Often Partisan

Staying up fighting

My reflections on the match against Newcastle United today at St James’s Park. Please note I watched it on a dodgy internet feed.

1) The Penalty

Let’s be honest it was a definite pen. Ridgewell handled it not once, but twice – although there is a definite argument that the first one wasn’t deliberate. I’m also not convinced that the deliberate one stopped a clear goalscoring opportunity; I think it was more just trying to get it away from the goal. That being said, I’m not surprised the ref sent him off. I know a few Blues fans are unhappy with the decision, but had it been against us we’d have demanded a red card and thus we cannot complain.

2) The Defence

That being said, the defence was much better today than it had been previously. Roger Johnson did manage to drop a ricket in the first ten minutes; thankfully Shola Ameobi was offside and couldn’t take advantage. I think had we not conceded the pen, things could have been much different; we were pressing them all over the park, defending from the front and we had a lot more possession than we were probably entitled to have with ten men. Foster was back to his sublime best between the sticks, and it gives me heart that we’ll be okay; although I do wonder who’ll be slotted in for Ridgewell next week.

3) Jean Beausejour

After picking our Chilean winger out as a potential start for today’s game, I’m glad McLeish rewarded a good performance against Wolves with a place in the first XI. I don’t think he disappointed either; despite being asked first to support Jerome up front, and then to play as a left back for 55 mins, Beausejour did what he had to, and in the main did it well. A few times he won some good tackles on the touchline, and skilfully kept the ball in to allow us to attack; he got some good crosses in early on and he defended as well as could be expected. Definitely worthy of keeping his place for the visit of the Cottagers next week.

4) Keith Fahey

At the ground, the bloke who sits behind me often talks up our Irish midfielder, saying in the centre of midfield he thinks he can do a good job getting forwards, and seeing Keith starting in a central midfield three I resolved to keep an eye on him. I know that there are a fair few Blues fans who don’t rate Fahey much, but I thought he did well today; he’s quite elegant on the ball, he plays nice simple passes and looks to get the ball forwards. He’s not a tigerish midfielder like Lee Bowyer or Craig Gardner, but he is creative and he’s got a decent cross on him. I’m a believer if we gave Fahey as many chances to shoot as Gardner has had, he’d have a fair few goals too.

A defeat wasn’t the end of the world; draws for West Ham and Wigan have kept them deeply in trouble and hopefully Spurs can do for Blackpool to keep them massively behind us. It’s squeaky bum time, but I feel we’ve got enough now to have crossed the line. Hopefully next week will be a nice home win and the fans celebrating another season in the top flight.

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