The display against Doncaster on Good Friday was an interesting and entertaining battle.
Brennan Dickenson’s goal was yet another superb strike from the edge of the box; a skill that Brennan has developed into his speciality.
Doncaster’s equaliser came from a corner on the stroke of half-time.
Baudry got in front of Chris Porter to head home.
Porter spent the rest of the game desperate for a half chance to come his way so that he could even things up, but the chance never came.
There was no further scoring and Doncaster deserve credit in the second half for somehow keeping Dickenson penned in while also drawing George Elokobi out wide where he is less comfortable.
It led to Matt Briggs making a welcome return in order to give us a natural attacker down our left flank.
Rekeil Pyke made a cameo appearance in the final stages and very nearly won us the game, firstly getting free down the left and then getting across his defender only to be manhandled while attempting to reach a cross.
No penalty was awarded. Win some decisions, lose some, I guess.
So, the good home performances continue. If we just miss out on the play-offs it will be our away performances that are the reason.
It’s not difficult to find another eight to ten points that could have been picked up on the road.
Against the better opponents we have no right to expect to win, but it is against the strugglers that we have disappointed.
We have only gained two points out of 15 from away games against Newport, Crewe, Accrington, Notts County, and Morecambe. We just haven’t been brave enough away from home, often setting up and starting defensively even against humble sides, in stark contrast to home strategy.
It’s as if we have the mindset of a poor side, not the mindset of a side who can go out and win games by taking the initiative by hurting the opposition more than they can hurt us. It’s not wrong - Portsmouth came to the Weston Homes and sat back for ten minutes to see what we had to offer before stepping up a gear and winning 4-0 - but it’s not working for us.
At Morecambe, a late equaliser for the home side meant that it was a classic case of a draw feeling like a heavy defeat.
We had gone into defensive mode against a side who had gone long, and it played into their hands.
The U’s fans who travelled a round journey of over 600 miles deserved a better finale to the game and a better outcome. We really needed the two points dropped.
Supporters are delighted that we have got away from the dead hand of one up front that has plagued performances since John Ward’s days, but we need to fully capitalise from having broken free from those shackles.
Kurtis Guthrie’s injury robbed us of our best support striker and has probably dictated the attacking shape of the side.
In recent home games we have seen freedom and excitement in attacking situations and we need to see more of it away from home when next season comes around.
It’s Player of the Year voting time again. I have a view that collective opinions are spot on as it cuts out the individual loony tunes.
The award is almost always the logical one. This year is a very open contest. I could make a case for Slater, Guthrie, Elokobi and Dickenson and maybe one or two others. Other people will have differing views. In terms of Young Player, I have a feeling that the award may be pretty much nailed on, as Cameron James has come in more or less from nowhere and had a succession of good games.
He has timed his run well!
The League would look better for us if Leyton Orient’s record is expunged and I am still wondering if the situation at Orient will come to our aid, bearing in mind that we lost 0-3 at home to the O’s.
In terms of the management and administration Orient are limping towards the end of the season, and I am not 100 per cent sure they will make it to stage their final League game against us tomorrow week.
It would be dreadful to see the O’s wound up, but it could yet happen.
If it goes ahead, our game there tomorrow week will be as tough as any this season as their young side is fighting to survive. with players like Steven Alzate and Victor Adebojeyo playing ridiculously well.