Andy Munro reports from Blues’ defeat to Leicester.
It was literally men against boys against a powerful and co-ordinated Leicester side, who were streets ahead of Blues in their movement on and off the ball during a one-sided first half.
Now the current state of the Blues is a good ‘get out of jail’ card for Lee Clark as even his fiercest critics have some sympathy for his position in terms of playing options. He HAD to play a rusty Kyle Bartley who looked as if he was still carrying his hamstring and, in doing so, had the proverbial mare. Presuming Hancox was unavailable, he HAD to play Amarai Bell and with Mullins as a non-option, he HAD to play young Will Packwood when ,under normal circumstances, he would have been nursed a bit more, following his bad leg break.
However,did he have to play a struggling Ollie Lee instead of the creative(and more importantly) experienced Brian Howard? Did he have to play Novak up front on his own when his lack of pace and physical presence makes it mission impossible when playing as a lone striker? Did he have to waste Rusak’s skills on the wing when, if he’s going to play, it needs to be in the hole behind Novak?
At the end of a torrid half for Blues, Leicester must have mortified to only be one goal up and part of that was down to some harum scarum defending. Strangely the two youngsters, Bell and Packwood, looked more accomplished in defence than both Bartley and Caddis.
Luckily the second half saw a bit of an improvement and Blues nearly scored an undeserved equaliser but from the breakaway, Leicester went up and scored through pace merchant Vardy. Bell was turned inside out by the move but that mistake shouldn’t detract from an otherwise decent debut. In fairness,we never gave up and the otherwise unimpressive Lovenkrands headed home a consolation goal.
In truth this result wouldn’t have been such a disaster if we hadn’t lost to Yeovil. The match showed that we’ve a long way to go but the consolation is that, Nugent apart, Leicester have got to where they are without a marquee signing.
Highlights were few and far between but there were battling displays from the likes of Packwood, Adeymi and Reece-Brown plus more than decent performances from Bell and Randolph. However, on the minus side, there was a toothless attack, ineffective midfield displays from Lee and Rusak and dreadful defending from Bartley and Caddis.
Where do we go from here? Only Carson knows.