall 0-1 Yeovil ~ Match Musings

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Hoorah! The long, bleak wastelands of summer are drawing to a conclusion and we are at last back to some semblance of normality in an otherwise confused state of zombie like existence…day one of the football season has arrived.

It has been a strange summer break, Jackett’s departure, Lomas’ arrival, Morison back, new signings in place, we really have been tickled like a trout this time round and the levels of anticipation coupled with the normal hope over experience that most, if not all, Millwall fans are born with, just adds to the heady mixture.

Sadly, the summer also saw the end of a seven year friendship with a loyal and trustworthy friend, who has been a constant companion on our Millwall travels, the Bonemobile has gone to pastures new, austerity measures have kicked in and we had to sell the old girl. But never fear, dear reader, we have the baby Bonemobile who is more than capable of getting us around the grounds.

But enough of this nonsense, what of our opponents, mighty Yeovil Town, fresh from promotion, they are truly punching above their weight in the Championship but their fans are clearly going to enjoy the ride come what may.

The yokels are a strange breed of people, like refugees from the land of the dancing dead, they have a bizarre look about them that makes them appear like a cross between Adge Cutler (may the Gods rest his soul) and Pop Larkin with a bit of Jethro thrown into the mix ( all together now, and that’s just the women…)

A mate once worked down in Yeovil and he would ask the same question to anyone who would listen, “what do you call a mob of Yeovil fans at an orgy? A family reunion… harsh but fair, I believe, the inbred side of things is apparent for all to see and it is not a pretty site.

Now let’s take a gander at the new look, super-duper, much improved Lions side carefully put together by our new manager. Forde in goal, Dunne, Beevers, Shittu and Lowry at the back, Henry, Wright, Abdou and Chaplow in midfield with Morison and Keogh up front…hmmmm, hang a fucking bout, that is a Kenny Jackett side and no mistaking. What happened to the new signings we were all expecting to see?

And excuse me for pointing this out but if Lomas thinks Abdou and Wright is our best central midfield combo then he is in for a very rude awakening indeed. Heads were being scratched all around the sun drenched Den as the 12,000 odd first day back crowd took stock of the very familiar line up.

Still, though, the buzz around the place was definitely there as the expectation levels were gradually rising as kick off approached but the one thing that really, and I mean really bothered me (and a lot of others no doubt) is the fucking gargantuan size of our alleged fitness coach. Now I am a firm believer in the ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’ mantra but with all due respect to the bloke, he is not going to win any friends down the Den unless he produces a team of fitness fanatics the like which have never been seen before. He looked knackered crossing over from the dug outs to the front of the east stand.

The referee (please note that this season I will not be giving them a name check as they are all a bunch of arseholes who deserve nothing but scorn from any self-respecting football fan) got the new season under way and straight away a fight broke out in Block 42 between Millwall fans…ah, the good old Wembley spirit was alive and well then…

Happy to say the punch up petered out as quickly as it erupted and we concentrated on the game. From early on it was apparent that we were going for the long ball option which actually made sense seeing as the two midfield maestros we had on show wouldn’t be able to string two passes together if their fucking lives depended on it.

Morison is not really a target man in the true sense of the word and Keogh isn’t either so it was a bit of a puzzling tactic from the new manager. His ginger hair, glowing like a copper kettle in the blazing sun, was in full show as he stormed into his technical area with arms waving about like a demented devil, clearly not worried about the obvious danger that the sun can bring to people of the red headed persuasion.

With about five minutes gone we had our first glimpse of goal when Lowry, not looking as fit as he might be, rifled over a ball that sort of took Morison by surprise but the front man at least put his head in the way but the ball cannoned off his bonce and well wide of the target.

Soon after Shittu popped up with a decent ball in and this time Keogh got his head to it but again the ball was nowhere near hitting the target.

It was all a bit hoof ball to be honest with no real finesse coming from the Lions at all. We didn’t really assert any real pressure on Yeovil and they seemed more composed on the ball than we were.

