EFL Cup 2nd Round
Team: Ingram, Bidwell, Onuoha, Hall, Perch, Kakay (Polter), Borysiuk (Luongo), Sandro, El Khayati (Chery), Shodipo, Washington
Subs Not Used: Smithies, Comley, Paul, Grego-Cox
Attendance: 3,928 (including 211 Rochdale fans)
We won despite Hasselbaink’s team selection, not because of it. He was forced into making an early change as El Khayati came off injured and Chery was introduced on 40 minutes.
Almost immediately Sandro was on the end of a decent corner from Chery and side-footed home from about 10 yards.
Up until then Sandro was absolutely dire. Being outmuscled, late in the tackle at literally every ball, he got yellow carded for dissent and looked like he’d never played football in his life.
He was lucky to stay on in the second-half with a coupe of challenges that were borderline yellow cards. Some of the crowd were saying that he should be removed before he was sent off, when he scored the winner.
The sceptics got their wish granted when Polter was introduced on 73 minutes with, get this, two forwards on the pitch!!! So what did JFH do? He put Washington in left-midfield!!! You could not make it up? I believe Jimmy is though!
Up until Chery came on we were very poor in literally every area. Perch was being roasted time and again and in the middle of the park, Rochdale were getting too much space, which was weird seeing as we had a five-man midfield to their four. We looked like our midfield had never, never played together before, which they hadn’t!!!!
Ariel Borysiuk was making his first team debut alongside El Khayati and Sandro. So we were experimenting in a competitive game?
Second-half we improved immensely and once Luongo was introduced on the hour, we controlled the game and deservedly won. Also in that second-half the debutant Osman Kakay and Shodipo came alive on both wings and we looked a real threat going forward.
So going back to team selection, I cannot believe that we are still persevering with one upfront against League One Rochdale. With no disrespect to them, of their four league games so far, they have drawn once and lost the other three.
If we draw a Premier team in the 3rd round you’ll get no complaints when we play one upfront and pack the midfield, but to do so against Preston and Rochdale who hadn’t won a league game before visiting us is criminal!
Bring on the 3rd round! It’s been seven years since we got this far and ended up losing at Fulham Broadway. In the last 20 years we’ve managed the giddy heights of the 3rd round on four occasions and have reached the 4th round once!!!
Keep believing people.
We thought that it was going to be one of those nights when the visitors scored after just five minutes. McDermott’s corner was headed in by Lund at the far post. They continued to look dangerous for much of the half, with James Perch having a difficult time at right-back.
Conor Washington’s low shot was well saved and there was also a good shout for
a penalty. Washington was bundled over and there was another appeal when their keeper may (?) have handled outside the box but it was too far away for me to judge.
Nasser El Khayati was fouled in the wide-right midfield area and was forced off, but Dean Whitestone completely ignored the heavy challenge, so no booking, not even a free kick and we ended up with just a throw-in!
However Tjaronn Chery’s appearance on 40 minutes was to help change the course of the game.
It was a much improved second-half, chances followed, including Seb Polter’s cross/shot which was very close to being seized upon.
There was an almighty game of ping-pong around our box, which thankfully saw the ball being eventually cleared.
Those two goals from Sandro won us the game, and he even completed more than his usual 60 minutes.
A very disappointing crowd of just under 4,000, who were located in the Lower Loft, the Paddocks and the South Africa Road, plus around 200 away fans in the Upper School End.
Good to meet Gerard Walsh (Walshy) from Waterford again.