Andy Munro reports on Blues’ first three points of the season.
An increasingly despairing Lee Clarke said that any win would do, however ugly, and undoubtedly this was an ugly win of Frankenstein proportions. It was, I suppose, predictable for a bottom of the table clash between two, at best, ordinary sides but while the level of football was uninspiring the actual goalmouth entertainment factor was high.
With Carr unavailable, new boy Caddis was given his debut and Spector moved into midfield as anchor man so why didn’t Clarke partner him with somebody creative rather than the uninspiring Mullins? He then compounded the problem by sticking Wade Elliott out wide so we only had width down the right hand side. Up front there were no surprise with King and Lovengrands lining up, not least because Ziggy was ‘injured’….hopefully a coincidence that the transfer window is over and Ziggy can now continue to pick up his forty grand a week without putting his boots on.
The game was fairly even and if Blues had the edge on possession, Butland was still the busier of the keepers with one stupendous save when he was going the wrong way. Despite this, Blues fortuitously took the lead following a corner when the Posh keeper mis-punched the ball into his own net. Soon afterwards we should have had a nailed on penalty but we continue to be on the wrong end of referee decisions. Perhaps it’s the Marlon King factor?
In the second half we continued to live on our nerves and had Butland to thank for retaining our slender lead although, in fairness, we could have had a couple ourselves if King or Nathan Redmond had been a little more clinical when in good positions. One of the few bright spots was, following a mid-second half substitution, the difference it made to have the pacy Redmond down the middle instead of Lovengrans. With Marlon King good at holding the ball up, he needs somebody with pace to be close enough to take advantage and Nathan, despite the one miss, gives our attack a new dimension. Apart from a sterling performance by Caldwell, often bailing out a classy but immobile Ibanez, the major plus was Caddis. He was deservedly voted man of the match with a faultless display and it was noticeable that Burke had one of his better games with an overlapping option. At 24, and already a captain at Swindon, Caddis is just the sort of influential player we need with Carr unfortunately likely to be on the treatment table more often than not. It looks good business with Rooney going the other way. I shall miss the humorous chants of “Rooney, Rooney” and his boundless energy, but in truth he was never going to be more than a Championship squad player. It also gives an opportunity to somebody like Aswante, who was on the bench. Now Aswante might currently make Cameron Jerome look sophisticated but at least we have an option of some genuine pace coming off the bench against tiring defences.
On the subject of Cameron J ,I’m afraid it shows the current state of the club when I found myself involved in a heated half-time argument behind the Tilton on whether we would be willing to accept Cameron back on loan. Thankfully the consensus was a resounding “NO!” Anyway, with a few typical late scares we scraped our first win and we’re now up and walking but I wouldn’t put it any stronger than that.