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Burton Bad
Change in system wasn't all that bad. By: Eric Hitchmo 20/10/2009
Burton Albion
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League 17/10/2009
2009-2010 Attendance: 2935 (270)
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Much frustration was released during and after Saturday's game at Burton, for many reasons. We were losing, for a start, against a team that looked like they could be broken down. However it was a poor performance which allowed big lump Guy Branston, of Colchester 1997 Playoff infamy, to annoyingly rule the defensive line and prevent any Barnet danger.

Burton weren't that good. Our performance seemed similar to the one at Rotherham a few weeks back, we lacked an end product. Rotherham annihilated us, whereas Burton rarely threatened to put us out of sight. Aside from one cleared off the line, it took a silly deflected free kick to beat us. Albion were by no means a bad team, just not that good, and that was frustrating in itself.

It now underlines a worrying statistic, four away defeats in a row. The change in system was a point of big discussion. I'm not worried about that though, in fact I'm quite encouraged. Far be it from me to be agreeing with Hendon on everything, however, the fact that the manager has acknowledged a change was needed, and it was, is a good sign to me. Yes, it was clear that on the day the system did not work and some players did not perform, but there are positives.

Remember last year when not for the first time, we were screaming for Paul Fairclough to change the 4-5-1 approach having seen it not work for large portions of his four Football League years? Clearly it didn't work, yet we stuck with it and saw miserable away performance after the next. Hendon has immediately seen that formation and approach he had taken to previous away games was not conducive to match winning performances, and while of course the approach at Burton did not work, it shows that he is willing to chop and change quickly at the right time.

Mark Hughes was a big miss in the heart of midfield. I thought Deverdics and Tabiri played OK, but we lacked what Hughes brings to the team. His strong marshalling of the centre of the park is due to be back for the Darlington game on Saturday.

Albert Jarrett seems to be a hit and miss player, and he was on a miss day on Saturday. His end product was seriously lacking on this occasion, but one target in the box can not have helped him, especially with the imposing performance of Branston who repelled anything that came near him skyward. Yannick Bolasie was tricky and pacy as ever but he couldn't quite get the final ball. He was our most threatening attacking outlet by some way, and played well.

Bolasie and Jarrett were not helped much either by some poor distribution out of defence. Clovis Kamdjo had a bad afternoon, letting a few balls slip through in dangerous positions. He, Yakubu and Gillet sent far too many balls over the top and out for a goal kick, or similar nothingness.

As Burton's fans taunted after that unfortunate second goal, the grim realisation set in. Oh the nerve to be told of our 'shit support' when barely a peep had been previously heard from the sparkling newness of Burton's neat, yet basic stadium.

So, frustrating all round then. But it's not all doom and gloom. It really isn't. If someone had said 9th to me by the middle of October, I'd have snapped their proverbial hands off. We're still well in the mix at the right end of the table, something we could only have dreamt of in the last few years.

Plus, we've got three home games in the next four, against winnable opposition. Darlington have finally got their first win of the season and they visit on Saturday, presumably in 'buoyant' mood. Who knows what to expect? We've been good at home though, so it should be normal service resumed shouldn't it?

If I know Barnet, nothing ever goes to plan, but with the big guns back in the side, we should get back on track...

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