Often Partisan

Redmond to the Rescue: Portsmouth review

Here are my reflections on last night’s match against Portsmouth at St Andrews:

1) The Right Result

I think overall Blues got what they deserved – just. I thought for long periods last night the game was fairly equal but Blues just stepped up a gear in the last twenty minutes and were rewarded for their greater attacking intent. That being said, credit must go to Portsmouth who I thought pressed really well, worked really hard and gave Blues a stern test.

2) Pace

I think one thing last night showed is the absolute dearth of pace in the Blues team, and how sorely we need it. Until young Nathan Redmond came on Blues looked ponderous at times going forwards, and with no real speed to get behind the fullbacks they were easily marshalled. Again, credit to players like Greg Halford who bossed his game from left back really well; and Kelvin Etuhu who I thought made some good runs forwards and worried our back line. It’s easy to see why pace was letting Blues down – they had to back off as Pompey pushed forwards because they knew in a straight line race they’d probably lose whereas Pompey could really push onto the wingers knowing that they weren’t going to zip past them.

3) Nathan Redmond

Nathan was given the man of the match award last night – which is quite unusual bearing in mind he only came on for the last twenty-eight minutes. It was deserved though in that he changed the game – all of a sudden Blues had something different going forwards and they started creating more chances. I knew within five minutes of Redmond’s appearance that we’d probably score and when the chance fell to the teenager he took with aplomb. Nathan has matured greatly this year – he’s not anywhere near as raw as he was and he’s starting to look as though he could be a real, top-class prospect – something Blues haven’t brought through their own academy since God-only-knows when. I’m still not quite sure if Nathan is ready for week-in week-out ninety minute appearances but I do trust Hughton with his education – he’s brought him on massively this year.

4) Jonathan Spector

I’m not surprised that club captain Stephen Carr cannot get back into the Blues team; for me Jonathan Spector has grown into the right back slot and he’s looked really impressive there the last few games. I know he’s had his critics; I remember the horror back pass out in Maribor and I know that many fans didn’t rate him in the centre of midfield but now I think people are warming to the American. Of the players who started the game last night, he was probably the best for me.

5) Wade Elliott

I think another mention should go to Wade Elliott; thrown off after N’Daw strained his calf in the first quarter of an hour, he slotted in straight away and whilst he wasn’t as direct as say Jean Beausejour would be down the left Elliott put a shift in and was trying hard to make something happen. I can’t understand why we’re not starting the former Burnley man down the left; it’s clearly not the right position for Mutch or Fahey and if Hughton doesn’t want to burn out Redmond for me Elliott is the only choice.

All in all, a good win, another clean sheet and another reminder to our rivals that we’re there or there abouts. The key thing now is to keep the momentum going and to keep grinding out results; if Blues can add a face or two to the squad now the loan window has opened to ensure we’re not struggling to field a team – we could be in danger of going up.

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19 Responses to “Redmond to the Rescue: Portsmouth review”

  • tall blue says:

    totally agree about the pace – all those exta games now catching up – plus pompey didnt play saturday where as we played in a winter wonder land – a lot of our goals come in the last 20 mins which is a good thing as it shows resilience at least

  • Evesham Blue says:

    It also shows that CH can change a game tactically and is not scared to use his subs. When was the last time we had a manager that could do that? We need extra players badly to cope with injuries

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    Redmond injected the pace and skill. Rooney is a very blunt blade, and did he win one aerial challenge? He looked out of his depth again. Fahey put in another class performance; tackling, shooting and getting most of his passes home. I can’t believe that Pompey left Benjani and Kitson on the bench. Both would have started for us. King seemed quite disinterested and it was a master stroke by Hughton to replace him with Redmond who I thought would take over from a lacklustre Burke.

    • JohnR says:

      I don’t think King was disinterested, I just don’t think he was fit. That groin injury must still be troubling him, he couldn’t trust himself to stretch or sprint.

  • JohnR says:

    I agree mostly with what you say but I think it was a deserved win not ”just” deserved.
    As you say we do lack pace although I thought Murphy did zip on particularly in the second half which I thought we completely bossed.
    Portsmouth are no mugs and are a massive side with plenty of Premier League experience. First half we allowed them to play too much but I thought second half we got a lot tighter in midfield and they struggled then.
    I couldn’t understand why King was playing, he was clearly unfit and couldn’t sprint. Was that CH’s first mistake of the season?

