Matt Ellis attempts to understand what went wrong on a bitterly disappointing night at Glanford Park, as the Iron crashed out of the play offs following a 3-2 defeat to Millwall.
After what seemed to be a considered and well-judged masterstroke of tactical nuance on Thursday night against Millwall, in which we set up defensively and limited a team full of clogging, average hoof-merchants to one legitimate effort (routinely supplied by our friendly neighbourhood possession-squanderer Bishop), we fell apart at home.
Alexander dithered and in what can only be seen as a terrible tactical mistake (not the first this season) he went with a defensive formation at home against a defensive team. Millwall, unfortunately, knew how to do it better and we ran out of ideas.
In what was possibly the most frustrating 90 minutes of football I’ve seen at Glanford Park this season, we eschewed our customary attacking grace and guile with a midfield that was propped up by a box-to-box midfielder, our Captain, and ended up looking like a malformed pagoda at a little-known country fair.
Instead of picking balance and pace in the centre of the park Alexander opted for three centre-mids, with no width whatsoever. Millwall must have been rubbing their hands with glee.
As evidenced by Duane Holmes’ man-of-the-match 20 minute cameo, Millwall were ripe for the taking. If we had started with two wingers instead of one and played with width and pace, we may well have been looking at a date at Wembley in a few weeks. Instead, we just have 2 minutes of dreadful cloggery to review on the Iron’s YouTube channel.
Alexander got it horribly wrong on the one night where he couldn’t afford to get it wrong. He abandoned everything that has made us a joy to watch this season. Having said that, it’s been a decent year, I believe that he is the man to take us out of this division.
Whether or not we still have any cash lying around to attack the top two positions next term remains to be seen. It will certainly be an interesting summer.