Clean Sheets

Andy Munro on the week, and four points, for Blues.

The odds against Blues getting two clean sheets on the trot must be the same as Audley Harrison winning the world heavyweight championship. Certainly apologies must go to the Evening Mail Sports Desk as it appeared to be a laughable judgement that four of their top five average marks for Blues players were defenders – despite previous defensive performances being about as watertight as a colander.

The match against Wednesday could have, in truth, gone either way and it took a wonderful save from Butland to keep the scoreline on an even keel. Even more worrying at the time was the fact that Wednesday had frightening pace up front with Antonio giving Caddis (no slouch himself) ten yards start and still getting to the ball first. In fact Blues looked decidedly shaky at the back early on and Mitch Hancox, who ended up turning in a great performance with some game saving tackles, struggled early on positionally.

Mind you, in midfield, Reilly and Spector looked a solid pairing and out wide Chris Burke was returning to his ‘Tear ‘Em Apart’ mode. The second period saw Blues generally in more ascendancy but King obviously wasn’t fully fit and Ziggy, who generally had a good game, unfortunately missed a Ronnie Rosenthal sitter. Watching the game unfold set me thinking about Wes Thomas playing off Ziggy because basically the big man was continually flicking the ball onto the invisible man… given our lack of pace up front. Still, at the end of the day, a clean sheet was nice.

Next up were the Posh who typically for the Blues, like Sheffield Wednesday, were a team bang in form and scoring goals for fun. To be fair, Lee Clarke set out with an attacking formation, slightly balancing two men up top with Wade Elliott as one of the wide men. As most would have expected, Posh exerted early pressure but Blues held firm, partly thanks to a tremendous double save from JB. This emphasises the crassness of some comments on the Tilton that keepers are the most dispensable in terms of transfer outgoings.

However, Burke,who had another excellent game, fired in a shot that was too hot for the Posh keeper to properly handle and Ziggy was there, like the annoying gangly goalhanger in the playground, to prod the ball home. Thereon, nobody really dominated but Burke showed that you make your own luck when, following a sublime turn, his shot was deflected for the second killer goal. Incidentally, it was noticeable that on the BBC Football League Show, our win didn’t even warrant a comment from the pundits. It seems that now we are even unfashionable at Championship level.

Food for thought

  • if there is an opportunity, would you keep Butland on loan next season?
  • is Lovengrans not so bad after all?
  • would you pair Wes Thomas with Ziggy?