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    King was walking a bit funny, but he does anyway! He seemed surprised to be taken off. We badly need another striker and I’d go for either Benjani or Kitson if Pompey fold.

  • alexjhurley says:

    my observations:

    1. When will people start giving Pannu some credit for appointing Hughton ? (you can give it grudgingly !)
    2. Thin sqaud + no. of games played clearly catching up on us. let’s not get our expectations falsely high – we’ll still have done bloody well if we make the play offs. Need for 3 or 4 loan signings well documented and beyond doubt.
    3. Where have all the critics of Calderwoods appointment gone ? Back into the woodwork presumably. divs.
    4. Depite < 17,000, atmosphere last night was much better (in parts adminttedly). Are we onto sometihng with the blokes who took their shirts off? Could this be our own "poznan" if we could get more people doing it……..

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    The atmosphere could get ramped up even more if the women take their off shirts too!

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    I want to mention our centre backs Caldwell & Davies. They are 2 absolute rocks at the moment and it is in large part to them that we have conceded so few goals in the last month or so. I didn’t see either put a foot wrong last night and seeing Davies charging up field in stoppage time was ace. Pure commitment!

    The comments about Murphy and Spector are spot on. Spector looks a decent right back now and if he is keeping Carr out based on performances, then credit to him. Also credit to Hughton for not accommodating Carr by playing Spector out of position, as previous managers might. Murphy too, puts in tons of effort. I still think the defensive part of his game needs a little improvement (he gives wingers lots of space sometimes) but we aren’t missing our superstar Ridgewell in the slightest.

  • AL-LAD says:

    Poor game, great result, but think I watched a different game to some, not sure Fahey managed to pass the ball to someone in a Blue shirt all night, Mutch started poor out wide on the left and continued poorly in the middle, Burke was well marshalled by the Pompey left back and only started to find time/space after we scored and Pompey were stretched searching for an equalizer. Elliott failed to get involved after being introduced. I thought we lost our combative influence when N’Daw went off, Rooney headless chicken, and the game passed King by. The Back 4 and Myhill looked solid enough, and Redmond looked lively when introduced. Blues really struggled to break down a Pompey team that defended with 11 men behind the ball and looked to hit us on the counter.

    • BluePenguin 76 says:

      Al-lad all decent points mate, our midfield was devoid of ideas for long spells and it wasn’t a classic display but the main point being , it wasn’t great and we STILL managed to get a win!!. Long may we struggle to break teams down and win!!.

      I can’t believe how we are doing, I’m not counting my chickens but I’m just amazingly proud of the run we have strung together. Who says you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Well done CH.


    • AuldBertie says:

      Agree about Fahey. His worst game in ages with a very high percentage of stray passes. Commendable that he is always willing to show for the ball though but I thought he was generally quite poor last night.

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    If King was not fit then I agree that it was a bit baffling why he looked a bit put out at being substituted. If he was fit then it was a lacklustre performance and he deserved to get substituted albeit Rooney for all his wokrate offered no threat. Master substitution by CH playing young Nathan just behind the frontman. This gave us a completely different dimension as prior to then we never looked likely to score. I think that with Beau having gone we now have round pegs in a square hole at left mid and teams are cottoning on to the ploy of stop the supply of Burke on the right and you will stop us creating. This and at least one forward are I think necessities to enable us to keep defying all the odds but blimey am I pleased overall with how this BCFC juggernaut keeps steamrollering its way through this division..

  • sam says:

    Great win from a tired and poor game, can’t remember such a ‘love in’ for a manager since TF , Hughton’s honesty, class and dignity has been a real tonic after the kick in the balls of relegation and Carson’s comic accounting.
    I have enjoyed this season much, much more than i thought i would although Stansfeels like a second home with the number of games!
    Although CH has worked wonders the squad desperately needs 2 or 3 additions to hang in there and challenge till rest of season.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Talking of left midfield what on earth has happened to Valles? Redmond scored a superb goal. If I was CH I’d play NR behind a lone striker be it Rooney Zigic or King.

  • jeff says:

    spector was my m.o.m we did enough .three more points.regarding left wingers.what about the lad at hearts?templeman is it?they have less dollar than us.

  • jeff says:

    i think his proper name is templton

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Reckon we still need that Savage/Bowyer worrier with pace. Jean had been good at forcing the midfield, and as a midfielder Giurane makes a good old-fashioned centre-forward, but yes, we need that pace.
    Haven’t got a clue who might be available to fit that bill though.

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