Luton Town 2 - West Bromwich Albion 0
Absolutely furious about that result. Beaten again by another really poor side. I know we need to give Bruce time but that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass.
My heart sank when I saw the lineup - obviously a 3-5-2. Getting someone up near Carroll makes sense but when you haven’t scored for 4 games, how will adding a centre back solve your problems? And even with that frustration - one of your midfield 3 has to have some nous. Robinson, TGH, even Diagana because it’s a poor enough league to get away with it. But no - Adam Reach! Basically, Simon from The Inbetweeners running about being the ultimate nearly man. In the first 5 minutes his lack of quality to be sharp and accurate cost us 2 breaks.
Despite my extreme frustration and a poor opening 15 we still were the better side without really creating anything and our golden chance came when a crazy Luton pass across goal was taken down by Grant. His lob was unconvincing but his flat footedness and lack of anticipation when it came off the bar was infuriating and he fluffed the rebound.
Luton utterly wilted under pressure but we had nothing to hurt them and we nearly conceded from a crap break at the end of the half - Luton scuffing a chance on the post.
The problem with the 3-5-2 is it leaves you nowhere to go out wide if your fullbacks are marked so any crosses come from too deep. I didn’t feel for a moment Bruce would change it at HT.
And we came out predictable and increasingly out of ideas - Luton pushing up knowing that Carroll could do no damage against a high line, and it was a press on him that led to him cheaply giving the ball away before making a tackle probably as bad as Livermore’s red a couple of weeks ago. The defending was crap, the goalkeeping questionable and one nil down we went.
When Bruce did change it he rightly took off a CB (although the only left footed one and the only one not on a yellow?) but Grady again went wide right and I think it was a 4-4-2 with Reach left. We couldn’t get any flow and so Mowatt came off for Robinson and it looked like we went 4-2-1-3 with Carroll trying to flick on to 3 players although maybe he was just that deep because he was knackered? Now Grant was back on the left with Robinson through the middle. Some more pisspoor defending jogging alongside runners and Luton thumped in another. Carroll managed to hit the bar with a header late on but it was really bad.
Why can’t we try a 4-2-3-1 from the off with Diagana given a run of games on the left? Why can’t all these well paid coaches play him where he’s played his best football… not even been done for 45 minutes this season. Crazy.
How does Reach keep getting picked? Bruce has got a problem blind spot there and he needs to sort it quickly.
Why can’t TGH get minutes in attacking positions when so many others fail?
Finally, as hard as he tries and fights, it’s no goals in Carroll’s 5 games not just from him but from the team and that has to tell you something. He’s too slow and predictable to start, would be a fine impact sub but we have to get pace and movement in forward areas.
I might be mad but the league is so poor, the opposition so flimsy that if we get a run going we can still get to the playoffs and then we should have enough. The manager had to stop pissing about though - this was a step backwards.
Fuming! Absolutely fuming!
Brendan you are quite an amazing man. Your match reports in years gone by, used to sometimes make my weekend, or in the main, just confirm we were once a great club, but now just making up the numbers.
Not withstanding the great number of managers we have had in our recent past, so many, ordinary, useless, the odd one charismatic and good, you should have ditched your day job and thrown your hat in the ring, as to me, you have expressed more tactical nous than the folk we have engaged.
We’ve never met and I now live miles away from the happy place I knew growing up as a young chap. Now I’m an old chap with a very old chap, and if all those woke prats don’t like that sentence, well get fcked.
Brendan, leave this website mate for your own sanity. It’s gone. It was great. We were great. We missed out big time in the mid late 70’s, by not winning the old first division for a number of reasons. But those are the years I remember and will never forget, because in those days we could beat absolutely everyone.
You have my contact details, so please get in touch, as I’d love to have a beer or 10 with you.
