There was a fair amount of discontent in the aftermath of the Stoke game, a fair bit aimed at Bradley Johnson. But, it was a given that the 50p-footed-one was going to starting against Stoke, after all, he’s a bit of a unit.
The stat of choice at the beginning of the season that he ran a lot appeared to blinker people of the fact that he’s a fairly limited footballer. He’s done a job, and he’s put the effort in but he can’t have been one of those kids kicking the ball against a wall honing his touch for hours on end. Actually, he may have done but was forever chasing the ball after he miscontrolled one of his wayward passes.
Maybe I’m blinkered. A purist, spoilt by Fox and his three-passes-ahead-of-the-game approach but Johnson is simply not my kind of player. I’m not against ball winners, but a ball winner needs to have the ability to use the ball he’s just won. Or sit him next to a Fox, as I had thought we would have done.
Whether Johnson is in yellow and green next season remains to be seen, if it was toss up between Crofts and him I’d go for the Welshman every time. He has more to his game, plus he seems to work better with Fox. And we all know Fox can’t leave. I’d be a broken man if he did.
Naturally, I’d start Fox every week. With the wind swirling around he would have kept the ball on the deck and moving, but more importantly he would have given our defence an outlet ball.
It was good to see the other ex-Leeds man Howson though, and he did as much he could. It can’t be easy running back and forth as the ball is constantly above your head. It must have also been a tough match to referee, what with so much grappling going on. It would have probably been better to just leave them at it, and not helped by the hypocritical Stoke crowd appealing for everything.
It was another notable substitute appearance for Wilbraham too, despite Morison warming up for about 85 minutes of the game. Again, we can have no complaints with the big man when he came on, tireless running and he won most of the balls he competed for. It was most notable though for him being turned to ahead of Morison, again.
Part of me is also glad Etherington was on the pitch. The game would have been even more difficult to watch if he wasn’t. It was as frustrating a 90 minutes as I’ve ever seen, not helped by the ball spending more time in the air and off the pitch than it did on the floor.
On the bright side, we don’t have to go back there again for a while.