In a new feature, Iron fan Dave Spindley casts an analytical eye over Scunthorpe’s rearguard operations against Notts County in the Carabao Cup.
Lining up in the new look defence against Notts County in the Carabao Cup, including one change from the previous game was Jordan Clarke, Charlie Goode, Rory McArdle, Murray Wallace and Connor Townsend. Goode replaced Cameron Burgess.
The back 5 (or was it a back 3?) looked rather lost as the game started. The opponents looked the more confident and comfortable with the systems adopted as they regularly stretched the Iron back line. Both full/wing backs were regularly caught out in advanced positions when we were not in possession and County clipped the ball in the space left on the wings as the three central players positioned themselves too close together.
Central midfielders found themselves in deeper positions than than the wide men and the Iron struggled to keep possession. It was too easy for the opposition front men to chase the ball down. This resulted in inaccurate long balls being played aimlessly up-field. Disappointingly, this was to be the pattern for the entire first half as the Iron struggled to establish any dominance in the game.
The second half was a complete contrast defensively. Reverting back to the traditional back four, individually and collectively, the defence seemed much more comfortable and confident, knowing their role. As a result, the team began to operate as a unit and started to assert themselves on the game. The defensive unit could be seen to visibly relax and began to contribute much more to an improved team performance both in attack and defence.
As the playing conditions went from bad to worse it became something of a lottery. The goals conceded were all disappointing, though on a drier night it would have been fair to expect most, if not all, could have been avoided and a much more comfortable win would have resulted.
As the season progresses, and the players become more familiar with each other, we have the makings of a solid and positive defensive unit, ably chaperoned by an experienced and capable new captain and goalkeeper.