Andy Munro watches as Blues go down to a late cup defeat.
This was a day when the memory of one of the most embarrassing games in modern times for Bluenoses was to be put to rest. While it didn’t quite work out that way, in the now customary battle of FA Cup 2nd XIs the game was a tightly contested affair, with the Cherries sneaking a slightly undeserved victory.
Poor refereeing didn’t help and the awarding of two joke penalties (the second to obviously even up the first mistake) was symptomatic of the official’s poor display. However, you can’t expect to go through to the next round when penalties are wastefully blazed over the bar and when your keeper drops a clanger of Sprake-like proportions. Even so, it was a cruel blow to lose so late in the game when we had hit the post and had the lion’s share of an entertaining affair.
Blues had also started off brightly and Soloman-Otabor showed that he is rapidly growing into the role of the next outstanding winger off the Blues Youth Academy production line. Good also to see Cotterill back in the fold and his first half cameo (cut short apparently by a slightly tight hamstring) was impressive even without the support of his mukka Caddis. It included a trademark quality free kick delivery to the goal scoring head that is Morrison’s. His replacement, Maghoma, also continued his elevation in form as he caused the Cherries’ back line all sorts of problems.
The midfield also battled manfully and, despite some criticism, I have personally no problems with Dave Davies receiving man of the match for a tireless performance. However, with Shinnie doing his usual insubstantial will o’ the wisp act, too often, Vaughan found himself isolated up front. Whether, it’s Vaughan or Clayton, this problem needs to be addressed urgently if we want our 4-4-1-1 to be effective offensively.
However, the deficiency that jumps out is the poor to average displays of the full backs on show and, on that note, let’s hope that the rumour that Wednesday are about to sign Caddis is merely mischief-making. Certainly, Eardley is ponderous and injury prone whilst Grounds is looking every inch a Division One player, particularly with his poor distribution.
The appearance of the agricultural Shane Lowry gave no real hope of proper competition in his position. Assuming Caddis stays, we desperately need a left full back with calmness and pace to give quick and tricky wingers a hard time whilst supporting their own winger up the line.
Let’s hope Gary Rowett addresses these issues before the window closes. If he does, we have a top six shout. If he doesn’t it’s midtable mediocrity at best.