Often Partisan

The Man in Black; Barnsley Review

Here are my reflections on the home game against Barnsley at St Andrews:

1) The Ref

I’m not normally one to complain about refs but we had a shocker today in Mr David Phillips. Far too fussy, not keeping up with play and making so many incorrect decisions it was a lottery as to when either team got a free kick or not. The Barnsley goal came after a really bad foul on David Murphy; Murph jumped two feet in the air, the ball broke and the lad who’d fouled Murphy then stuck it in the back of the net. I generally go by player’s reactions, and seeing Caldwell and Murphy positively screaming at the ref about the injustice sealed it for me. Hopefully the assessor in the stand will mark Mr Phillips accordingly.

2) A game of two halves

This was the epitome of the cliché of the “game of two halves”, although the two opposing sections of the game were 60 minutes and 30 minutes accordingly. For too long the Blues were dire; slipping over, giving the ball away and passing to a red shirt. The idea of playing Beausejour in the middle is great when the Chilean has time on the ball, but Barnsley pressed us continually which meant Jean had very little time to actually do anything useful. Spector wasn’t up to speed, and it wasn’t until the introduction of Wade Elliott in the middle that Blues actually looked like they could hold onto the ball. Bringing on Nikola Zigic up front gave the front line some teeth, and it’s my opinion if we’d have had five minutes more, we’d have won the game; indeed, Marlon King was only an inch and a half away from doing so.

3) Redmond isn’t up to playing every game

I kinda felt for Nathan Redmond, because there is no doubting he really does give his all every game, and that he’s got skill in abundance. However, the lad is only seventeen and as such it’s a big ask to get him to play again for ninety minutes so soon after his last game. I think he struggled a bit; his right foot is his favoured foot and it meant every time he got to a point where he could cross the ball in he had to cut back inside, thus losing momentum. I’m not saying that the lad isn’t something special, because it’s clear that he’s probably one of the best prospects from the academy since… well, for a long time.

4) We’re not doomed yet

Despite people maybe feeling negative after today’s game, I think that there are positives to draw from it. The big one from me was that Hughton was able to change things and get Blues back into a position where they could have won the game; I honestly thought taking Spector off for Elliott and thus leaving no “defensive” midfielders on the pitch was a gamble but what it did was mean we had a midfield who were comfortable ball-players, and that gave us the impetus to take the game to Barnsley. Seeing Nikola Zigic back on the pitch and instantly linking up well with King was another plus; them two on form will be dangerous in this division. Thirdly, and by no means leastly we kept up our record of scoring in every game – if a team can believe that they will go into every game and know that they’ll more than likely get one goal at least, then they’ll have much more confidence in their attacking and more than likely will get one goal at least- and belief is a huge, huge thing.

It’ll be interesting to see how things are altered for our trip out to Slovenia on Thursday.

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11 Responses to “The Man in Black; Barnsley Review”

  • Blue Steve says:

    Completely agree Almajir. Nathan is a great talent but for now I think we need to play Beausejour and Burke wide and keep that consistent in the Championship as much as possible. I know we need to rotate given the amount of games we have and the injurys / niggles we are picking up. But I’d like to see selection being fairly consistent for the Championship. For example we seem to have a different central midfield 2 every week. Its a shame Jordan Mutch got injured as he would be a permanent fixture in my eyes. But for now I would like to see Fahey and Spector get a run for at least 5 games.


    • Andifo says:

      Agree with you to an extent Steve…certainly feel that we need to have a pretty settled line-up in the Championship going forward and i think that would be Chris Hughton’s view too! He seems to want to have a Championship XI and then a European XI,which is probably a fairly sensible idea, as it will keep the entire squad happy and keep everyone match fit going into the Xmas period.

      However, i do not agree that Fahey/Spector should be the midfield duo…for me personally, i feel that Gomis & Fahey will offer us the best combination of Gomis’ combative style and Fahey’s ability to pick a pass and support the forwards. Spector is just too poor a passer of the ball for this division…as with Lee Carsley the last time we were in this league, the need for a “blocker” is redundant. If you look at the teams who have been successful in the Championship in recent years, they have employed midfielders who are ball players not just tackle makers.

      Elliot is a useful player to have on the bench too. He showed yesterday that he can take a game by the scruff of the neck, get on the ball and cause a threat to the opposition’s defence. For me, the biggest positive was the way that Zigic and (a very tired looking) Marlon King linked up. If we get them both fit, they alone will begin to fire us up the league…and lets hope that Burke & Beausejour can regain their early season form, because the two strikers will have a feast of good delivery from those two!


