Saturday 23 August 2014, 3.00pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
Well I don’t think anybody expected that result on the debut of our new plastic pitch. A simple conclusion from today’s home defeat to Rotherham would be that there was some good stuff, some not so good stuff, and lots to work on. Pretty much a normal outcome from a pre-season friendly.
Firstly, the good: the lineout functioned quite well, the scrum too for the most part but not always. Most of the team looked quite fit. Juan Pablo Socino fitted in well into the midfield, Sinoti Sinoti and Scott Lawson looked as sharp and eager as ever, and Calum Green showed some good carrying and tackling. Simon Hammersley is likely to get more first team games if he continues to show the same solidity at the back and pace going forward.
Phil Godman – I was a big critic of his last season, but today I thought he looked incisive and quick, rather than ponderous and flat as for much of 2013/14.
Not so good: poor discipline for periods, culminating in a yellow card for Green. Two Rotherham tries coming from our defence being stretched – something that didn’t look likely to happen at the other end. Handling errors, a plastic pitch won’t make the ball any easier to handle in the wet. An inability to break down a Championship defence for long periods, and struggling for possession at times.
So lots to work on I think, I’d say penalties being the most worrying. In a league game against a better team that didn’t also offend frequently, we might have been kicked out of sight today.
But despite some seemingly pointless kicks as we’ve come to expect but hoped to avoid this season, I think the team showed some good attacking intent, certainly more than during the depths of last winter, and with a decent pitch we might see more of that throughout the coming season. Things will come together if the team just keep plugging away at what is certainly the right way to play.
Final thought for today – it may not have been a fantastic game or a positive result, but it was good to be back at KP!
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)