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Addressing the deficit.
at 19:20 30 Nov 2021

Last night's late winner from Gray obviously turned one point into three. Conceding late goals is something that has been well documented this season and if one is to use the criteria that the 85th onwards is designated a late goal, we have coughed up seven points so far. Three games that we lost when drawing - Bristol City, WBA and Peterboro - and one that we drew when winning - N Forest.
Prior to last night we had clawed back 2 points by means of two draws - Barnsley and Reading - and last night brings that to four. So we are still 3 points in arrears when it comes to late goals scored/conceded. Hopefully, over the course of the remainder of the season, we can at the very least break even. Actually, if one extended the 'late goal' criteria to the 80th minute, we are already 'level par' thanks to late winners versus Blackburn and Huddersfield
Spreading the goal-scoring around
at 12:54 27 Nov 2021

Just comparing the goals for with the individual Championship top scorers (slow day sh1t weather ) and it makes interesting reading. We are fourth in the goalscoring charts, behind Fulham, Bournemouth and Blackburn, yet joint ELEVENTH in the top individual scorers, with Chair and Dykes on six. Obviously Mitrovic, and to a lesser extent, Bererton and Solanke have being making the headlines, but considering our much heralded 30 games in a row (goes back into last season I know), and our overall league campaign, it just goes to show how much we are spreading the goal-scoring responsibilities around.

I think this is a good thing, while obviously it is brilliant watching one player tearing it up - like Austin in his pomp - but an over-reliance on that player (particularly in the case of Bournemouth or Blackburn) can see things turn pear-shaped pretty quickly if they lose form or get injured. We, on the other hand, have players popping up to chip in with vital goals, like Amos during the week for example. Johansen hasn't scored yet and expecting a few from Dunne too.
[Post edited 27 Nov 12:55]
Desperate stuff.
at 20:25 26 Nov 2021

Watching West Brom v Forest - we are better than either of them.
De Wijs out until New Year...
at 19:45 26 Nov 2021

...According to WLS. We really need to look at reinforcements in the window. We are one more injury or a suspension away from a defensive crisis.
We've tightened up
at 22:22 24 Nov 2021

In the last six games since the Peterboro defeat, we have only conceded one goal fro open play and that was a fortuitous deflected long range shot. Yes we have lived dangerously at times, but confidence is a huge thing at both ends of the pitch and you can already see Dieng slowly returning to last year's form - he was really important to our win tonight.
I said after the Peterboro game that having to score at least two goals per game was unsustainable and - as free scoring as we are - we had to stop hemorrhaging goals if we were serious about a play off tilt.

There has been much speculation about formations and personnel changes in order to reduce the 'goals against' column, but in the end it just took and improvement from our keeper, an upgrade of Dozzell for Ball (and Field/Amos waiting in the wings) and a little rub of the green (Bristol City 'non-goal') which we certainly hadn't been getting (Forest deflected goal). All this while playing recently with Charlie as our only fit striker.

There has been goals in this team all season and now that we have stopped conceding them so freely ... well not going to jinx anything... but certainly reasons to be cheerful.
Well that was another riveting night of Championship 'action'
at 22:01 23 Nov 2021

4 goals in 5 games and 3 nil nillers, including the 'live' game again. They should really show us more often - guaranteed goals and entertainment.
All Blacks put to the sword!
at 18:35 13 Nov 2021

Superb win for Ireland! What a performance - what a game!
Eze -back today for Palace U23's
at 22:43 1 Nov 2021

Good news
The problem is obvious...
at 21:47 23 Oct 2021

... the solution not so much. If you concede two or more goals per game (as we have done in ten league and cup games), it is very difficult to get anything out of them. to our credit we have in half of them -Middlesboro, Barnsley, Reading, Preston and Everton. But of course it is not sustainable. After a while either one of two things happens; Eether the defence tightens up and the team has an upward trajectory, or the goals dry up at the other end and the numbers in the 'lost' column start to stack up. Unfortunately it is the latter for us and the problem has been exacerbated by the lack of potency in front of goal, particularly from Austin and Gray.

But let us not allow this prolificacy in front of goal to distract us from the real problem, as much as Warburton might like us to focus on it. The stats don't lie and racking up 27 or 28 consecutive games in which we have scored at least once is a phenomenal achievement . The problem clearly lies further back, because even only scoring one goal should secure at least a draw some of the time, yet against Bristol City, Bournemouth, WBA, Peterboro and Fulham (emphatically) it failed to do so.

So, as I said in the intro, identifying the main issue is easy (although, like an alcoholic, unless you are prepared to take the first step in admitting there is a problem, there is no possibility of a solution). Some feel the return of Sam Field will automatically solve the problem, but I am less than convinced of this. Field seems to be a good player and has physical attributes that should help, but heavens above, the lack of big strong lads In our defence or deep-lying midfield is not an issue. Ball, Jorgi, Dunne and Dickie are all well able to take care of themselves in most physical battles, so the problem (and by extension the solution) lies elsewhere.

For me, the lack of pace among the back three and central-midfield is the primary problem, and hopefully Field's return will help that somewhat. But this slowness causes a two -fold problem. The obvious one is that when teams attack us with pace and purpose, cut through us very easily, Peterboro and Fulham the most recent examples of that, but there have been numerous others. Secondly, with Warburton's passion for building out from the back, the lack of pace in the centre of defence/midfield means that it is far easier for the oppos to impose a high press and cause individual errors like Dickie's against Bournemoth, which was a complete game -changer as we had dominated the opening ten. Individual errors result in goals, result in less confidence both individually and collectively. Less confidence, increases the risk of individual errors and on and on it goes.

So if we can't change our defensive personnel too much, how can we reduce our 'goals against' column? I think the most common consensus regarding our turnaround last season, apart from the success of the four loan signings (all our players now), was the new, more pragmatic approach from Warburton. Knocking it long earlier basically. Charlie coming deep, demanding a longer, more direct ball and spraying it wide, left and right to get our attack moving. We seem to abandoned that again now. We seem to have to always play out from the back, which even against zero pressing from Blackburn, was excruciatingly slow. Why Charlie has gone into his shell and is no longer doing what he was doing last season is open to conjecture - unfit/ carrying a knock/can't be arsed - take your pick. But if he is not doing it, we have others more than capable of playing that role, Dykes immediately springs to mind, but Chair or Willock could also. If we were to move the ball quicker out of defence, at least some of the time it would not only put the oppos on the back foot, from an attacking perspective, but would leave us less open to being ran through also as we would be much less predictable to play against.
Whatever the solution, we need to find one.
A good night for us
at 21:56 20 Oct 2021

Results went our way tonight and we hold onto our 5th place position. Looks like Swansea did to West Brom what West Brom did to us. Clive's forecast that they may slip off the automatic places may well prove right. Very big win for Bournemouth last night, they and Fulham seem nailed on at this early stage. I would be happy to have a crack at West Brom in play-offs, either over two legs or at Wembley ( a man can dream)
at 21:12 16 Oct 2021

Excellent second half performance. Such a pity they didn't give Chelsea a bloody nose.
[Post edited 16 Oct 21:14]
The actual Fulham thread
at 14:30 15 Oct 2021

So going for three in a row here, but I suspect my biggest challenge yet. I'm going for a thrill -a-minute 2-2 draw, with us being ahead, behind and finally a last-minute equaliser from Willock. Probably be 0-0 so! Austin also to score.
Not the Fulham match thread, thread.
at 23:38 12 Oct 2021

A few days to go, but just wondering is everyone happy for me to perpetuate the myth that I am responsible for our last two wins by starting the match thread, or does someone else want to have a go for Fulham?
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