Sunday 8 November 2020

F A Cup Exit Charlton Athletic 0 v Plymouth Argyle 1

As anticipated, we slumped out of the F A Cup again at the first attempt yesterday in the First Round. Before we could start the debate about the value of cup competitions, Lee Bowyer was quick to rubbish them all once again in his post-match presser. Many would agree that the EFL Trophy and the League Cup are both a complete side-show and a waste of time. The fact that both change their name every five minutes probably doesn't help but someone's got to pay for the admin. We are playing in one of them on Tuesday and I think it's called the Papa Johns Cup this year which it kind of deserves.

Anyway, on Remembrance Sunday weekend, we were involved in the real deal, the F A Cup. That esteemed competition that gave us the biggest boast we still cling to, even after 73 years. 

It is a shame then that our manager also thinks this is a waste of time "because we'll never win it." What about the romance of the cup? What about 'you never know?' Look at Leicester - if they could pull off a footballing sensation by winning over a whole season, why can't we at least have a cup run of three or four games? The reason Millwall play big top flight Cup games practically every season, is because they respect the F A cup in particular and their supporters as well as their club tradition. I can't remember them struggling in the league as a result and would mount a counter argument that cup success breeds confidence and competition for league games. None of that matters though when your manager picks a weakened side and you seem to lose narrowly irrespective of where the game is played or who the opposition are - you are out of the competition and have fulfilled your manager's prophecy. It's for that reason, I stopped attending our annual fixture and why I decided I wouldn't be paying for the stream either. 

I did get to watch the game but I also had an eye on a couple of other matches as well as the lack of progress on my coupon. We did indeed field a changed side although credit to Sandgaard, Bowyer and Gallen, even that looked decent enough on paper. I reckon we were six light of the first choice team, maybe seven. Maynard-Brewer was in goal and did well enough. Chris Barker made an unexpected start at centre-half alongside Ryan Inniss and was surprisingly sure-footed. Elsewhere in defence, Purrington and Matthews are also probably second picks to Gunter and Maatsen.

In midfield, Levitt and Morgan got another run-out although Morgan was oddly left pushed further forward, almost partnering Chuks Aneke, in move that smacked of picking a side that would fall just short. I have little time for those who start shouting at new players just because they have a poor game or two early on, however, I felt Levitt was well off the pace early on and maybe fortunate to stay on after his booking, although, to his credit, he improved second-half.

That would be the six I mentioned, but you could debate whether Williams and Maddison would be first choices at the moment given Bowyer's public criticisms that neither are showing enough in training. For me, Williams has to play but he fades in games he starts and is only a sixty minuter at best. We haven't seen anywhere near enough of Maddison to honestly judge. He has an urgency about him I really like and he appears to play balls other wouldn't dream of trying but that's not always a benefit. Yesterday he was guilty of trying a little to hard to please. He seemed to shoot or be looking to shoot whenever he received the ball regardless of who was around him or of other options. having said that, we weren't over-flowing with other opportunities. 

The Argyle goal, when it came, was fairly predictable. They had been knocking on the door gently throughout the match. Camara was a thorn in our left flank until he was injured and Hardie and Jephcott (scorer) kept Innis and Barker on their toes.

So, out of the F A Cup when the fireworks are still going. Fully expect the O's to edge us out on Tuesday for the giant pizza and we can then concentrate fully on the league. There's no excuses now Lee.

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