We talk about 15 months on how much we have come on from the defeat at Millwall and of course we have. However, today was exactly the same result (worse) and performance - where a home side outworked us and scored at the right time against a Blades side that barely like look creating anything all game.
Hard to say it, but ee don't look the same team at the moment. Whether it is Coutts absence, players off form or teams have worked us out. We have got 1 point from 9 and today we were deservedly beaten again. The swashbuckling performances and results from a month ago do seem a long time ago as really ordinary sides like Brum and Millwall are matching and even bettering us.
What was frustrating is we got back in it and were the side on top when they scored but teams are breaking and scoring on us at the moment and 9 goals conceded in 3 is really unacceptable. Teams look like scoring against us every time they attack.
I never criticise Wilder but why he took out Wright for Stearman I do not know. Wright was the man of the match last week for me. Maybe he wanted more physicallity but it did not work. Brooks scored but that might have been the only thing he did right all game apart from that.
Millwall were dominant early and a Stearman error saw them nip in and turn us round. There was still a lot to do but they managed to play it into Gregory who turned and scored quite easily. No chance for Blackman really. After this they continued to press and harry and we struggled to do anything. Brooks had a good chance ehe meekly sidefooted at the keeper after good work from Basham. In general play the defence looked very shaky and we did not really penetrate. Blackman made a save to keep us in it but gradually we started to knock it about and a good tackle from Lundstram saw Duffy then float a lovely cross in which Brooks wonderfully guided home.
Second half we started well and Brooks had a few half chances and quite a few times we got into good areas but overplayed. We looked mor elikely but ridiculous defending where we left a big gap and the defence was way too high saw O'Connell lose it and they broke. Stevens failed to cut it out and the full back (yes full back was in on 25 yards) and he cut in and drilled home. I felt Blackman went to ground too easy but was left badly expposed.
After this we made numerous chances but did nothing. We actually saw little fight and we kind of gave up. They had 3 or 4 chances to score again and finally did from a set play when Clarke lost his man completely. That was it. Game over.
United - A poor performance where the opponenents worked harder, pressed us and got behind us. We had 64% possession but did nothijng with it other than the goal and one other weak shot. The keeper had nothing to do rest of the game and I cannot remember a shot or effort of note outside of these two. Millwall did not have the ball as much but had many more chances and could have scored more. They looked far more dangerous than us when they attacked as they picked off errors and then broke on us.
The defence made error after error, the midfield passed it ok but all in front of the defence and the front two were ineffective throughout. Other than a Basham run and cross to Brooks, Brooks great goal and a 5 minute spell in the second half where Duffy got on it; we were second best. We lost so many tackles or loose balls and the defence never got to the ball first all game.
Teams do seem to have worked us out. Press us, harry us and watch the defence give it away. If we do break the press, they then let us have the ball until the last third and then pick it off and break quick. QPR, Fulham, Millwall and Brum to a lesser extent have all done it. We got badly exposed on the break. Millwall could have been 3 up before we even started playing. Still for all critique at 1-1 we were well in the game but it was kamikaz stuff on the goal as we lost it and then they countered on us. After it went 2-1 it was the meekest performance I have seen since maybe Millwall down there last year. We almost gave up and there was little fight; let alone chances as they saw game out easily scoring a 3rd and could have scored before that. We looked a tired mob at the end and maybe the efforts of the season so far have taken the toll on some. However he brought in Brooks and Stearman who were both poor. We need to get Baldock back, bring Wright back and then in January make some key additions with pace needed badly all over the side. Teams are recognising they can break on us and get chances.
Wilder had a big test now before Friday. The dream of automatic was always a dream and the reality is a top 6 push would be incredible. To give us any kind of chance of that some of the players need to get back to the basics (pressing/work rate) as teams are matching this and sadly when Clarke does not get us out of the cart; we have looked a bit clueless.
Still don't want to be too down. We are third and still in a great position but we need to make sure this bad run ends as if we have some really tough games now playing Bristol City and then two hard away games. We have had a big kick up the back side today and need to respond.
Blackman 6/10 - Some saying it is the keeper's fault but that is nonsense for me. No chance on the first, he could have done a bit better on the second maybe but it was a one on one. He made a great save to keep us in it at 1-0 and the third it was too far out to take. Not quite sure why he is getting a lot of blame. He is badly exposed at the moment. We could bring Moore in but it would be the same defence making the mistakes in front.
Basham 6.5/10 - Got forward really well first half and put 2 or 3 great balls in including one for Brooks which he should have score. We never saw him second hald and he was defending more. He tried hard but even he started making mistakes second half. Need him back in the centre.
Stevens 4/10 - Had a bit of a nightmare both ways. He got in so many good positions but he never found a white shirt once in terms of his crosses and never looks up. He has dithered too much in possession recently. Defensively got caught a few times and then errored badly on the crucial second. He may have slipped but was in an awful position and no idea the lad was behind him.
Stearman 4.5/10 - Started slowly and I felt made a few errors before the goal when he failed to get there and they nipped in and turned us round. This continued and he looked so slow and often was not marking his man. An odd decision to bring him back. He may have been our so called marquee signing in the summer but there are 3 better centre backs than him so he should not play.
Carter Vickers 4/10 - Another really poor showing. He did ok at Burton but had a mare against Fulham and today he made mistake after mistake. Slow to react to things and gives it away too much. He is not switched on. Mystery why he is preferred to JAke Wright. Surely will be taken out of the team after a poor run of games..
Fleck 7/10 - Maybe our best player. He tried to get on the ball and make things happen but given little help really from others around him. Nothing up top and defence making mistakes behind him. Feel sorry for him at the moment as he is having to try and create things and protect us from chances at the other end.
Lundstram 7/10 - Thought he did well today. He used it well, won tackles and was fine. He was one of our better players. People will point at Coutts being out and yes he is a vital player but the last two games Lundstram has been fine. Defensive mistakes have cost us.
Duffy 6.5/10 - Looked our main threat or chance of things happening but his final pass/ball was off all day. Cannot recall many times he set anything clear up or played us through. Most of his passing was too far from the goal to hurt them. Never hid but he needs to shoot more for me as he takes too long and allows them to get back.
Clarke 5/10 - Really poor today. Looked like Clarke of early last season. Never in the game at all really. Him and Brooks gave us nothing up top. It kept coming back and he did not even offer the running and work rate of other games as the defence got in front of him. His lacklustre/energy devoid showing was summed up when he let Cooper steal in on him to head home the clincher.
Brooks 5/10 - His mark may seem ridiculous to say he scored but outside of that he did next to nothing. His goal was brilliant but other side of this he tried to buy a penalty and was rightly booked and gave it away a lot. Second half he had a shot blocked but from the hour mark; he barely touched the ball.
Sharp - At this stage we were chasing it but he barely had a kick as Millwall looked like scoring more than us.
Donaldson - As above