Andy Munro watches as Blues attempt to boost their promotion hopes against Hull City.
I suppose it was a ‘must not lose’ game as much as a ‘must win’ against in-form Hull. Consequently Blues set out a rather defensive minded stall although, in fairness, this was partly due to the Serbian Sicknote.
So it was Marlon King up top supported by Mr Versatility, Wade Elliott, who, in turn, was supported by a midfield with only one genuine winger. Hull had obviously been told to press the Blues to neutralise their passing game and that’s exactly what they did. Unfortunately Blues were bereft of any individuals with any pace or brawn to play an alternative game. In fact it was Hull who had the best chance of the first period when the begloved Jordan Mutch cleared off the line. I presume Jordan is still at the young age when his mum won’t let him leave the house without a woolly pair of mitts. That apart he was like a fish out of water as a wideman, not having the pace to get past anybody. Some people thought different but I felt that Fahy was reasonable in midfield although Spector wasn’t the ideal foil.
Up front, Wade Elliot had a very ordinary game behind Marlon K who in all my years of watching the Blues put in the complete performance – completely useless that is. No pace, lazy, always being caught offside, frequently out-muscled off the ball and barely winning the ball once in the air. It’s not surprising that it was still nil-nil when the first half mercifully drew to its uninspiring close.
Second half and Blues came out with a lot more purpose but after a spell of pressure seemed to tail off again. It was crying out for a fresh pair of legs – Rooney for King and, of course, the prodigy that is Nathan Redmond. With King even worse in the second half it was a shame and a Hughton mystery that Rooney got no pitch time whilst Redmond only had a 15 minute spell to impress. Mind you his appearance lifted a crowd who must have thought tactics-wise that McLeish had come back to haunt us. One thing that did work was restoring Mutch into a more central role where he blossomed to earn the official announcement for Man of the Match. Probably the really impressive factor was yet another almost faultless defensive display by the team, with Murphy a particular star.
Overall, the result wasn’t a disaster but it shows that we desperately need an injection of new blood i.e. a quick forward and a left winger. The rest of the team will do. My guess is that it’s the play-offs for us. It’s just a shame that it’s the usual Blues story of when a little bit of investment could make all the difference it never materialises… I wonder if the Chinese have a comparable saying to ‘Don’t spoil the ship for a ha’penny worth of tar’?