They say that November is a month for sombre reflection.
There were a fair amount of sombre reflections looking back at me as i hastily exited Seaview Stadium at full-time yesterday. At the going down of the sun Crusaders had surrendered a lead at Seaview for the fourth time this season. Draws with Coleraine, Cliftonville and this latest one and the criminal 2-1 defeat to DC.
Any dropped points are hard to take, but it was the manner of the performance and the imbalance of the team selection that caused the most consternation. Lest we forget, the team had come into this game with a great showing of form. The draw at the Oval and the wins at DC and on Wednesday night against Carrick had been the best football of the season and picking a starting eleven on current form was never going to be easy with so many knocking the Managers door for selection.
A Dallas dead leg and Morrow feeling a strain in the warm up hamstrung selection somewhat creatively , but the decision to start Rainey on the left at the expense of Hazley who had been chief architect in tandem with McBride on Wednesday night in that seven goal demolition against an albeit weakened Carrick side was bizarre. At this stage of his career Davy Rainey is as poor an imitation of a left winger there’s been since Tony Blair was in office. Yet he laboured gainfully for the cause as we have come to expect.
The contrast between the football played in the previous week and yesterday was stark. The fast zipping ball to feet and excellent delivery was replaced by an almost without thought, aimless punt up the park brand of lower league football that is unbecoming the stature of the players we have at this club and is as unappetising to our supporters as the result.
When Stephen Baxter purrs about the great delivery feeding his strikers in midweek in post match interviews , why abandon it for the percentage game of punting the ball into the box? Michael Halliday chested the ball more than he kicked it and Timmy Adamson just can’t cut it with his back to goal. His withdrawn role is better suited to the game of Rainey or Owens.
Credit to Lisburn Distillery. They came to frustrate and win their personal battles. Once Thompson grabbed their equaliser they played the better football. Rainey when moved back into the middle almost nicked it with a sublime piece of skill , but an even better stop from Brennan kept honours even!
Football is a simple game . Pick your best player in each position, at that position. accommodating players in unaccustomed positions is counter productive.
We have three massive games on the bounce now, starting with Coleraine away next week. If we don’t get some positive results , the epitaph writers will be in business and there’ll be very few paying homage.