Five talking points following St Albans City's loss to Braintree Town
PUBLISHED: 16:05 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 14 August 2019
Huge disappointment, a bit of anger and plenty of worry; that was just some of the feelings following St Albans City's poor 3-0 defeat to Braintree Town on Tuesday night. Herts Advertiser's Neil Metcalfe was there and this is what he was left reflecting on afterwards.
1) The crowd - It's the obvious starting point. Not as low as the 341 that turned out against Weston-super-Mare back in March but one of just three occasions where a league crowd has dipped below 400 since the start of the 2016/2017 season.
Numerous reasons will be put forward including the usual low numbers in August, the price rise of the tickets and the subsequent boycott, but whatever the reason it was almost 200 down on the equivalent game against Hampton & Richmond Borough this time last year.
And it did have an effect. When Saints needed a lift following those two goals, the noise wasn't there.
That wasn't just from the terraces, both the players and the bench were quiet, too but the backing from the stands does have an impact. A guttural roar after the second would have sufficed and could have made a difference.
And while attendance figures will continued to be analysed over the coming weeks and months, the fact that on-field action was disappointing will not help boost numbers.
What I would say though is that this was an actual figure, and included only those season ticket holders in attendance. That if nothing else should be acknowledged positively.
2) Formation - Ian Allinson admitted he needs to think about whether the 4-4-2 formation works. I wasn't surprised he went with it, not such because of what happened at Dulwich but because two strikers at home made sense.
The personnel in those positions was more of an issue.
Splitting up DLK and James Kaloczi was a surprise and for me if you are going to go with this formation then the wingers need to stay out a lot more. Both Darren Foxley and Bobson Bawling come inside and it causes congestion in the middle and no outlet. And trying to create chances for your striker by playing through the middle is always fraught with pitfalls.
I think there will be a change for Saturday, maybe a back three to bring in an extra midfielder, probably David Noble if Solomon Nwaboukei is still out, but with the full backs pushing on and two wide midfield players, there needs to be better delivery from out wide.
3) Player ratings - I have been asked by the powers that be to produce player ratings after every game I go to this season. That often leaves me scratching my head over what mark to give and whether I'm being too nice or overly harsh and long before the final whistle on Tuesday I was already in a quandary over what on earth to do after that performance.
In the end I've gone with not doing them at all for one reason and one reason only. This was a collective failing. No one individual deserves singled out, nor do they deserve any extra praise. From the players on the pitch to the management this was one giant disaster all round.
It's a one-off though. The ratings will be back on Saturday against Dorking whether the outcome is a win, draw or drubbing. The hope is the players respond with a bit of fight and a bit of desire, both things so obviously lacking on Tuesday.
I will be watching closely for the signs.
4) Relegation fodder? - In the first of these features following the Chippenham game I said it was way too early to start thinking about the final outcome. Four games in and it is still probably too soon to think in those terms.
Six wins in the opening six games wasn't good enough to get Saints into the play-offs two seasons ago for example.
But that doesn't mean there isn't a tangible sense of fear hanging over the team at the minute. There have been some good signs already but not enough and they desperately need a win and soon, just to soothe any frayed nerves.
The big plus in their favour is that this year seems more open than ever, with teams winning and losing with regularity. Get a run of wins together and it could all look a lot rosier in a few weeks time.
But man do they need that bit of luck.
5) Elocution lessons - And you thought us Geordies couldn't talk properly. I've got nee idea where ye got that idea from bonny lad cos I divvent kna how to tak any different to the Queen me like.
I asked Joe Iaciofano how his surname is pronounced as there have been quite a few different attempts. Turns out we were all wrong as it is actually Ee-shoff-ano.
Next week how to pronounce Nwaboukei and spell Howe.