A message to Malky Mackay, James McClean is a winger, a left winger, he plays left wing, he isn’t a striker, he doesn’t know how to play the striker role, he knows how to bomb down the left wing, he doesn’t know nor understand the intricacies of playing as a striker in a professional football team in the second tier of one of the top league’s in world football, he maybe ok in training, or in practice games, but match day is the real thing and he can’t do it. You have played him there three times and we have lost three times, take note, it doesn’t work.
Chris McCann, Don Cowie and Ben Watson have not got the energy to close the opposition down, they afford opposing midfields too much time on the ball, for all their attributes playing them together gives space, room and advantage to the teams that come and beat us, please take note, you have played them together four times and four times we have lost, it doesn’t work.
Another game, another team selection that gave everyone in the home stands the belief that once again we were going to get beat, and we did, by a very poor Rotherham outfit who looked so far ahead of us that it was hard to believe we were in the same division, this is the lowest point for this club since the days of Kenny Swain, we are shocking.
Have the off the field shenanigans affected us so bad, as the heart and soul been ripped out of the club?
A goal of comical proportions set the tone on 40 minutes, Andrew Taylor and Leon Barnett running into each other with Taylor playing an exquisite ball to Rotherham’s Tom Lawrence who picked his spot well to fire beyond Carson from 14 yards, 0-1.
It wasn’t that Rotherham were good, if they had been they’d have thumped us good and proper, there is absolutely no cohesion or desire in this team, these have been traits all season though, so can’t be laid at Mackay’s door, his insistence of playing with McClean as a lone striker can be, this is compounding the situation, when we do get the ball there is no outlet up front, McClean isn’t a striker, he won’t hold the ball up nor look to bring in others, he is a winger, he turns and runs with his head down for the bye line, no wonder we haven’t scored from open play under Mackay’s tenure.
The second half saw Fortune introduced, not everyone’s ideal front man, but he made an immediate impact, we had someone to receive the ball in a forward position, at least a proper outlet (of sorts).
Latics surprisingly drew level when Ben Watson rose at the near post to head home James McClean’s right wing corner on 64 minutes, a goal reminiscent of his FA cup winning goal of 19 months ago, 1-1. Rotherham were in the bottom tier of the league that day, this gets more depressing the more you think about it, Rotherham were back in front a minute later.
A needless free kick given away in the middle of the Latics half by Leon Barnett, the ball was floated into the box, Alex Revell got on the end of it to loop a header over Scott Carson into the back of the net, 1-2.
Substitute Oriol Rirea crashed a powerful header against the bar late on, give him or Delort a run please Malky, Rotherham squandered a couple of chances of their own, but still held on, held on is perhaps the wrong phrase, more like saw out the game for a comfortable win and pull seven points clear of us.
This is turning into a total nightmare.
Latics – Carson, Taylor, McCann (Forshaw 80), Watson, Maloney (Fortune 53), McClean, McManaman, Boyce (Capt), Cowie (Riera 63), Perch, Barnett
Subs – Al Habsi, Tavernier, Espinoza, Figueroa
Rotherham – Collin, Arnason, Revell (Frecklington 84), Green, Pringle, Morgan (Capt), Wootton, James, Ledesma (Taylor 81), Smallwood, Lawrence (Bowery 70)
Subs – Thompson, Newton, Derbyshire, Clarke-Harris