Going to keep this one as brief as I can. Went with a 3-5-2 again with Fred playing on the right wing and Adam on the left.
We got off to a stuttering start, with wayward, panicky passes seeming to be all we could muster when we had the ball. The shape wasn't good and Kingston were finding a lot of space out wide, a lack of communication and bad decision making meant there was confusion between the centre backs and wing-backs as to who should be picking up and where they should be positioned.
It wasn't long before Kingston took the lead, a corner was headed up into the air and somehow the biggest player on the pitch was completely unmarked and unchallenged in our box to easily head home from a few yards. I don't know how that happened and why absolutely no one even attempted to challenge for the ball but it was a sign of things to come. Kingston increased their lead soon after with a long range strike that skidded off the surface into the corner past Tom's reach. It was a lovely hit, there's no denying it, but the time and space he was allowed to get the shot off was startling. Our defence was yet again too deep and the midfield lacked any shape because they had so much space to try and cover.
The number of times we had the ball at the feet of one of the back three who looked completely clueless as to what to do with it was high. Decision making was not good, balls were being played hopefully into channels when there should have been a simple pass inside into a midfielders feet, or everyone in front of the back three was running away forcing them to play direct when we needed at least one person to drop deeper and collect it.
We conceded a third after their winger got in unmarked down our left and chipped Tom with a nice finish into the far corner. We were all over the shop, there was no organisation, just a lot of shouting at each other and being shouted at by me.
I don't want to dwell on what happened next but I have to say something. Steve decided to change the formation to a flat back four after a few of the defence complained that "it wasn't working" and "we need to do something" despite my insistence that we would keep it the same. I do not expect or accept this from anyone, let alone the person I choose to be captain. It's not a captain's responsibility to make decisions like that. A captain is supposed to be my leader on the pitch and get the team going when the chips are down, not disagree and make decisions by themselves. Yes, it wasn't working, but it wasn't the formation that caused so many misplaced passes, unchallenged headers, unheard voices and poor touches. It's a cop out and easy to blame the team shape and set up when you are having a poor game.
I kept it as a 3-5-2 and we actually started to slowly look like we wanted to play a game of football. Barnesy scored a cracking header off another pinpoint delivery from a Karl corner, I'm not sure how much he knew about it but it looked good anyway. We had enough chances to go in at half time at least drawing, but some finishing that was lacking any conviction meant that we went in 1-3 down.
I had a good whinge up as I was not pleased with the conduct of some, Barnes then stepped in to try and put some positivity back into proceedings. I rewarded him by bringing him off for Daz.
The start of the second half saw us create a couple of half chances, Luis had a good chance to head past their crippled keeper but could only put it wide. We never really looked comfortable going forward, Lee and Luis were quite far apart most of the time and there wasn't any interplay between them. Unfortunately any hope we had of pulling off another three goal comeback was destroyed when Lee lost the ball carelessly which allowed their player to run through the middle of our midfield and put their striker in who finished expertly by smashing into the top corner. Our heads were down and to be honest I don't think any of us could see a way back now.
I switched to a 4-4-2 which did not seem to make any difference, we were still careless in possession, getting dragged about and generally not at the races. Kingston made it five when Tom fluffed a pass that went straight to their striker who had an easy tap in. They also had two goals ruled out for offside, so this could have been even worse.
The ref blew and we trudged off. I overheard their manager going completely over the top saying they could beat anyone they came up against and it was all coming together etc etc. I must admit it felt awful as they were not a particularly good team, they were just organised and made better decisions all over the pitch.
My man of the match goes to Urdon, he showed a desire and aggression that has been very rarely seen this season and is something that we should all be taking note of and trying to incorporate into our performances. You don't have to go steaming into and foul someone to be aggressive, but you do have to have it inside you to want to beat your man physically and let him know you are up for it, otherwise you are going to look silly and won't be on the pitch for very long.
Perhaps I've tinkered with the team and tactics a bit too much but I feel I am now in a position where I have a good idea what the players in this squad are and aren't capable of and what sort of attitudes and personalities we have amongst us.
From this point on I will be doing a bit more to try and instil some kind of philosophy in our play, with a more consistent starting lineup and squad. I'll be speaking to some of you individually to try and get you to understand what I expect from you and the role I'll be asking you to play. It's up to you if you want to get on board and try and work with me to do it, if you don't then there will be someone else who does. We have a very talented squad of players and I have confidence that we can beat anyone in this league convincingly if we all pull together and work hard to improve.