In a rare fit of pique, I tweeted at half time that we were bordering on mediocrity, which in hindsight was actually quite harsh. If I retrospect my own thoughts, the pure frustration of seeing us trying ever so work without the satisfying end product that we all crave. I blame the weather, it was a cranky boiling toiling toddler tantrum. Soz.
In the cooler light of today, we can certainly take much more good than bad.
In Defence, We Trust
It's been a long, long time coming but finally we have a defence that can hold more than a wet paper bag. OK, MK Dons didn't have a stellar attack in former Royal Simon Church, but you can only defend against what is put in front of you and what they did, they did with some ease. With no lapses in concentration and only one heavy pass back to the nervy Jonathan Bond to speak of, and Church hitting the post, otherwise the Dons didn't have a prayer. So we'll take the stat that the Dons had zero shots on target! Clarke likes his teams to have good shape, work as a unit and be strong. We certainly can see a marked improvement on the fare that was served up last season. With that consistent base, we can work on matters further up the field.
So far, Sa good
Even though we are awaiting the first goal from our first Portuguese player, the effort from Orlando Sa was plain to see. For most of the game he was a constant menace with his close control and strong build up play. Towards the end of the game he did fade, but with so little support who could blame him? He certainly covered the yards. On the other side of his game, he's certainly a canny customer. The referee, who did have a bit of a shocker, was on the end of a barrage of 'advice' from Sa throughout the entire game. Whilst the clamour for an additional striker is obvious, the creator of chances for the likes of Sa is just as required.
We need a break
Clarke commented directly after the game that even though he thought the performance was good, we did just need a 'break' to fall for us. It could be said that luck is something you make, rather than hope for, but to state after four games in that we're already requiring a summoning of Lady Luck to rock up seems a tad desperate.
This may sound as if ol' Bobbins is trying to dig for diamonds in a mountain of coal, but I swear nothing could be further from the truth - our midfield is looking tidy (just say it in a Welsh accent!) Aaron Tshibola looks as if he's played for the first team for all his life. Now, tell me, that Hope Akpan chap, do we miss him? No. Tshibola has showed us already that he's adjusted to the step up with ease. Stephen Quinn is just a work-horse, simple as that. In the searing heat of the day, he ran and ran. No wonder he was given a breather for Álex Fernández for his and Spain's, first appearance in a Royals shirt. Karl Robinson also stated that they had to change formation to cope with Danny Williams' movement, so whilst we may cite a lack of creation the opposition certainly do take note of our efforts despite the exiguous scoring.
What happens when Garath McCleary and Paolo Hurtado finally appear from the post international break hibernation? They will certainly give us the options we crave to open up the opposition defences, but at the expense of whom? (Unless we morph into a total football 3-6-1 formation, last seen in Hungary circa 1963.)
No Panic At The Disco
And finally, a huge thumbs up from almost the entire audience as DJ MegaParty was replaced by someone who delivered a much more muted and measured 'performance. Kudos to the club for listening to the fans who would have been baying for blood had DJ MegaParty's vocal onslaught continued.