Away and home

Andy Munro has a home from home feeling a long way from St Andrews.

It had to come to an end sooner rather than later, but typically it happened as I turned up for my first away match this season. I was looking forward to the atmosphere given that the Amex Stadium was, I am told, designed to maximise acoustics, but for the most of the game you could have heard a pin drop which was a particular disappointment for me as I had gone with a Brighton-hating Palace fan and regaled him with tales of our magnificent and noisy away support. In truth, apart from a couple of renditions of Keep Right On near the end, our support was painfully quiet.

Maybe it’s because we all expected the worst, with Blues’ commanding central defenders out, our key central midfielder Adeymi and the only forward players with any pace (McLean and Linguard) all missing. Luckily Randolph was in superb form to repel the admittedly sporadic attacks with Hancox, Robbo, Mullins and Caddis acquitting themselves admirably especially considering they had precious little cover from Reilly and Lee who often gave the ball away from woeful passing or being caught in possession.

As usual, the ploy of only playing one genuine wide man was badly flawed, allowing Brighton to concentrate on snuffing out Burke, which hardly helped the one-paced attack that is Novak and Ziggy with the latter trundling around like the Honey Monster.

Brighton then stepped up a gear in the second half and after several attempts by the Blues defence to clear, a Brighton attacker thumped the ball home. In fact, it was only in the last 15 minutes that the Blues team (and their supporters) roused themselves into a last hurrah. Burke uncharacteristically miskicked in front of goal and then sent a ball skidding across an open goal as Ziggy stood adrift like a beached whale.

In fairness, there were a couple of bright spots to cheer with substitute Shane Ferguson adding some much needed width and energy although like the rest of the Blues’ team, his final centre left a bit to be desired. That apart, the most encouraging feature was a virtuoso performance by Reece-Brown who wasn’t afraid to use his repertoire of skills to create and also to battle for the ball at the same time.

Let’s hope that if our away form is turning into our home form then the reverse will also be true.