Andy Munro reports from St Andrews.
It was the sort of comeback which usually only happens when Ziggy is thrown on as sub and the ball is lumped into the box but either way, it was the most unlikely of comebacks.
It’s a shame to have a whinge after a great point has been plucked out of the air but it was triggered by the introduction of a wide player in the shape of our most talented player. Whilst Sir Alf might have applauded our first half ‘wingless wonders’ approach, the lack of width was immediately spotted by the opposition who then bottled up our fullbacks, who incidentally went on to have poor games as they were run ragged.
This brings me to a second whinge, namely why has Lee Clark taken a leaf out of Bazza’s Bible by signing just about every player in sight, albeit on loan, seemingly irrespective of our positional needs. Tyler Blackitt looked far too casual and if he keeps out either Mitch Hancox or Amarai Bell it will be a travesty. The plethora of young midfielders signed when we’ve got a decent trio of Howard, Adeymi and Reece Brown is mystifying. Maybe signing one, with Rusak the pick, is logical but signing three seems designed to just confuse. Both the successful teams we have played from the East Midlands have shown the great strength there is in building up an understanding by playing a settled team within a familiar shape.
In fairness, there were also plus points. Packwood was excellent and Martin who came on alongside looked decent and solid. In the middle, Rusak again caught the eye and Howard’s header was the icing on a more than decent performance. Obviously Burke, as always, made a difference and Macheda needs to start next time although his performance as sub was not exactly the magic pill that Bluenoses were hoping for, despite his goal.
It goes without saying that Randolph was his usual exceptional self, including the penalty save. He was desperately unlucky to concede Derby’s second, which was a very fortuitous deflection.
In the final analysis it was a decent point but Blues lack of understanding and shape is a real worry and, although Clark has been dealt a bad hand by injuries and the loan returnees situation, it’s his responsibility to settle things down, even if that means one or two rooky loanees being back at their parent clubs by the end of the month.