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The Rams 1 Cardiff City 1
After the time lapse of allowing the debacle at Brentford to be erased partially from memory, the fans filled Pride park to see if Mr Cocu and Co. had instilled some sort of football ability into the squad he chose to play against Cardiff. It came as no surprise to see that he had picked a more experienced eleven with the biggest shock seeing Mr Martin named in the substitutes. Holmes was put in the proper place with Bielk and Huddleston in the midfield and Clarke in the centre full back, and Malone at left back. Would it become a more solid performance against a typical Warnock (Sheffield) set up. The Bluebirds having come out of the Premiership could be caught cold for they were not having the best of times from not winning away and the Rams not winning at home. It soon became apparent that it would not be a happy event for Marriot who was sent passes in the air having to battle against six foot six defenders when he is only five foot six. However the spirit the Rams began with was full gusto, and soon the reward of a goal from a ping pong style of play in the Cardiff penalty area found “Molly” Malone in the inside right position and almost on the “Babby” line to put the ball into a vacant onion bag for the goal. From then on the referee decided he was going to be incompetent. His decision of over looks were more than blatant and pedantic. Cardiff were brutal and mardy in equal combinations. Warnock just stood absolutely poker faced at his teams antics. It has been witnessed many time from his teams, so it is obviously encouraged. There were several instances where blatant gamesmanship and blatant fouls were performed to no avail from the referee, yet to the chagrin of the Rams supporters. The referee was the only person to decide Keogh had grabbed an opponents shirt when a fracas in the Rams penalty area was in full force, hence Cardiff were given a life line which they took, albeit much to the disappointment of Roos who only just missed saving the ball from entering the goals. Over all the performance from the Rams was an improvement. The sight of Huddleston increasing his walking pace into a trot with the ball at his feet was one notable issue to mention and the occasional sight of Lawrence trying. Bielik showed promise by running the ball into the Cardiff half yet no one gave hiom a decent option or support, the same applies to Holmes. Marriot needs a pass just wide of the full backs not in the air, Waghorn showed some really good football skill, having been given some freedom to be more self expressive, this could be an omen for the future.
Maybe Cocu has got a reputation for giving young players a chance, yet is it a good move when the results are not in his favour yet the potential from these lads is encouraging. It is a paradox as to decide who is to be chosen. He has obviously given much thought and decided to add one at a time instead of several at once. Hence the team chosen against the Bluebirds was a more experience outfit. If only two better players were available to take Huddleston’s shirt and Lawrence’s shirt: (who by the way showed the same apathy when wearing the red shirt of Wales). Then more involvement from these two positions would benefit this team greatly. The inclusion of Bielik and Holmes changed the style of play straight away, now the forwards have to be more aware of these two players style and get themselves in a position from the hard work these two lads do. The passing back from the forwards is still too dominant. This is an obvious sign of timidity and fear when in possession of the ball. What was most pleasing though was to see such as Holmes and Bielik with their back to the opposing goal collect the ball then turn around and go with it rather than to pass back to the full backs. This excites the crowd and must pump more enthusiasm into the players to continue to do it. To see Chris Martin named was a fillip to the supporters. He has shown great determination to get back from when Pearson sent him to Fulham and maybe now he is a little more wiser with the same acumen his height and presence could suit the centre midfield position. (Also his notable wardrobe style of play). If Cardiff can get the benefit from gamesmanship, then why not the Rams. It could be that Derby are a little too honest and need to be more street wise. Martin can encourage this and as an old favourite he could enthuse the fans as well.
Leeds United 1 The Rams 1
Who can recall that unforgettable event the victor named “Rope a dope” The boxing match that Mohammed Ali won by allowing Joe Foreman to punch himself out until he was so fatigued and mentally gone it then allowed Mohamed to knock ten bells out of him and win the contest. In a similar fashion, Derby did a similar ploy in this game albeit not actually done by design. Derby were suffering the same collective insecurity at Elland Road as they did last season in the league game. It was as if they were psychologically in dream land and went through the motions without any gusto or determination. Some of their antics were so woeful it was embarrassing to watch. How on earth Leeds failed to win this game can be put down as the eighth wonder of the world. Some outside influence must have been with the Rams to deny the Whites a goal feast. Roos in goal was so edgy he needs to have counselling. It is not to often Keogh gets berated yet he was the instigator of so many cock ups the abacus was worn out. Huddleston need not have been on the field. Jo Flo was just a waste of time his pussy foot attempts to tackle were farcical. Clarke collected the anxiety from all the rest of the team and Bielik was there but what did he do that was notable. It was obvious Marriot would be shut out, so to Waghorn yet who stood out to get the plaudits? The answer to this creates silence. Cocu to give him some credit realised the somnambulism in his chosen eleven and decided to change the set up. On came the warddrobe, off went Marriot, on came Knight for Holmes and although this was with about fifteen minutes to go it was noticeable that the Leeds team were getting fatigued from their hard endeavours, for they run around like ants until they just cannot do it at the same pace when the time is running out. It was at this juncture that the Rams started to show some of their ability. Martin kept winning the free kicks from his “warddrobe act”. Not just that though he got involved with the game and from setting up a good move where the ball was on the right wing under the charge of Lowe who sent it across the penalty area to Patterson who touched it on to Martin who was on the left corner when it came to him he duly obliged to put the Leeds crowd into silent mode. Hence why this game can now be labeled in a similar classification as “Rope a Dope” because Leeds had tired so much they could not stop Martin scoring. Derby took advantage of this and in some degree finished the stronger of the two teams. Yet why oh why is it that they are so doleful. It is understandable if one or two players are having a “bad day at the office” however for eleven to be off it all at the same time is mystyfing. They show promise in one game then give an abysmal performance the next game. Why?
It is still contentious that someone within the team is putting to much anxiety into the minds of the players. They come out with so much pent up emotions that they are to timid to express themselves in case they are berated for doing it. All the adages can be addressed to the way they play, hot potato; pussy footing; timidity; bad decision making; ball watching, and it can go on and on. What makes it worse is that they are, or supposed to be, professional footballers, who get a tidy sum of pound coins on a regular basis yet seem to delight in the fact they do not have to earn it. The basic tactics within a game are cast aside and one of the worst for doing this is Keogh. It is said in a facetious manner that if he goes across the half way line he will get a nose bleed, that is why he never leaves his own penalty area. He has this quaint system of being able to lift his left foot into the air and pass the ball with his right foot to his left at the same time. Maybe he should practice kicking the ball forward and when having perfected it do it in a game. Huddleston is the same he too cannot pass over the half way line, just in case he gets lost. The full backs as one unit will not push up, the mid field reacts the same so then there are seven in their own half whilst the three forwards are battling it out with the opposition, who clear the ball to their waiting midfield and away they go. Within two passes the ball is in the Rams penalty area and the Ram fans are holding their breath. If Roos gets it then the best farce begins. He rolls it out to the dormant Keogh who stands still with the ball under his foot until he gets a visit from the opposition then in panic he sends square ball pass to either Clarke or Lowe who are immediately challenged (because the opposition read the pass) and then it is ping pong until the ball gets pumped away or it goes back to Roos who starts the process off again. Such pathetic play inspires the opposition fans to sing the song “Your supporting (expletive) excreta” It is a fact; we are.