Shattering the Crystal Palace while being thrown to the Wolves

Andy Munro on Blues’ inconsistent Easter.

Haydn Mullins and Darren Ambrose to lead us into the play offs? Well bearing in mind Lee Clark’s ‘shock’ renaissance, who knows? In fact, Blues had a fairly poor previous track record at Palace and usually football ley lines rule. However, we had broken a jinx down by the Riverside and we were at it again ‘darn sarf’.

We named quite an attacking side despite only fielding one forward and, to be honest, looked comfortable for most of the game. Both fullbacks had boundless energy complemented by Curtis Davies who was outstanding yet again. The old head Robbo was an excellent foil with his never say die tackling and all-round defensive work. Up top, Nathan Redmond’s opening goal was a wonderful piece of skill as he danced across the box to finish in classy fashion. Combined pressure from Curtis Davies and Ziggy led to goal number two and apart from the now customary brilliant save from Butland, we looked comfortable.

After a slightly uncomfortable first ten minutes following the restart, we began to motor again with Morrison coolly netting following a fine run by Mitch Hancox. The ever impressive Ferguson then capped it all with a wonderfully flighted free-kick.

It’s certainly looking promising and,if we can keep the likes of Fergie and Morrison on loan, to add to our growing reservoir of home grown talent, then we might start to look like play-off prospects next season. Presuming there have been no advance sales then we probably just need a new central defender, another central attacking player and (reluctantly)  probably a new keeper  as back-up.

I think that we can now be officially categorised as ‘safe’ from relegation woes and , whatever the result against the Wolves, it will be nice to don the pipe and slippers.

Food for thought:

  • Given our recent success, would you give Lee Clark another season?
  • Would you find a place in the team for Chris Burke when he’s fit?
  • Now we’re safe, would you give Koby Arthur a run?


Then came…

Just for a nano second, Bluenoses dared to dream about sneaking into the play-offs but this is Blues we’re talking about. The conditions might have been polar but Blues were more bi-polar with a performance of chalk and cheese.

Now, as a regular chanter of 4-4-2,far be it for me to criticise such a formation but with Fahy and Spector not really fit, was it sensible to play two up top, two out and out wingers and two attacking central midfielders? I would humbly suggest that 4-5-1 was a more sensible option to retain the right balance.
It was definitely a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show at the Palace, yet Blues didn’t play too badly offensively although they defended abysmally in the first period. Butland had one of his forgettable games, conceding a penalty and effectively laying on another goal. His kicking was of the lowest order and one wonders if it would be wise to bother to keep him on loan next season even if it was offered.
In fairness, the defence in front of him was hardly cast iron although Davies got a heavy knock early on from Eubanks –Blake, who should have received a booking for his trouble. However the real reason for our defensive frailty was that Wolves completely bullied us out of midfield which meant that players were running at our back four at will.

For a worrying time it looked as if it might be another Barnsley but presumably there was a teacup throwing session at half-time and Blues came out a lot more purposefully. In fact we could have had a hatful with the main culprit Wes Thomas. To be fair, he created a couple of chances for himself but, quite frankly, his finishing would have made Cameron Jerome look clinical in front of goal. Nathan Redmond was a handful and even if a few numpties groaned when he lost the ball a couple of times it was good to see him having a go and certainly succeeding more than he failed. Ziggy could have had a couple but the question must be what he has to do to earn a penalty. Referees seem to think that just because he’s big he is always the culprit rather than the victim. Wade Elliott scored our two consolations including a well-taken penalty and he never gives up even if his defensive play was a bit wayward.

Koby Arthur came on for a cameo performance and did himself no harm in difficult circumstances but overall an obviously disappointing result. My guess is that in this topsy turvy season,we need another three points (ie 55) to be safe. It would be nice to get them against Millwall and effectively put a stressful season to bed!

Food for thought:

  • At home should it be 4-4-2 or 4-5-1?
  • Is Wayne Thomas worth persevering with?
  • Would you keep Butland next season?

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