Nathan Jones's Luton reign Supreme
I think the last time I paid this much attention to a game at Kenilworth Road, vertigo inducing camera angles and floodfill sunshine straight down the second-half lens, might well have been back in the days of Ron and Paul Futcher, because I had certainly forgotten that the last time we played there, Grady Diangana scored both goals in a 2-0 win, though clearly I wasn't the only one who'd forgotten that game because Grady Diangana would be on the bench for the start of this one.
Bruce's back four experiment lasted just two games, with Bartley not coming back in for Ajayi or Clarke, but for one of the front three, Robinson, which meant that Grant, for so long given chance after chance on the left of a front three, primarily because of his inability to play as a central striker, would now get a chance to show everyone how he plays in a front two.
Even three-at-the-back, two up-front could have seen Robinson moved into the playmaker role, ahead of Mowatt and Molumby, but instead, Reach got the nod there although seven minutes in he found himself on the right wing and put in a cross that Carrol got his head to.
Twenty minutes in, a poor clearence from the Luton keeper ended up at Carrol's feet and he played in Grant down the left and his weak shot, straight at the keeper, bobbled just enough to go underneath him, albeit was too weak to see a goal scored.
It was starting to look as Bruce has told everyone (except Diangana of course) to show what they could do in the space normally occupied by Grant down the left-hand-side because around the 25-minute mark, centre-back Clarke would play a series of one-twos to get into the box, but with no end product. What is it about that left-hand-side?
Carrol and Mowatt would then have chances to hit one from the edge of the box, the former getting off a shot after a bout of ping-pong dropped to him, and although he hit it along the ground and through a crowd of bodies, the Luton keeper reacted well to stick out a leg. As for Mowatt's effort: well, high and wide would be an insult to most high and wides.
And then came "the moment".
A Luton defender ignored one of the most basic rules in the game, and tried to play the ball across his own box but failed to clear Grant, pressing high near the penalty spot, to whom the ball then dropped, nine yards out, with only the keeper to beat but, whilst I guess he gets some credit for beating the keeper, he gets 0/10 for hitting the bar and loses the credit for then failing to control the rebound.
There's still be time for Townsend to have a diving header from a Furlong cross, before Luton broke upfield, leaving Albion's midfield trailing behind, before Cameron Jerome slid it past Johnstone, only to see the ball come back off the post.
Ten minutes into the second-half, target-man Carrol failed to control a ball out from the back by Clarke, and then scythed in on the Luton player it had run on to, and from the resultant, and, if we're being honest, needless free-kick, Jerome seemed to end up unmarked behind both Bartley and Carrol and powered a header past SJ.
Clearly Bruce needed to make a change but before he would, Luton did, their change coming some ten minutes ahead of Diangana for Clarke, which kind of saw a switch to a 442, although Diangana would still not get a go on that left wing, with Reach moving out there.
I think we finally got see a 4231 after Robinson came on for Mowatt, but that merely put Grant back on the left of a three, with Reach dropping back to play alongside Molumby, and Diangana staying on the right. Maybe those compromising pictures, that Grant had told Ishmael he'd release if he ever dropped him, also feature Steve Bruce?
Still, no matter what we tried, 3412, 442, 4231, it made no difference, although, with Grant remaining anonymous on the left of whatever formation we tried to play, there was an oh-so-cruel irony in the way Luton sealed the points, with a player cutting in from their left hitting an absolute piledriver of a right-footed shot that flew past Johnstone at his near post.
Game over? Not quite. There'd still be time for Molumby to put in a deep cross and ask Carrol to get on the end of it, which the ex-England international did, but that hit the upper side of the bar and rebounded away to safety.
Coventry, Forest and Luton all move ahead of the Albion after this one, and all three of them, plus SheffU and Boro, who Albion play midweek, are all ahead on points and have a game in hand.
As the Diana Ross-less Supremes didn't sing, of Nathan Jones, in 1971:
If an Albion fan could die of tears
All text, pictures and graphics are copyright of BOING unless otherwise stated