The Ides of March

Andy  Munro has a sense of foreboding at St Andrews. 

This is fast becoming a defining month in a doom monger sort of way. In fairness, Blues probably deserved to beat Reading but were undone by shocking defending.

Early on, the match was an even but totally uninspiring affair. We didn’t manage a shot until the 26th minute and then the inevitable happened when a Reading raid down the wing caused panic at the back and Blues went one nil down. Unfortunately this pattern was oft-repeated with Caddis and Blackitt looking terribly shaky every time a winger ran at them. At least Blackitt looked neat on the ball but he’s extremely slow for a young ‘prospect’ and rarely overlaps…roll on the return of Mitch Hancox.

Surprisingly we equalised from the spot after being awarded a penalty which, from the Tilton, looked extremely generous. While it was a massive blow to loose Huws due to injury, the enforced switch of Reilly into midfield  was a major plus as Reilly put himself about in a way that the absent Adeymi had been doing before his initial injury.

With Novak also going off injured, we eventually sported a front two of Ziggy and Macheda with the young Liverpool loanee on one wing and Burke on the other. We really should have profited from this with the loanee a bundle of tricks although his final ball was at times wayward. The Reading keeper pulled off a couple of brilliant saves and on another occasion was saved by the woodwork.

Unfortunately, things came to a predictable climax when Reading caused mayhem down the wing and the ensuing cross had the predictable result. This was after they had missed a chance of Ronnie Rosenthal proportions a few minutes earlier to take the lead. I felt sorry for Packwood and Robbo who both had decent games in the centre but our full-backs were a disaster waiting to happen. Certainly our back four must be the slowest in the Championship as we continue to leak goals against anybody with a pace merchant. We had a bit of a last hurrah with Ziggy winning more balls purposefully in the air than I’ve seen for a long time and Macheda looking dangerous but our finishing, in the final analysis, was less than clinical.

Where does this leave Lee Clarke? Any other less cash-strapped club would have sacked their manager by now and I’ve heard more than a rumour from a fairly reliable source that he’ll be on his pedal cycle if we lose against the Lions. Personally, it can’t come soon enough as his incessant tinkering has left a side good enough to be mid-table teetering on the brink in a state of playing confusion and misunderstanding.