      • Blue Steve says:

        For some reason Gomis did not come into my thoughts. I agree Gomis would be a better choice! I’m not totally convinced by him though. He does not protect that back 4 as well as I would have hoped though this maybe partly due to CH playing him further up the pitch.


  • cheltblue says:

    Great blog.

    For me the weak link is Spector, I have a few WHU fans who couldnt believe we signed him, however i felt id give him a chance as with anyone who puts on a blue shirt. Hopefully when Mutch is fit again, and Fahey is fully fit we wont play him in the central midfield role. He isnt good at going forward and not particularly good at defending. The only real selection that CH baffles with me with.

    Some TOUGH games coming up, Maribor, Forest, Leicester, Brighton all in the coming weeks…..Weve got to tighten up defensively.

  • Andy says:

    Barnsley fan here… Im sorry matey but 60 to 30 mins?? Give me a break!
    We dominated at least the first 75 mins, and it was only when you started lumping it up to Zigic that you offered any threat.
    I said to my mate after 10 mins that yet again this season the opposition – primarily the manager – had underestimated the Super Reds, and got their tactics wrong. Because only Boro have managed to outdo us playing passing football. Our central trio in midfield – Butterfield (the next player to leave for peanuts no doubt) Drinkwater and Perkins – will run any game this season. So the obvious way to beat us would be to get it wide or knock it up to a target man. And despite 1 to 11 of our no-name players outclassing their ‘name’ opponents, we currently lack a Marlon King, a Kev Phillips, or, seen as he’s injured, our own Danny Haynes.
    We have no trouble defending. We lost 3-1 on a bad nite against Boro, but in the other 7 games, we havent conceded more than 1 goal. We also have the best or at least the most under-rated GK in the division in Luke Steele. But 6 goals or whatever it is we have mustered tells its own story. We dont score enough.
    Ask Watford last week, or the mighty Leicester the week before, we had enough chances to beat them both TWICE. 60 odd percent of the ball, 20 odd shots, ONE GOAL, AGAIN…
    So if I was you guys, Id view a point yesterday as a great result considering being played off your own park.
    We have 22 first teamers. We have had, for 5 weeks at least, 10 of those lads out injured. And Im talking about 8 of them being STARTERS. Its an horrific injury list.
    And yesterday, we had – just back from injury – Matty Done on the wing. Now he’s a terrific young find, and was terrorising your defence. But he’s arguably 3rd choice. And what happened? He re-pulled his hamstring after 30 mins and had to go off. To be replaced by 18 year old (his birthday on Thursdax) Jordan Clark. We had 17 year old Danny Rose from the academy on the bench too, as well as a 50% fit Miles Addison. Who I blame for the 10 mins of City pressure once he came on because even at 100% fitness the lads garbage, and a liability. So for us to go to St. Andrews and be GUTTED to get a draw, with all our issues, is a positive sign. God help the division when Haynes, Edwards, Lovre, Noble-Lazarus, Davies, Vaz Te, Done, Park and Doyle return and we can field our strongest line-up regularly..
    I also found yours, an Hughtons complaints about our goal frankly laughable. It wasnt the goalscorer – Butts – that made the tackle your moaning about either. It was David Perkins, and the TACKLE was fair. And to moan that it cost you a goal is even funnier. Because your team allowed Butts the freedom to rocket a 35 yard SCREAMER past your awful GK Myhill. It was a stunning effort and yet you forget that and choose to find an excuse.
    Well hows about YOUR goal. That was as flukey as your team in general. The ball had gone out just before it, so it shouldnt have counted..

    • ScudMuffin says:

      preach to the converted, passing aside that was blues for the past three seasons. injuries were the blues down fall last season. that said I don’t see barnsley playing a near constant two games a week for all bar the international break. saying that your side is playing with a static 16 when you are playing 48 games minimum is like saying that its light during the day where you live. sure you will have the midweek fixtures with the cups, and the league ones like every one else but that’s expected. you can also afford to play the same 11 week in week out on saturday. blues can’t. blues have 56 games minimum, a large bulk going on before Xmas. its pretty much Sunday & Thursday up till Xmas. it pretty much has been since august. the lack of gell can be put to squad rotation, add injuries to that and any chance of a gelled squad goes out the window.

      oh, and Perkins every move seemed to be about body checking or bringing down the player he’s supposed to be tackling. rest of your team were good, he’s got a date with a few cardings.

