Andy Munro watches Blues go out of the League Cup.
Some of the Blues players must have walked underneath ladders on their way to the ground as the nil-three scoreline was a travesty although it has to be said that the quality of finishing was also the difference.
Lee Clark set up an attacking formation with 4-4-2 and only rested four players although it would have been nice to have seen Denny Johnstone given a full game as one of the front two. Blues played some good fluent football in the first half and had the edge on the few chances that came the way of either side.
Unfortunately we couldn’t finish them off and, in some ways, the jury must still be out on the effectiveness of the Donaldson and Thomas combo. Both do some good things but they have yet to find that telepathic understanding although it’s early days. However I have also yet to see either really want to ‘die’ to be the first player to the ball in the penalty area.
In the second period, Sunderland had more of the game but until the last quarter, Blues still looked the more likely to open their account. Unfortunately, we lost concentration after a gaffe by the officials when the ball clearly went out for our throw in. Sunderland went down the pitch to score with a well struck long range shot which Doyle(who generally had a decent game) might have been expected to save.
Twice we nearly equalised through Donaldson, first through a volley and secondly an acrobatic bicycle kick following clever work by the impressive Cotterill. Novak had meanwhile come on for his usual game time courtesy of Clark, who took off Duffy who I thought had a more than decent game. If he wasn’t injured, to use up a second sub after only an hour seems a bit strange.
Once Sunderland scored their second it was game over, Blues gettin caught for a third, as they pushed forward. However, the lads generally did us proud and Gleeson did his chances no harm at all with his display whilst both wingers caused Sunderland plenty of problems.
On a different subject, I wandered into the club shop before the game and lo and behold there was a new T-Shirt in the Blues ‘Heroes’ range – Nikola Zigic. No doubt, proceeds will go to the Nik Zigic Charity Foundation set up to support him in these hard times without his fifty grand a week. Needless to say, I won’t be buying one as I’m saving my money for the collector’s item that will be the Carsson Yeung Tee.