Sunday, October 31, 2010

Swindon Preview

The 'Parkinson Out' brigade have gone awfully quiet, and for once I can take some comfort for having not jumped aboard the bandwagon after the Brighton defeat.

We are only a point away from an automatic promotion place, but the extreme compression of the League (13 teams separated by just 4 points) implies that the margins between success and failure are wafer thin.

With an average of 1.57 points per game so far, we are only on course for 72 points which is the mark that Colchester achieved last season, effectively nine points from the play-offs if you add back Southampton's deduction.

The points total required for play-offs is likely to be somewhat lower this season but nonetheless, a dose of realism is as warranted in times of both optimism as well as pessimism.

Our four home wins this season have all been by a 1-0 scoreline, whilst the only game we won by more than a single goal (Leyton Orient away) was secured with an injury time Chris Solly breakaway.

In short it's right that some pressure has been removed from Parkinson's shoulders because it was ill-deserved, but consistency and gradual improvement is still required over the course of several months, not merely one week.

However if ever a solid 1-0 win was required it was on Saturday, when enormous confidence must have been generated from successfully holding onto that lead for 67 minutes, having conceded 7 goals in 2 games.

Phil Parkinson rightly acknowledged Scott Wagstaff's scoring record (11 goals from 28 starts), and it should be noted that just like Nicky Bailey before him, it's not as if he neglects his defensive responsibilities.

He is far from the finished product but it's always nice to see a youngster coming through the ranks, having patiently bided his time behind Lloyd Sam.

His body language does not suggest a hint of arrogance (unlike Shelvey's), which should bode well too.

The memories of the Swindon play-off tussle are still raw, but the Robins of Wiltshire had a fraction of our payroll budget last season yet finished just two points behind us.

I sense that it's sometimes forgotten that if Nicky Bailey had scored his penalty, it's not as if we'd have automatically gone on to win the shoot-out.

Instead we'd still have been merely a 50/50 chance just to reach Wembley where we'd face a confident Millwall side. It felt as if we were awfully close to promotion but in truth we were probably at best a 4/1 shot when Bailey stepped up.

Danny Wilson saw one half of his strikeforce (Billy Paynter) leave on a free to Leeds, leaving Charlie Austin with the responsibility of scoring goals (which to be fair he's still managed six times this campaign).

Charlton's two away wins this season have been full of drama, and it would be nice to see us gain three points on the road in 'normal' circumstances.

We have not won three on the spin since December 2009. On that occasion the Addicks extended it to four wins at Stockport, a result which put the Addicks six points clear of Norwich, an acute reminder that the season is a long one.

Given that the above mentioned Wagstaff has a scoring record of 11 in 28 starts, and given he is virtually assured to start on Tuesday, I'm tempted by the 10/3 available on him to score at anytime for my charity bet.

NY Addick bets £10 on Scott Wagstaff to score anytime (at 10/3)


At 10:25 PM, Anonymous SLC Red said...

While your points per game mean is disheartening, I'm encouraged that this was earned over a period when our strikers had not had a chance to develop an understanding amongst themselves or with the midfield. Apart from the odd blip, things seem to be gelling and I'm looking forward to an increasing average over the rest of the season. Admittedly, this optimism may be tempered by the fact that we have largely avoided the stronger teams so far.


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