    • Mark says:

      I don’t know what kind of tackles you consider to be fair andy, but jumping in, with both feet is not a fair challenge.. Torres was sent off for similar.. With Perkins you have a new Robbie Savage.. And one day he will get his just deserts when someone absolutely floors him. good side.. Decent passing.. But don’t flatter yourselves.. You can’t be that good with a spoiler like Perkins in the side!! THANKS!!!

  • pedantic pete says:

    As always Almajir your comments were spot on. I don’t think there was a spectator in the ground that wouldn’t share your perspective on the ref (and assistants), including the away fans. I think Redmond struggled against the strength of the defenders he was up against.

    Overall, I think that even during the warm-up, Barnsley looked better-prepared and during the game they stopped us playing effectively all over the pitch. Thank goodness for some good saves from Myhill or we would have been seriously, and rightly embarrassed. I can’t say I agree with Hughton’s assessment that we deserved a draw. I thought we were lucky to get the draw.

  • mark says:

    With some of our senior players returning back, and they need to get match fit obviously fans have just got to be alittle patience with CH. Maybe after 10 -15 games possibly voice your displeasure then.
    At the moment the team is still finding it feet and hopefully we get regular 11 players most of the time. This is a new team whether people like or not we have to give it time to gel………. KRO

  • Mark says:

    Must say am glad to hear other people say it was a foul pre the Barnsley goal.. Credit to them great strike, and they play some decent stuff,.. I was in the kop… Looked horror challenge to me. My mate and I were debating it quite heatedly and his view was.. It wasn’t given as murphy somehow avoided it.. If he had been caught I think it would definitely have been given.. However that is where the ref got it sooo wrong…!!! Surely you don’t have to break someones leg for the challenge to be a foul.. Lucky result though.. We never really got going.. I do think beausejour looks one of the class players in this division at the moment. Redmond should be on the bench as an impact player at the moment.. Gomis in central midfield every time.. He battles and he can pick a decent pass.. Am waiting to see what “George” N’Dawe will be like.. Big bloke!!

  • Andy says:

    But theres the point, the ref didnt give the foul, as Perks never touched him… thats like saying because Myhill dived for the ball, the goal shouldnt count! lol
    Anyways, you all agree with much of what I said and I have nothing against your club despite SOME of your fans leaving a lot to be desired. The 4-0 playoff victory in 2000 was a memorable day for me for good and bad reasons. I was sat right next to a window on a coach that was bricked that day. I still have a scar down the left side of my cheek were the glass flew into me. I could have been blinded. So I dont particularly look forward to St Andrews. But despite that, I have been every time since that day. Nobody scares me away from backing my team. And we havent experienced anything similar since. Probably due to always losing! lol
    And once it looked like we were running away with the game saturday, me and my mate were making jokes about getting a matching scar down the right side of my face… but yes. I have no time for cowards like those that day. But every club has them.
    And despite your managers strange summing up of the game, I do like the guy, and I cheered Brum on the year you went up and held your own. I loved Hart, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Bowyer etc. I remember Zarate a few year back. I enjoy you beating the Villa. So I wish you good luck moving forward. And I agree that the UEFA comp will affect you. Plus you lost ALL your better PREM class players. So give it time and you could still push for top 6. But next time you think of my club, have a wee bit of respect for what we achieve. 70 seasons in the 2nd tier. More than any other club. More wins, goals and points too. So despite being such a small club sandwiched between Leeds and Sheffield – who have 3 bigs clubs who we have out performed and had more recent success than – we hold our own.
    Pretty much every team in our division has a player who cost more on himself, than our entire squad put together.
    I bet you saw our XI saturday and thought “WHO? WHO? WHO? etc etc…”
    Keith Hill WILL prove to be one of the best managers EVER. Not just ere, but in his future jobs. The man is so clever, and so brave.
    To come into the longest-serving Championship club – from Rochdale – and choose to allow big names like O’Connor, Harewood, McShane, Trippier, Colace, Devaney, Arismendi and Shackell to leave is BRAVE. To then replace them with League One, League Two and Academy players is even braver.
    Ive been a Red since 1988 as a 6 year old. And apart from our 96/97 promo season, our away form has always been dire. Yet already Hill has turned that around. We would normally lose at Forest, Reading, Millwall and of course Birmingham. But we remain unbeaten.
    So we are excited right now. Id guess that we are running on just 10% of your budget, maybe less. So its all good.
    And Ill leave you with this fact. David Perkins hasnt been booked in 8 games. So, hardly a dirty player. But in those 8 games, he averages 11 successful tackles per game!

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