Andy Munro reports on a fevered Friday night at St Andrews.
First of all, it was a wonderfully entertaining seesaw match and a welcome three points – it’s just a shame many people didn’t bother to brave the arctic atmosphere to enjoy it in person instead of staying in the pub. And on that note, what great support the Tilton Road gave even when we were losing, with some rousing renditions of Keep Right On.
Blues were set up to go for three points with two up top although it was a bit disappointing that Chris Burke was on the bench. As usual, early on, Blues were off the pace and Boro’,who must be in the promotion mix at the end of the season, were passing us off the park. Their goal came down the right hand side and both Spector and Caddis must take some of the positional blame although, perversely, both players went on to have excellent games. We then came more into the game although, in all honesty, both our ‘flair’ players Morrison and Hall looked a bit lightweight and lost possession too easily.
It was that man Marlon again who predictably got us back in the game when he craftily ‘rolled’ Bikey who stuck out a leg clumsily to concede a penalty. His penalty was stuck away with aplomb M’Lud. This gave us something to build on although Morrison never appeared for the second half apparently because of a deadleg. Can you imagine Robbo coming off for that sort of thing?
Anyway the second half started fairly evenly but then there was a horrible defensive mix up involving some rather clumsy work by Ibanez and a Boro’ player prodded it home past a despairing Butland who up until then had been superb. Meanwhile Ziggy was pulled off as he was having one of those days when he looked as if he was trying to run through wet concrete. Mind you, why oh why doesn’t Clarky order Ziggy to ALWAYS take up the back post position anytime we work the ball wide? His replacement Lovenkrands looked a bit more lively and with Burke coming on to display his usual repertoire of trickery, Boro were on the back foot. Spector capped a great run with a rasping shot only to see it well saved but then Wade Elliott came up trumps with a fine dipping volley from the edge of the area. Wade, I take it all back…at least until next week. Finally Marlon gave us a great three points with a fine finish after being put through.
Final thoughts are that Morrison and Hall need to play with more conviction to make the impression that their talent deserves. Burke is always worth his place from the start and give me Robbo in the centre anytime over the lanky and languid Ibanez. As for Lee Clarke, respect this time but I’m still far from convinced. Even after a win, when he was interviewed, if he had been in the Headmaster’s study,the refrain would have been “Stop mumbling boy. Stand up straight and look me in the eye.”