Millwall 1-5 Derby County ~ Match Musings

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The international break has sort of thrown us a bit in regards to home fixtures so even though we are now in mid-September this was only our third home game of the season so with absence not only making the heart grow fonder but also wiping out your recent memory banks, it was with some high level of excitement and expectation that saw me and MrsB head down to the Den to see the Lions put Derby County to the proverbial sword…

What we got was, shall we say, slightly unexpected.

Look, I am not easily swayed with football but from the game against Brighton I saw a flicker of what we are capable of and I had no reason to suspect we wouldn’t continue in the same vein. We had acquired two new players since then, Waghorn and Connolly a striker and a right back respectively, to boost the squad options for Lomas

Lomas has been chopping and changing all season so far and this game saw him shake things up yet again. He still seems to have no clue as to his best eleven. He has seemingly adopted the ideal that he can learn from his past mistakes and has no trouble easily repeating them.

He had Forde in goal, Lowry, Shittu, Beevers and Connolly across the back, Woolford, Bailey, Derry and Chaplow in the midfield with McDonald and Keogh up front.

It is depressing at the Den this year, the stats are painful to repeat, 2 wins from 13 home games tells you all you need to know and although Jackett was responsible for most of them, I was kind of hoping against hope that Lomas would instil a new regime that would return the Den to something approaching slightly awkward for visiting teams instead of a “turn me round, pull my kecks down and have your wicked way with me” place for teams to come and get their jollies.

Now there is a case for being wrong and a case for being absurdly, ridiculously, ludicrously wrong and it appears I fall into the latter.

I am not going to insult your intelligence now with some wistful, meandering load of bollocks about how the game went. You know it went horribly and cataclysmically wrong and that we are currently in a spiral of gloom that covers us like a blanket of never ending depression that sits on our shoulders whilst quietly defecating on our hopes and dreams.

Another paltry crowd of 9500 odd (500 of those from Derby) wistfully roared the Lions on as the ref blew his whistle to get us under way and as per usual, we started off in an empirically 4-4-2 fashion except that Chaplow forgot he was the right hand midfielder and began his wandering Jew routine which completely flummoxed new right back Connolly who look as bemused as a donkey with a banjo when he looked to play the ball down the channel.

Lowry was doing his best to lump the ball down his side of the pitch at every opportunity regardless of who was waiting for a pass and Shittu now has the fine art of heading a hopeless ball forward completely mastered. Beevers watched in admiration as the big man refused point blank to control the ball at any given prospect, presumably believing that the crowd watching were fully conversant with his mantra of “That’s what I do” as the ball thumped off his bonce time after time.

Woolford was having trouble getting any joy against erstwhile loanee Adam Smith and Keogh couldn’t make his mind up where he was supposed to be playing but at least McDonald looked the part up front. In fact our only effort in a fraught first half was when he made himself some room and clipped a neat ball just shy of the target.

Derby looked quicker on the ball and more cohesive as a team and as the minutes ticked by you had a sense that they knew what they were doing to a man and we, on the other hand, were just improvising.

We had about as much rhythm as Navan R Johnson (Oh Steve Martin, you were funny once), and our collective distribution of football to player was as effective as playing a piano in boxing gloves.

The first of many Derby goals came with a familiar look about it. Our abject failure to defend simple set pieces is pitiful to watch at times. A corner kick against our defence is almost like a gift from the Gods of football for any team we play. This time, the ball floated in quite harmlessly but Forde decided to practice his donkey punch technique and managed to fist the ball straight back to the corner kicker and this time he hit a decent cross in that Shittu, for all his heading experience, should have got to but again he was found wanting as he was out jumped by Buxton who headed in the simplest of goals. 0-1 and that was just the start of the rout.

Naturally the mood of the home fans dropped quicker than a whore’s drawers on payday and the rumblings of discontent were already reverberating around the stands. It seemed like we were frantically searching for a panic button to hit as the one goal deficit felt like an avalanche. We were not matching them in any department and apart from McDonald’s lone effort; I don’t recall any other Millwall attempt at goal in the first half.

As the half petered out, thoughts were turning to what changes Lomas would make for the second forty five when Derby won a free kick which we again failed to deal with as Derry headed the ball right to the feet of Bryson who whipped in a shot from about twenty yards out that flew into the back of the net. 0-2 and a mountain to climb for the second half.

Lomas made the changes, he took off the hapless Keogh and sent on Waghorn and the ineffective Derry was replaced by Henry.

From memory, I think we started quite brightly and were building up, finally, a bit of steam but with only five minutes into the half Lowry went for a high tackle and clearly left his boot in and as Hughes writhed on the floor the red card was being brandished in Lowry’s butter wouldn’t melt face.

