Into the Valley (of Death) – Charlton Away
As I was getting ready to leave for London yesterday morning, I sent a generic positive pre match “come on you Rams” tweet, looking forward to the day. Ominously, I ended it with ‘I hope it goes better than last time’.
Unfortunately, the game panned out exactly as it did last time as the Rams were again stuffed 3-0, but in many ways this was whole lot more worrying.
Charlton are not a great side at all, but they are super organised and super enthusiastic. Jonny Williams with energy to burn (off the back of playing in the internationals) was popping up everywhere and caught Bogle hopelessly on his heels for the first goal. I actually thought when he went off it might give us a chance to get a foot hold, but nobody could grab the game at all for Derby.
All afternoon, Charlton looked a yard faster than us, looked like everyone knew their jobs and executed their game plan to perfection.
Derby were so ordinary is was painful, but with none of our forward players having any influence at all before the break, you thought at half time at 0-1 if we could get on the front foot, kicking towards the away end, there was still something there. That plan went out the window with yet another set piece debacle and Kelle Roos howler. At the game I just thought Sarr had out jumped someone but watch it back and Roos is somewhere around the penalty spot as the ball is headed into an open goal behind him. Game Over.
Bowyer openly said they worked on set pieces as they knew it was a Derby weakness and I am afraid this will continue until we change our goalkeeper. It was also clear that Bielek was being swarmed everytime he got the ball, which again Bowyer said was a plan. Meanwhile we were helping Paulo Wanchope with his coaching badges.
By the time Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher crashed in the third it was already a done deal but even that was a painful reminder of the lack of quality loan signings made by Derby this summer.
There is no question that Cocu has been dealt an awful hand here at Derby and we all appreciate there’s lots of work to do, which will take time. However there is equally no doubt there are more than a few worrying signs. Too often opposition teams look fitter, better organised and simply more enthusiastic than us. Too often fans, pundits and Cocu himself are questioning players application. If I had £10 for everytime I heard someone say “what do they do on the training ground” yesterday I wouldn’t be going to work tomorrow.
Team selection is inconsistent and often difficult to understand. Why was Duane Holmes on the bench and when he came on why did he play CDM, with no hope of giving us a spark to get back in the game. Why after playing really well out of position at right back, is Max Lowe now not playing at Left back? Why is Roos still in goal? Why has Matt Clarke morphed from the towering colossus we saw at Huddersfield into a league one Albentosa? Why is Mason Bennett coming on (too mass boos by the way) instead of Dowell who could maybe still kick start his Derby tenure?
There were 3000 Derby fans at the game yesterday which was a staggering turnout based on the geography and the teams current form. Frankly they deserved better.
As we said on the DCFC Blogcast this week, it feels like this season is desperate for a spark to get it going and to give the Derby fans something to cling on to and get excited about. This might be Rooney, it might be new investment, but we need something because at the moment it feels like we are limping towards the January window and, frankly, being comprehensively hammered by teams like Charlton is not fun.
A routine win against Wigan on Wednesday would be a nice start, but don’t expect them to easily accept that script.
Come on you Rams