Morison looked slightly off the pace, Keogh wasn’t getting involved enough, the midfield was almost comatose at times and at least the back four held onto their claim as a defensive unit.
It seemed the ghost of Kenny Jackett was haunting the place as this team looked absolutely no different to anything we had witnessed last term.

Wright had a shot from range that had some venom but again lacked any real direction and as the half wore on the two teams seemed incapable of anything resembling a real goal scoring opportunity although the visitors gave us a bit of a scare when Forde saved well low down to his right from a well-placed header by Seabourne.

Henry beat the off side trap when he latched onto a through ball from Morison but Yeovil ‘keeper Stech saved well enough but really it was a wasted chance.

It was Henry’s turn to set up Keogh next when he chased the ball down the flank and whipped it back across the goal only for Keogh to hoist the ball way over the bar when again the target was beckoning to be hit.

It was a frustrating first half of football as we really didn’t live up to the expectations too many of us had been harbouring and when Beevers got his header on target, finally ,from a Henry corner it was easily dealt with by Stech.

As the half time whistle went a collective sigh emanated around the ground as the players went off to get, one would imagine, a bit of a roasting from the apoplectic Lomas who looked, at times, like he was going to self-combust.

It was not going according to plan…

No changes for the start of the second half for the Lions, which was very worrying, but it wasn’t too long before the change came and the ineffective Wright was hauled off in favour of new signing Bailey and at last we seemed to start making some sort of progress.

Danny Shittu flashed a header wide and suddenly the Den came to life as the fans finally found their voice. The players responded well and we probably had our best spell of the game as Yeovil looked out of their depth but we just could not convert the possession into a goal and that smacked hard of exactly what our problem was for most of last season. Henry’s snap shot was brilliantly saved by Stech who tipped the ball over for a corner.

It was all beginning to feel a little bit like a déjà vu situation. Been there, done that got the worry lines etc.

We missed a glorious chance to take the lead when Morison did his trademark chase the ball down but Stech beat him to it but the clearance went to Henry and although he was some distance from the open goal he really should have managed to get it on target but again, frustratingly, the ball missed its mark.

Keogh made way for new man McDonald and the most striking thing that caught me off guard with the new signing was his stature. I don’t know why but fopr some reason I thought he was a big strapping goliath of a man but he was more akin to Ronnie Corbett from my vantage point. Are we sure he is the striker we thought he was? He didn’t really get too involved in the game as clearly the long ball game is lost completely on one who is so small. He will have to feed off scraps if we persist in knocking the long balls forward.

With about ten minutes to go Lomas threw his last dice and took off Chaplow (who is absolutely wasted as a left winger if you ask me) and brought on Feeney and guess what…they did a jackettism and Henry went on the left wing to accommodate Feeney on the right. It did nothing to improve our outlook.

With barely two minutes of this torture left to suffer, the absolute feeling of déjà vu spawned spectacularly in front of our oh so disbelieving eyes as we failed to clear our lines properly and a bobbly shot from Upson managed to squirm its way past everyone and plonked the ball into the back of our net. 0-1 and the familiarity of the situation was not lost on the Den faithful as the Yeovil fans celebrated, many Lions fans walked out in a bit of a daze.

Morison did have a chance to equalise, believe it or not in the dying seconds but again the header was firm enough but the direction was appalling.

At the final whistle there were certainly boo’s ringing out but the majority who stayed were just staring at the pitch in silence like a load of extras from a George A Romero movie.

So, all the hype and all the hyperbole leading up to the inaugural game of the 13-14 season ended, as we really should have predicted, with a home defeat. Lomas made a few ‘promises’ in his build up talks before a ball was kicked in anger and one of these was that he would turn the Den back into a fortress. Well, Mr Lomas, you better dig your foundations down a little bit deeper because on this showing you have a lot of building still to do.

Yes, I know there is a long way to go and I am well aware that we had we converted our chances then we would have won comfortably but we didn’t and we lost, at home, again.

The phrase that was on most of our lips was “same shit, different season”. I do hope that Lomas can ram those sentiments right back down our throats in the coming weeks but on this showing we have a long way to go before we can change that opinion.

“There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do.”
A Hat full of Sky ~ T Pratchett
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