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Diamonds are forever?

While it just didn't work tactically on Saturday, last night was completely different.

The shape looked good, Gareth plumped for a midfield diamond with two up top. And it was much, much better. If nothing else because we pretty much had all eleven players in their preferred, natural positions.

Sido looked a better right back than Harriman, who was also much improved on the right side of midfield. De Havilland made a very promising senior debut alongside the imperious Anthony Stewart, as did Cameron Dawson in goal, who looked comfortable throughout.

In midfield McGinn and Bloomfield complemented each other and up front both Southwell and Akinfenwa were definitely helped by each other's presence. Both were terrific.

Gareth and the lads will take a lot of heart from that performance I'm sure following Saturday's poor start.

Previously we've used the diamond formation sporadically before dispensing with it, as sometimes it just doesn't seem to work. It's always hard for the two wide players to both tuck in and provide threat out wide. But Wood and Harriman managed that last night assisted by Bayo's ability to deliver controlled possession in the final third.

For now I think we should persevere but be prepared to move to a more conventional 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 if it isn't working which it won't always.


  • edited August 2016

    Interesting thoughts but would that formation work so well with Thompson starting instead of Akinfenwa? It must be asking too much of the Beast to start two matches in a week at this stage of the season - but Thompson is not known for being able to hold the ball up - he's someone who likes to run in from the channels and is more similar to Southwell, not sure the two of them can play brilliantly together.

    Also, given that Rowe must be ready to start on Saturday, how would you accommodate him in a diamond midfield? Put him as holding midfielder and shift McGinn up to the attacking tip, while dropping Bloomfield? That's the only way I could see it work - but would that be unfair on McGinn who played well at the base of the four last night?

    I'd be interested to see a 4-5-1 on Saturday. Both Rowe and McGinn sitting behind a attacking three of Wood, Bloomfield and Harriman, with Southwell on his own up front.

  • Formation wise, I wouldn't change a thing for Saturday. The boys will have taken confidence from the way they played and that can easily be unpicked by changing the tactics.

    Personnel wise, I'd try and keep it the same. Although you'd have to go with Pierre in place of De Havilland.

    Gareth will have to handle Bayo carefully and it may be better to hold him back and start him next Tuesday instead. That might mean going with Thommo and Southwell. I wouldn't write them off as a pair yet as Southwell holds the ball up pretty well.

  • I didn't see much of a diamond. More of a 4-1-3-2 with McGinn holding and quite a narrow three in front. Harriman certainly wasn't wide right much and Wood tucked in a lot too.

    McGinn had an effective game, kept possession and moving the play along well. Not sure he'll get that opportunity when we are back to the long ball percentage game that League Two so often throws up sadly.

    Southwell worked his socks off - busy and looks a real threat. I'm sure he was taken off saving him for Saturday, we may well have got a goal if he stayed on. Akinfenwa's hold up and link up play was in the main very good.

  • @DJWYC14 said:
    I didn't see much of a diamond. More of a 4-1-3-2 with McGinn holding and quite a narrow three in front. Harriman certainly wasn't wide right much and Wood tucked in a lot too.

    I agree, despite my "brilliant summary" comment above. I hadn't really thought much about the formation, just the overall performance, and I don't think I've ever fully understood who is playing where in a "diamond" but, yes, Harriman was truly living up to his name, hurrying and harrying with incredible energy, mostly in central midfield. Someone copped a furious tirade of criticism from Barry Richardson in the first half and I think I know who but the person I have in mind did a pretty good job overall.
    Not sure I'd "have to go with Pierre". Until he suffered a bout of cramp late on, I thought Will de Havilland did a good job alongside Anthony Stewart. The latter was, as someone said, imperious.
    Saturday may prove to be "after the Lord Mayor's Show" performance-wise but, if we get the points, I'd settle for a degree of ugliness!

  • Grimsby will be quite a tough test I think. Looking forward to it.

  • He has a point though.

  • It seems to me we have assembled a squad built around 4-4-2 with traditional wide men and then we play pretty much every formation since. Too many square pegs for me and that is why Harriman in particular seems unable to recapture his exceptional form whilst on loan last season.

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