That must be what the first game of the season would feel like if you played no pre-season friendlies. It was how Russell Brand describes wearing new shoes; for a while if feels like they’re wearing you.
It all started down the left; Franny Green has great endeavour and a good attitude, but his talents are all about raw energy and pace. This put pressure on Tonkin to provide balance – while he settled as the game went along, he looked uncomfortable in the opening exchanges. This, in turn, put pressure on Wright – who was under greatest scrutiny – and he looked uncertain throughout. The confusion on the left meant Creighton had to hold things together, not least because Chapman, once again, put in a decidedly half-hearted performance.
Tamworth exploited it brilliantly. Christie bullied the nervous defensive unit, which meant at no point in the first half did we settle. They got the jammy goal and dug in. I don’t blame the referee, you can’t say he didn’t acknowledge their time wasting with bookings and injury time.
What is surprising was that Wilder was prepared to take such a risk by making such a wholesale changes all in one area of the pitch. The Foster situation makes his selection untenable. Tonkin’s acquisition has had such a fanfare that it would have been odd not to include him. Whether Franny Green is un-droppable, it open to debate. Not that he was the worst player on the pitch, but you have to look at these things as a unit.
It’s still not like 2006/7 – as effective as Tamworth plan was in its execution, they needed luck at both ends to make it work. Other teams might come to the Kassam with the same gameplan but will get nowhere near us. However, people’s belief that this is the start of the collapse, may yet destabilise us.