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Salopian

The goal that wasn't scored

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It was worrying at the time that we conceded a goal so early, and Naismith is mentioned as the guilty party. I have some sympathy for him. The ball arrived behind him, after two or three ill-directed headers, and he was presented with a problem, of what to do - head back to the keeper, or kick it into touch when it came down, besides being pushed flat from behind. In the end he dithered.

What worried me more was the goal Charlton didn''t score but ought to have done,. I refer to that in the second half, when a cross from the left presented the Charlton man with time and opportunity to pick his spot. Fortunately for us, in trying to place it accurately into the far corner he put it beyond the post.

Crosses and set pieces were a real problem for us last season, and they seem to be still. Granted that his momentum was towards our goal, whereas our defenders were stationary and the ball was even behind them, but we were slow. Why did nobody get to the ball in front of him? It was a very accurate cross, and our reaction was too slow.

Unless we can sort this out on the training ground soon, we shall struggle. Players have to know whom to mark and they and the keeper with his longer reach, must work out how far the keeper could/should come.

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Teams will always create chances, you can nullify them for a full 90 minutes, but it''s how you react and deal with it. As we have all season, as soon as Charlton bought on an aerial threat we looked incredibly shaky at the back, even with a someone the height of Zimmerman on the pitch. Gunn needs to command his area a bit better, and the back four (especially the central two) need to be stronger with aerial challenges. A couple of the Aston Villa goals came from similar issues (Zimmerman getting pushed off the back/Franke getting easily beaten to the ball and of course, Reed giving it away not too dissimilar to Naismith). I''m sure in time they''ll figure it out, but playing out from the back will always yield a certain level of risk.

I''d like to think getting Klose back will help settle down the back 4 with his culture and experience but I guess we''ll see.

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