Millwall need to rethink tactics after Reading defeat

Ian Holloway's ambitious approach in the second half failed to pay off. PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD.

Stephen Bywater's moment of madness

Josh Wright

First published in Sport
Last updated

MILLWALL columnist AYSE SMITH reckons Ian Holloway needs to rethink his tactics after Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Reading.

BEFORE the game there was a special cardiac screening session in the Lions Centre to identify any problems at an early stage for young people aged from 14 to 34.

This was paid for by a memorial fund set up for 26-year-old Lions fan Adam Pearmine, who died suddenly of a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy.

Ex Millwall player Tobi Alabi, who himself was diagnosed with cardiac problems after collapsing on the pitch last year, was there to oversee the event.

New signings Simeon Jackson and Ed Upson were in the stands to watch the game and meet their new team-mates, although heaven only knows what they must have thought after the final whistle.

After such a great display in the last Den against Sheffield Wednesday, it was heart wrenching to see the Lions fall apart yet again on Saturday at home to Reading.

A mistake by Stephen Bywater cost us the first goal and then the team just fell apart.

News Shopper: Stephen Bywater is punished by Pavel Pogrebnyak after his mistake gifted Reading their opener. PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD.

At 6ft3in, Bywater should have easily been able to cope with Chris Gunter’s cross, but he dropped the ball and Pavel Pogrebnyak immediately took his chance to fire the Royals ahead.

It could be the last chance Bywater has to prove himself in the first team, as there is talk of David Forde being fit enough to return to the squad on Saturday for the trip to Burnley.

Although Josh Wright impressed Ollie in training during the week, he showed he just hasn’t got what it takes to make a good Championship player at the moment.

This is something we can ill afford to wait for with us floating just about the relegation zone and both Charlton and Barnsley having a game in hand over us.

Tactics were high on the agenda after the game with Ollie starting with 4-4-2 and ending up after his substitutions playing 3-3-4, which seemed to fall into the formation of 2-4-4.

Chasing the game I can see there was the urgency to push for goals, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d do if you don’t want to concede.

Our defence is not rock solid at the best of times and with the main flaws in the team being that the midfield was atrocious, we were losing the ball and had no control.

I can’t see why swapping a defender for a striker was going to help.

News Shopper: Josh Wright

I suppose it’s a lot easier to be a football manager from the stands, I’m sure we've all had the pleasure of sitting next to THAT annoying person at some point.

But I am absolutely sure I would have done things differently on the day.

I hate to disagree with our Lord and Master Ollie, but it’s back to the drawing board for a different plan.

He didn’t sherk his responsibilities after the game, though, as he said at the press conference: “I went to try and get back in the game and that is why the score became as bad as it ended.”

Oh well, onwards and upwards from now on.

Burnley will be a very hard game on Saturday.

They have been phenomenal so far this season and are in the top three, unbeaten in the league in the last five games.

Something tells me they won’t give us an easy time at Turf Moor.

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