UNITED SELF DESTRUCT
After a miserable three weeks since our fantastic win at Sheffield it looked as though we had found some form and we cruised into a two goal lead. Unfortunately we cruised for most of the second half and were made to pay.
Take nothing away from Shepshed, they kept going and had a good share of posession without really creating chances but they never lost their belief. They should not have had the opportunity, however, as the Whites almost let the second half just drift by.
The Whites didn't settle until Tom Garrick forged a chance by harrying the Shepshed defender and once clear he composed himself and slotted neatly hom in the 9th minute.
For a while United played some decent stuff with Kallum Smith, Scott Coupland, Jack McGovern and George Zuerner interchanging well. Both our full-backs were getting on the ball and chances were beginning to be created.
It took until the 32nd minute when good work by Coupland ended with a good sqaure ball to Brendan McDaid, he skipped past his marker only to be brought down. Coupland made no mistake from the spot.
Minutes later George Zuerner should have increased the lead following a great run. The ball broke kindly for him with the visiting keeper, Sam Andrew, stranded but in trying to steady himself he took too long and Shepshed's defender got a block in.
After the break there was a sense of "the game being won" but it never was. We lacked authority and too many "nothing passes" led to Shepshed gaining belief. Our casual approach in posession led to us giving too many silly free-kicks away which allowed Shepshed plenty of opportunities to put the ball in our box.
Sure Kallum Smith had long range effort well saved by Andrew and Tom Garrick might have sealed it when he broke clear but we didn't do enough to make sure we won the game.
We seemed content with little cameos. Smith and Coupland so instrumental in the first half did nothing after the break. Then with fifteen minutes remaining the game turned on it's head. Steve Chaplin scoring from close range to give the visitors hope.
They were not able to break us down in open play but still we gave away silly free-kicks and were too reliant on our back lads to keep the opposition at bay. Iain Screaton headed the qualiser with 3 minutes remaining and Chaplin grabbed his second following, yet another free-kick.
Too often this season our centre-backs have been getting the sponsor's Man of the Match award and that tells a story that we don't do enough in front of them. Good spells in games do not win matches we must show a more resiliant streak.
We haven't controlled any home game this season. We have had good spells in most of them but at no home game could you say there was only going to one winner today apart from Ilkeston when they won.
United lost Man of the Match, Stuart Reddington who edged that award from his partner Sean Wright, both would have been good choices, just before the end with a cut head.
We can point to missed chances, Chalkie White, the opposition Manager said "United should have won 7-4."
There are missed chances in every game but we are not controlling posession of the ball for long enough periods, we pass backwards too often and seem to have forgotten what got us success early in the season.
I know Terry Fleming and Darren Dye will be working hard to rectify these lapses but the Players have to stand up and become mentally stronger.