Andy Munro was at St Andrews to watch Blues take another step closer to safety.
Like many football supporters, Leeds (particularly their ‘ultras’) have never been a favourite of mine and given their reputation I was a bit surprised to see Brian McDermott, a seemingly decent chap, throwing his hat into the Elland Road ring. It seemed a bit like Mother Theresa joining Nuns on the Run.
Blues still needed the points to be mathematically certain of staying up but the chances of winning at home, keeping a clean sheet and the much maligned Haydn Mullins scoring the winner must equate in bookies terms to the odds of a three legged horse winning the National. Still, it was good to see Blues playing some excellent football, particularly in the first half, and also proving that 4-5-1 can be attacking if your manager isn’t Alex McLeish.
Nathan Redmond and Shane Ferguson exploited the wings knowing they could exchange one twos with the overlapping fullbacks, who in turn knew that the spare player in midfield could drop back to cover them. This led to some fluid play down the channels whilst Ravel Morrison pulled the strings in midfield like Yehudi Menuhin on a Stravinsky. One sublime piece of control and shot would have done justice to the Messi himself.
They say it’s important to cash in when you’re winning and despite some hectic goalmouth scrambles in the Leeds area; Blues couldn’t seem to apply the finishing touch. It looked as if this might come back to haunt us as Leeds pushed forward in the second half with a purple patch and looked the side in ascendancy. Lee Clark sensibly decided to mix things up and brought on Chris Burke and switched Redmond to the other flank. This led indirectly to the winner as Nathan cut in from the left and fired in a vicious drive on his stronger right foot. Paddy Kenny could only parry to leave Haydn Mullins with the simple task of slotting home. To be honest, I half expected Mullins to be taken off with a nose bleed but fair play to him for reaching the normally rarified atmosphere of the opposition penalty area.
Wes Thomas had been warming up and, although his recent displays have been surprisingly impressive, Lee Clark sensibly resisted the temptation to change things and we saw out the match in 4-5-1 style.
Food for thought:
- Should Blues stick with 4-5-1 against Blackburn?
- Given Chris Burke’s patchy form would you accept a close season bid of £750,000?
- If there’s a change of ownership would you like to see Lee Clark given a chance?