To Hull and back

Andy Munro charts Blues’ progress in last week’s league games.

It’s becoming a bit of a rollercoaster season with glory (almost) in Europe and a brief initial flirt near the play-offs countered by a recent dip in the league. Of course, Blues away form has been a source of concern and although defeats have been narrow – and according to the Evening Mail ‘unlucky’ – the point is that we need points on the board.

In Dad’s Army parlance, it’s still Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring but the lack of a dominant and penetrative central midfielder is clear and must be addressed in the transfer window. Such a figure will also help mix things up at the top end where currently opposition back fours are faced with a fairly predictable formation to cope with.

Now whatever fans say about Marlon King, he has made a lot of goals with his unselfish play (let’s hope this now extends to his personal life). However, he was signed as a prolific Championship goalscorer and he’s definitely failed on that score. Meanwhile, Ziggy has proved that he has stardust with the Carling Cup triumph but hasn’t really done the business since. At an alleged £40 or £50k a week, this doesn’t really add up and the money could be better spent on another more mobile striker and the aforementioned midfielder.

During the game at Hull we made an ample number of chances and also conceded a couple of poor goals. Without Curtis Davies there, the lack of pace is a bit worrying. Stevie Carr also had one of his rare mares, which didn’t help. Arguably Myhill should have prevented one of the Hull goals and after Burke had a forgettable game against Cardiff, the ‘old boy comes back to haunt’ scenario doesn’t seem to work for Blues.

After the Hull defeat, the Doncaster game was a must win fixture even at this early stage of the season if we have any aspirations for a play-off place. Typically, just like when we played lowly Bristol City after they had just appointed a new manager, we were playing the Rovers just after their excellent win against the Saints.

The crowd was a typical sparse pre-Xmas effort only bolstered by a boisterous and enthusiastic away following. It was good to see N’Dawe at last given a chance and the child prodigy that is Nathan Redmond on the bench. Chris H also showed he was going for it by playing two up top with Ziggy amongst the subs.

Blues started well and apart from a flat ten minutes spell dominated with some flowing football. Unfortunately it was a bit like the game against the Posh when we failed to convert our first half superiority into goals. The main culprit was Chrissy Woods but he was still impressively dangerous, forcing the Rovers keeper into a couple of fine saves. However, it was still entertaining and as they were clapped off, it was disappointing to hear some numpty exclaim, “I don’t know why they’re clapping that rubbish”.

Of course, early in the second half the inevitable happened when Donny scored in a breakaway with Albion ‘loan ranger’ Marc Antoine-Fortune outpacing the Blues defence, a bit too easily for my liking, to net. However, this Blues team have the capacity to bounce back unlike last season when our lack of creativity and firepower meant that a one goal deficit might as well have been ten. So it proved when Chrissy Burke, who was deservedly awarded man of the match, chased a lost cause to lay the ball on for Marlon‘He scores goals M’lud’ King to net.

At that stage Chrissy Hughton timed his subs perfectly (never a phrase in use with the Ginger Judas at the helm) bringing on Nathan Redmond to rouse both the crowd and the team even further. Meanwhile Ziggy had come on for Chris Wood whilst Fahy came on for an injured N’Dawe, who had performed excellently and, given a decent run, would undoubtedly be an asset to the team. This does not excuse the morons who jeered when Fahy’s name was announced.

Blues finally nabbed a deserved three points when great work again by Chrissy Burke led to Marlon King coolly slotting home his second, something which will do his confidence no harm.

This result, of course, means more than three points because it will also be a much needed confidence booster after a dreadful run of defeats, albeit by the odd goal. Let’s hope it’s the start of another successful run.