Often Partisan

Busy Bees Downed by Second Half Salvo – Capital One Cup Match Reflections

Here are my reflections on the Capital One cup 1st round game against Barnet at St Andrews:

1) A game of two halves

I hate clichés but this really was the archetypal game of two halves. In the first half Blues huffed and puffed about whilst Barnet looked decent on the ball. David Lucas looked like he was suffering stage fright, Will Packwood was isolated at right back and Curtis Davies had one of the shakiest 45 minutes I’ve seen him have in a blue shirt. Second half Blues stepped up two gears and started playing properly and Barnet had nothing left to give. As they tired further they just fell away and Blues properly imposed themselves, and ended up with a four goal winning margin that maybe flattered them somewhat.

2) Hayden Mullins

I know Mullins isn’t an exciting player but I was impressed with what he did. Although like most of the team he struggled to get into the game first half as Barnet crowded us out in midfield he was much more imposing in the second half and then when he was shuffled to right back he again looked solid, showing his versatility and his worth. It was a good debut from the former Pompey man and I think he will prove to be a shrewd signing.

3) Will Packwood

I thought Will did well bearing in mind it was his first team debut for any team (he’s not had a loan spell) and he was out of position at right back. Yes, he did get caught out once or twice and yes, he was part of the reason Blues were shaky first half BUT he did an okay job whilst some of the more experienced pros around him seemed to have lost their heads. I was a bit gutted for him that he went off injured in the second half and I hope it’s nothing major as I think he’s going to have a part to play this year – maybe only as a sub but his versatility and his improvement marks him out as one to watch for me.

4) The rest of the outfield debutants

There were six players debuting for Blues and writing something on each of them is going to make this piece a bit too long. However, I wanted to get down something about each of them, so here goes. Darren Ambrose looks a bit wasted on the left, but he showed the reason I was excited that Blues signed him when he just floated the third in from twenty yards or so. Sheer class – and hopefully the first of many. Ravel Morrison looks to be a very talented player and he was less impetuous today than Saturday – not all of his balls came off but he is looking for the kind of balls that unlock teams. Could be a potentially brilliant acquisition. Peter Lovenkrands looked a bit out of sorts to me – his studs weren’t long enough cos he kept falling over but he had one chance in the area at the death and he never looked like missing it. Clinical finishing is something else we need.

5) David Lucas

Brought in for Jack Butland who is on England duty, the third choice former Rochdale keeper looked very shaky first half, flapping at crosses and not commanding his area. Admittedly he wasn’t helped by his back line but he was saved twice by the post, twice by near-goalline clearances from Davies and Packwood and once by a defender desperate to get himself on the scoresheet ruining a goal with an un-needed touch from an offside position. Second half Lucas didn’t have so much to do – the one shot he was required to save he did so comfortably enough but he evidently needs more games.

In all the right result but maybe not the best ninety minute performance. Still, it’s good to see some clinical finishing and that the thirst for goals didn’t die off at the end.

The Match in Numbers

Number of debutants – 6 – Lucas, Packwood, Mullins, Ambrose, Morrison, Lovenkrands.
Number of first goals for the club – 3 – Caldwell, Ambrose, Lovenkrands
Number of games before Caldwell first scored for Blues – 53
Number of places seperating the two teams at the end of last season – 66
Number of seconds before the first “We don’t care about Carson” chant of the season – 77
Number of times the bloke behind me prematurely celebrated a goal for a shot going high/wide – 4
Number of different goalscorers I’ve already seen this season – 10 – Davies, Asante, Hancox, Zigic, Morrison, King, Caldwell, Ambrose, Lovenkrands, Elliott.

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17 Responses to “Busy Bees Downed by Second Half Salvo – Capital One Cup Match Reflections”

  • KeeprightDan says:

    I went down last night and was really pleased with the way Blues were patient when going forward. I can see plenty more goals from Ambrose flying in this season. The Barnet fans were excellent and ours, well, were a little subdued if I’m honest, bit of a strange atmosphere in the first half. My favourite chant ever came from the Barnet fans in the second half (directed at a Neanderthal sat a couple of rows behind me) – “tracksuit from Matalan, tracksuit from Matalan”, hilarious. Love your blog, first post from me, keep up the good work. I heard rumours of an Indian consortium buying blues last night. KRO

  • Spuddy says:

    I was really happy with that last night. Yes the 1st half was fairly poor, but the good news was that all of the obvious issues were ironed out by the gaffa at half time. More zip in our play & Burke started beating his man (almost every time he got the ball in the 2nd half).
    The bloke next to me seemed to hate King, cus everything he did he moaned at…. His face was a picture when the MoM was announced!
    Elliot did well when he came on, but Gomis has to really be a bit part backup. Ravel impressed me a lot, didn’t expect him to play in centre mid, but he’s suited there. Particularly liked his sliding tackle in the 1st half, showed a bit of determination in that…. Shame he followed it up with a petulant kick out at a Barnet player straight after.
    Hopefully this answers some of the clueless miserable fans who said Cark would play negative football. Only Barnet yes, but you could see he wants us to get the ball down & play. Very happy!

  • RichardM says:

    Loving your commitment to the cause!

  • RichardM says:

    Spot on with the comments regards last night’s game. Thought Barnet showed us up in the first half, and we were very fortunate to be level at half time (was that really a penalty??) Second half we did everything we didn’t do in the first half – i.e. close down Barnet, keep possesion well and physically compete with them. Agree with your comments about Ambrose and Lovenkrands, mostly invisible (apart from the goals) Clearly left wide is not the right position for Ambrose – although I suspect he will play there as there’s no one else to fill the role. Packwood the highlight for me, this kid looks like he’s got what it takes and will grow in stature with more game time. As for Lucas – he looked like a third choice keeper who’d just been released by a bottom tier club….ohh, hang on a sec!

