'Back to Square One' - 3 things we learned: Brisbane vs City
Another infuriating night for City fans…
Away from home, we let slip a 2-0 half-time lead and allowed Brisbane to score four second-half goals during a disappointing evening at Dolphin Stadium which ended 4-3.
Typically this is where we’d wrap up the goals, but there were seven of them and our blood starts to boil whenever we think about even one of their goals, let alone all four within the space of a paragraph or two.
To summarise: Jamie Maclaren good. Second half City bad.
Here’s what we learned from last night…
We’ve not turned the corner yet
Yesterday’s match was so very City; travelling to face an underperforming team who hadn’t scored in over five hours of football and taking a lead into half-time, but then throwing it all away in an insipid second-half performance in which we allowed Brisbane to score FOUR goals.
The penalty that gave them the three points, as outrageous and infuriating as it was, should never have happened in the first place because we should have held on to either of our two-goal leads at 2-0 or 3-1.
We remain atop the league due to fortunate results elsewhere, but if we’re giving ourselves a genuine chance at finishing the season there, we MUST put in professional performances against these banana-peel teams, particularly away from home, and ensure that we’re securing the precious three points.
We can’t keep a clean sheet to save ourselves
Six games, one clean sheet, and only Central Coast have conceded more goals.
What seems to be the biggest issue, apart from the man between the sticks, is our defensive lapses to concede goals during unexpected periods of play. We’re talking that goal to Riley McGree following a poorly-negotiated corner from Adelaide, those late goals against Wellington and Central Coast, and now, Roy O’Donovan’s first goal in yesterday’s match.
We watched in disbelief when in the blink of an eye, Roy O’Donovan was suddenly on the end of an aerial ball inside the box and easily slotted past a flailing Bouzanis. When the incident is put under the microscope, it’s Curtis Good who’s doing a poor job of tracking the flight of the ball and who’s completely unaware of O’Donovan sprinting in behind him.
Then, of course, you’ve got Dean Bouzanis maniacally coming off his line, yet never really close to impacting O’Donovan’s shot. It’s one of those occasions where whether you stay on your line or come out, the decision has to be made early. And Bouzanis stuffed it up.
We face the Wanderers next week, who have the league’s best defence but aren’t that flash in attack. We NEED a clean sheet if we want to stay top heading into our bye.
Craig Noone MUST step up soon
Jamie Maclaren might genuinely be too good for the league, but he can’t do it all.
(Well, he can actually… he’s single-handedly won us every game he’s played in.)
Maybe he can do it all then, but definitely not for the whole season.
Fans came into this season expecting Craig Noone to take his FFA Cup form into the league and create an electrifying goal-scoring duo with Maclaren where if one was struggling, the other would step up and bang in the goals all the same. That’s not happening though.
The Englishman has just one goal and an assist after six appearances – both came in that 3-2 Wellington clash.
When Maclaren came off in the 64th minute – immediately following the penalty which made it 3-3 – it should have been Craig Noone that fans looked to for that crucial last goal to put us back in the lead, but he just doesn’t look all that likely to score honestly.
He tends to just pick up the ball in wide areas, come inside and launch a 30-yard curler straight at the keeper rather than creating havoc in the box by aggressively driving at his fullback closer to the touchline.
For weeks we’ve been saying “he’ll come good, he’ll come good”, but if he ends up heading into the Round 8 bye without a goal from open play, there’ll be some serious eyebrow-raising going on.