Football has an almost unique way of polarising opinion among people. Yesterday was a classic example of one such instance.
On the face of it, and dealing only in facts, as I know one or two of you like to…We lost a game of football 2-1. Ultimately, that is what the record books will show and it’s how Dean Smith will be judged. However, dig a little deeper, look at some of the Grey areas, not just the black and white facts and you see it a little different…
We lined up with a pretty defensive shape, Three Centre halves and two defensive minded wing backs. Leaving Josh Clarke and Kaikai on the bench said to me that we were thinking of holding on to what we had rather than going out to win the game. Understandable to some extent after shipping 3 goals last week and losing our last 2 games at home too. I also take on board the point about trying to nullify the aerial threat of Brum, as they have scored more headers than any other team in the division. However, we are not talking about playing Newcastle or Brighton but Birmingham, a poor mans Middlesbrough, if you ask me.
Confidence is key and we are certainly lacking that at the moment. I just feel we could have shown a bit more belief in the players we have in the squad and perhaps, gone about it in a different manner. I am totally blindsided by Clayton Donaldson, his whole career has been about throwing himself to the ground and looking to play on the edge of the rules, my frustration with him is made the more intense as I believe he could have really been a top player. He has the height, build, speed and skill along with an eye for a goal but….My first thoughts were that he had once again dived yesterday but I concede it was a needless penalty to have conceded. 0-1
Brentford took a long time to get into their stride but towards the end of the first half were the dominant team and at last began creating chances…Chances that agonizingly were not converted. Brum had the luck for sure but in fairness also deserved it as they defended manfully and their keeper made some great saves. It was a shame that the ref allowed him about 2 minutes to take a goal kick every time though!
The second half started with us having a lot of the ball and pinning Brum back for long periods. Our passing though was particularly poor and we made hard work of things throughout the game. Poor Dan Bentley was enduring his worst game to date and he seemed to have been infected with a touch of Buttonitis, as far as his kicking was concerned. Vibe was again a shadow of himself and has lost his zip recently…Grow your hair long again Lasse!
Hogan was back to his predatory best and caused problems but had a distinct lack of service from the home midfield. Woods was having another influential game but started plays from too deep. Sawyers again showed some nice touches but couldn’t find a way through the resolute Blues defence.
Once again, poor marking in our own box cost us a soft second goal and really at that point it was game over. 0-2
The introduction of Josh Clarke and McEachran made a difference as both showed some classy touches and Hogan did well to get his head to a chip between their back four and keeper to give us a consolation.
Overall, I thought we played well in patches but switched off at key moments defensively. We need a midfield enforcer and one or two more leaders on the pitch. Someone who can relay Deans instructions to their team mates and take control of situations…These are the type of players that don’t come along too often. Onwards to Norwich next Saturday and a must win encounter against Burton in a fortnight. Difficult times but no alarm bells, yet…
Bentley 5: A little blip in an otherwise steady accent
Colin 7: Good game both going forward and in defence. Has a real appetite for the game.
Bjelland 7: Looked more at home in a back 3, lovely left foot.
Egan 6: Solid as ever in the air but poor distribution and decision making at times.
Dean 6: Struggled in the first half, particularly in the air, better second half and broke forward thoughtfully.
Barbet 7: Played well and got in some decent crosses, looked at home in that position.
Woods 7: Everything of note was started by him but as mentioned above, played far too deep, had a couple of good shots too.
Yennaris 6: Not his best game, chased manfully but not to effective going forward.
Vibe 5: Oh dear! Not able to assert himself at all, more of a hindrance yesterday.
Sawyers 6: Needs to find a cutting edge, looks neat in possession but isn’t creating enough.
Hogan 7: Took his goal well and worked hard, keep it up Scotty and you can be the top scorer in this division.
Kaikai for Sawyers
Clarke for Vibe
McEachran for Barbet
On a personal note to finish. I am pleased to announce that I have been elected onto the BIAS committee following yesterday’s AGM. I feel honoured to represent you all.
The BIAS blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent BIAS policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to BIAS.