So 0-2 down and only ten men left, Lomas dropped Woolford back into the left back slot and offered a silent prayer to the Gods of football and boy do they like a laugh. The general consensus of opinion from where I was that at two nil down and with a man short it was surely shit or bust time so we were kind of expecting us to go three at the back and give it a go but the silly sods went for damage limitation and failed miserably at that as well.

It took Derby all of three minutes to get the third goal, a thunderbolt of a shot by Bryson from a good thirty yards out beat Forde all hands up and the stands emptied out quicker than construction site being visited by Immigration officials.

Those that left did, however miss a little gem in amongst the crap that we were displaying. Trotter came on for Chaplow and lent a hand in the move that saw McDonald lay off a tidy ball that presented Waghorn with a chance to open his Millwall account and he dispatched it into the back of the net for 1-3. The cheer was muted as the stark reality of the situation was still abundantly clear.

This was case proven soon after when Derby added a fourth goal without breaking sweat, Bryson firing in for his hat trick from the right hand side of the area which whistled past Forde with little effort.
By now, the home crowd had dwindled and the chants for Lomas to get his coat and leave were reverberating around the place but he is either too proud or too stupid to take the hint, choosing instead to sit in the dugout with his head bowed into his hands like a naughty school boy waiting for the headmaster to call him in for a caning.

The final humiliating passage of play saw a woefully misplaced pass from trotter find its way to Bennett who belied his young years by manfully striding forward and clattering the ball past the stricken Forde for Derby’s fifth and thankfully, final goal.

I have deliberately left out the bit where Smith took a coin to the bonce and was substituted “for his own safety” and the lunatic who ran on the pitch to just race across from the west to the east and jump over the wall and run straight out the ground because I fear there will be enough written about that elsewhere

In summary then, we were appallingly inept which funnily enough matched exactly what our manager is. If Lomas has a shred of dignity he will fall on his proverbial sword and scurry back to the highlands were he can go back to managing a team worthy of his skills.

When John Berylson appointed this clot he spouted a load of psychobabble bull shit about not caring what the fans want and that he wanted a man who was a manager not a coach who uses tactics. Well, we certainly know that the latter is true and as of yet we have not seen an ounce of managerial ability from Lomas at all. He has used more players than any other manager in this league so far and no doubt, if he is still at the helm on Tuesday night against Blackpool, that number will increase.

Back in June of this year Berylson was quoted as saying that Lomas “is thick skinned and wants to succeed here” and that “he communicates well and I like his attitude”. To date I have yet to see any demonstration of his communication skills and anyone with ginger hair is by default, thick skinned (cheap shot, but fuck it, I am pissed off)

Berylson went on to say in his interview with Alex Aldridge that “Steve has a great feel for the game because he’s played it. (Insightful) He is very intuitive and reacts quickly to problems on the pitch- he’ll take risks to try and win games with substitutions. (if sitting down with your head in your hands constitutes quick and intuitive reactions then fair enough )He won’t hesitate to change things. I don’t know Steve that well yet (yet he seems to know that Lomas has a feel for the game, intuitive, risk taker etc etc!)but I think we are going to be able to communicate very well. He’ll be very influential in the dressing room and I expect he’ll be very successful. I hope he is here for a long time”

Lomas is out of his depth. It is painful to watch and almost pitiful to witness. He has no guile, no charisma, no sense of shouldering responsibility, his resolute insistence on keeping passing the blame onto his players is frankly embarrassing and if he really can’t see that the problem is him then we are heading towards a long and painful season.

Can we afford (financially) for him to be sacked? The more pertinent question is can we afford (financially) to suffer dwindling attendances and then a drop into the chasm of Division Three (old school) if he hangs around.

Has Berylson got the balls to admit he has made a monumental rickett in appointing a chancer who clearly pulled the wool over the chairman (and the board of directors) eyes and blagged his way into a championship football club? Or do we continue as if nothing is wrong and we are merely experiencing a minor setback whilst our beguiling manger (yes, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but it makes me feel better) heads blindly into the abyss dragging our sorry misbegotten arses along with him for the ride?

Please note, the west ham thing is a red herring. This has nothing to do with his past indiscretions. This is about a footballer who has managed for a year at St Neot’s Town in the Southern League and at St Johnstone for two years in a league which is probably one below the fucking Southern league in real terms.

He has absolutely no experience whatsoever of managing a club in the Championship. He has already been weighed and measured and has been found wanting.

I hope I am forced to eat every single word about Lomas and that he somehow turns our season around into something mildly plausible but for the life of me, I just can’t see it.

“The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Terry Pratchett, Snuff
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    Im going to start a campaigne to get back to Shakespear Terry Pratchet is a cunt