    Glad it ended up 5-1 – we didn’t deserve it but it shut up those fould mouthed and surprisingly obnoxious little maggots in the away end – loved Marlon King’s “calm down, calm down” gesture to them after slotting home the penalty!

  • skareggae72 says:

    I read a lot of reports on Ambose when he first signed and the general feeling seemed to be that you dont get the best out of him out wide,and he prefers,and is much more effective playing behind a striker/strikers,so i hope he gets a chance in this prefered role.

  • AR says:

    I thought Marlon King was absolutely outstanding last night. He hardly put a foot wrong. Having seen Morrison in the first half against Antwerp, I thought here we have a player to unlock defenses. However since then I’m not so sure. Last night he rarely passed the ball forwards & never looked like the player in that first half against Antwerp. Mullins certainly looked as if he could be a steady right-back. Though I have always liked Ambrose, he is wasted on the left-wing. Redmond, for me would be a much better choice; more threat. I disagree about the ‘keeper; I thought the defense in front of him was weak first half and he did as much as he could in the circumstances. The attacking threat of both Barnet & Antwerp looked pretty good to me; dare I say it, but much better than Rooney.

    • RichardM says:

      Hi AR – no point blaming the defense, the guy couldn’t catch a cold all night, at least three Barnet chances were down to him failing to deal with crosses – pray that he’s not in goal Saturday.

  • Matt says:

    Where abouts were you sat? I counted about 4 premature celebrations too, and when I say premature the ball had hardly left the players boot/head.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Marlon King Quality , prefer to see Ambrose or Redmond playing off him .
    We now have an exciting nucleus of players who can hurt the opposition , so theres a lot of goals in us.

    Just some sloppy goalkeeping over the past few days, lets hope we have got that out of our system.

    Could Pablo could slot into right back if required ?

  • Tamuffblue says:

    all in all things going in right direction !!!!! couple of more signings just to beef up the squad for the riquours of a long season ahead – the lad from Norwich would be useful but not at the cost of Hughtonstealing one of ours on the cheap !!!!!!! KRO 1875 SOTV

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I’m not sure i agree with your comment about Packwood’s versatility. I thought he looked like a centre-half playing right back – he did OK given it was his debut but I think you need full-backs who can support and get beyond forwards and [in this case] offer Burke an option. Will didn’t do that last night and I thought Mullins did when he moved to RB – perhaps that’s why Burke improved too? To balance that comment a little, i thought the same about Ramage last year and I don’t think Packwood did any worse [allowing for his undoubted nerves]. I repeat he did well enough for his debut and I would hope he can come through to challenge for a CB spot.

    i thought Morrison did OK too but faded second-half; once we’d got the 3rd goal, i would have liked LC to bring Ambrose inside in place of Morrison and bring on Redmond on the left – just to see how that worked. It is early days yet but we appear to have some healthy competition for the more attacking CM role what with Fahey and Ambrose being good options there. I also agree with Spuddy’s comment about Elliot – hard to say if it was really easy for him as Barnet had by then caved-in but he looked very sharp and, aside from his goal, I think it was his quick pass to King that led to Lovenkrands goal – which was a lovely move.

    Whleheartedly endorse your views on Mullins – a good signing for us.

    Nice to see Davies back to his imperious best in the second half – he read most of the Barnet passes before the ball left the passer’s foot!!

  • Tom says:

    Second half was a big improvement for me last night. Thought the first half was all a bit long ball and it had me concerned over Clarkes tactics for the upcoming season. Was glad to see us get the ball down and play it. I noticed that there wasnt really anyone giving the short/inside option in the first half. There were a few times when I thought Morrison coud have come short and offered himself for a pass from Murphy and Mullins; hopefully that will come with time. Thought Gomis had a much better game when he came on last night as opposed to Saturday when his passing was in dissaray. Thought King was brilliant. Deserevedly MOM. Great touch and looking sharp, picking up where he left off last season and not at all rusty. Not 100% whether it was a penalty but haven’t seen the replays and he deserved a goal nonetheless. Im excited about the prospect of him and Lovenkrands who I think will be a tidy player foor us when he gets his fitness levels up. I agree that Mullins looked solid last night. I was impressed by him, I was expecting him to be a backup player but I think hes probably our stroongest CM in the squad having viewed last night and Saturdays performances. I think Burke could do with a few more games though. I was also a little dissapointed for Packwood getting injured; who was impressive on Saturday but looked like he struggled yesterday evening having to face a winger with a fair amount of pace in his arsenal. One thing that did disapoint me, was a large proportion of the fans sarcastic cheer when Lucas caught the ball post making several errors. He clearly wasn’t confident and having around 5000 people cheer sarcastically at one of your cathces probably isnt going to help matters. Besides that and a few sad scenes at the away gate, thought it was a game that showed promise. Im hoping that theres a bit more fire in our belly against Charlton and that they dont have too much success beating our offside trap which could do with tightening up. Clarkes post match interview is worth looking up aswell if you havent already: he explains how he and the team looked to address the issues in the first half, good to see the team coming together so well. Looking forward to see if Forza Blues can fuel up the atmosphere and spur us on to a comfortable win on Sat. KRO! In Clarke we trust!

  • bluenoserob says:

    just heard about Fab having to pack in football , a real shame , one of footballs few good guys.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Great result stats on BBC show we had 9 shots on target and scored 5 of them. That is 16 goals in 4 games but defensively we look poor. If we give better opposition the chances we gave Barney they’ll punish us.

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