Andy Munro on another St Andrews late show.
It’s a truism that anybody can beat anyone on their day in the Championship so it was never likely to be a walkover even against a Pompey side fighting for survival for a set up that would make Carsson Yeung look in the Roman Abramovitch bracket. Certainly it is difficult to imagine Carlos Tevez or Balotelli playing while not being paid.
It was another freezing night but luckily devoid of the white stuff. Mind you, I was lording it in the ‘old’ main stand thanks to an invite from the Evening Mail. Even better, before the match I was served a bowl of hot and spicy Moroccan style soup and a mammoth steak and ale pie to fortify me against the cold. During this pre-match meal, Ian Atkins gave a short talk and I didn’t realise he is still working at Sunderland even though Brucie is now history. Incidentally, to add to the congeniality, we were given a free programme and betting slips. I resisted the temptation of going with the longest odds of 2000-1 for Ibanez to sore Blues’ only goal in a 4-1 defeat… about as likely as Ziggy scoring four goals in a match!
Anyway, this time Blues decided to rest the still injured Ziggy and instead went for Marlon King up front with Rooney and with Burke as the only wide man. Blues dominated the opening exchanges with some excellent possession but it was all neat and unthreatening and, despite being dominated for long periods, it was Pompey who came the closest forcing a brilliant full length safe from Boaz Myhill. The problem for the Blues was that with Marlon King in one of his disinterested moods and Rooney still looking like the raw rookie that he is, they rarely looked dangerous. None of this was helped by Burke having his second poor game in succession.
On the brighter side, N’Daw started off in awesome style but was then injured ‘early daws’ but luckily Mutch and Fahey had excellent games whilst the back four were rock solid.
When the second period started, as usual, Blues were at their enthusiastic best attacking the Tilton. Mutch hit the post with a shot and then some intelligent running from Rooney in the six yard box ended in some unintelligent finishing. Marlon King was also ineffective often being pulled up for offside and fouls. He never seems to get a decision and one wonders whether that’s because of his track (criminal) record.
Now I don’t want to be feted as the new Chris Hughton but I said at half-time that we should bring Redmond on as a central striker, rather than a winger, because it makes him harder to pick up. So it proved when he came on in just that position to calmly volley home a winner in the dying minutes.
Maybe the impossible dream is on…..