Often Partisan

A Win At Last For Lee Clark – Match Reflections v Peterborough United

Here are my reflections on the match between Blues and Peterborough United at St Andrews.

1) Finally, a win

It felt good to come away from St Andrews with three points in the bag for the first time this season. At times Blues huffed and puffed but on balance I think they were well worth the win – despite the goal coming from a mistake by their (ex-villa) keeper, Blues had three or four chances to put it to bed that they didn’t take and for periods they played some of the best football I’ve seen under Lee Clark.

2) The Line Up

I was worried about the lineup pre-match; Paul Caddis hadn’t played this season and there were five teenagers on the bench – one who hadn’t played at all for the club, one whose experience in the first team is about 2 minutes long, one who has made two appearances this season out of position and one who whilst being very highly rated still hasn’t made 10 appearances in a first team anywhere. For me it was two things – proof that the Blues squad is a little thin in some areas and secondly an acid test for Clark – how could he handle a situation whereby he’s struggling with injuries to the team. He did it right – went back to basics with a straight 4-4-2 and despite a little confusion when Morgaro Gomis came on the team by and large knew what they were doing.

3) Clean Sheet

Let’s not underestimate how important a clean sheet is either – sure,  Jack Butland didn’t have as much to do as maybe he could have, and yes, he was beaten all ends up by the shot that crashed off the bar but the important thing is he didn’t concede. He (as well as the defence) can build on that, take confidence from it. It’s the monkey off his back – his first clean sheet in a Blues shirt.

4) Paul Caddis

I will admit to not knowing a lot about Mr Caddis prior to his arrival in B9 but based on today, I think he could be a very useful acquisition. He didn’t look like a player without a first team game this season – he looked composed on the ball, he tackled excellently, got forwards in support of his winger and even had a crack on goal. He will make excellent backup/competition for Stephen Carr and means we’re not so reliant on our aging Irish captain.

5) The ref

I’m not one normally to complain about refs but today’s was a shocker. I will admit that at the time of writing I’ve seen the penalty appeal once, in real-time, from about 60 yards – ie I was in a worse position than the ref. However, I go by player reactions and judging by the howling complaints of the team we were denied a stonewall foul as a minimum. Hayden Mullins was still complaining at the ref in a break of play two minutes later – clearly it had rattled him. There was a series of niggly fouls that Peterborough seemed to get away with that incensed the team and the crowd and yet when Blues tried the same, the whistle was blown. Still, the ref had one positive point – his actions focussed the crowd’s frustration on him and allowed the fans to get behind the team more as they fought an unjust cause. In its own bizarre way, that helped.

Let’s not sugarcoat it, Blues weren’t massively brilliant – 6 and 7 out of 10 performances all around but it was an improvement on the way it has been. Peterborough were woeful at times and you’d think a settled Blues side would wallop them back to London Road with their tails between their legs. Still, a win is a win and we’re up and running. The season starts here.

The Match in Numbers

5 – the number of minutes I contemplated staying in the pub after learning the team news.
2 – the number of times I counted Marlon King being offside. A massive improvement.
3 – the number of players looking bewilderedly at Lee Clark when Morgaro Gomis was introduced. Never a good sign when players look at the manager as if to say “eh?” when a system is being explained.
4 – the number of good saves I saw Jack Butland make. He’s not had a lot to do this season at times and he earnt his clean sheet.
10 – the number of English pounds I lost in my bet on Peterborough to win. It’s been a long time since I’ve lost a tenner so happily.

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47 Responses to “A Win At Last For Lee Clark – Match Reflections v Peterborough United”

  • Bluenosejohn says:

    Looked a more balanced set up than at other times this season. Lee Clark now has the same record as Chris Hughton had after four league games last year! Currently still looks like being a long season though but at least something to build on going into a two week break and we do have one more player in the England squad than the Vile!

  • As usual, pretty much spot on. Getting back to basics, was more important than the performance. The clean sheet, will do far more for the team, than many people realise. Butland and the defence needed that. It’s something for us to build on. I sense the team will have a greater confidence now.

    Caddis was the definite standout for me, too. He certainly seemed to have Burke getting back to his best as well. I think Ibanez deserves some praise too, as I think that was somewhere close to his best performance for us. He was unbelievably committed and seemed to be enjoying his time out on the pitch.

    As has been mentioned, not pretty, but that didn’t matter. We did what we had to do.

  • tc says:

    Nice to get the points but even against a very poor side we gave them far to many chances.Caddis played well and Burke had his best game which is no coincidense i think.Reading the opposition fan sites they seem gutted to have lost to a team that looks worse than they are…

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    Finally, Clark changed the line-up and I hope Curtis Davies and Darren Ambrose will take it in the right way, train harder and come back to show their true talents. Zigic perhaps needed a rest after all uncertainty about the move to Spain. With these three back on track we have a stronger side and we should start climbing up the table.

  • Blue Steve says:

    I think part of the reason we won was because Darren Ambrose was injured. In this division you need 2 solid central midfield players. We had that yesterday. Though in the future I’d like to see Spector and Fahey. I’m not sure where you accomodate Ambrose. He has tried him down the left in the centre and in a 3 none of which I have worked. I remember Almajir alluded to it when he signed and got some feedback from Palace fans. If he does not fit into the formation leave him on the bench. Rant over good to get off the mark yesterday. KRO

  • nicky wicky says:

    Ambrose likes to play a free role so maybe they could play him off the front one or two?

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Think you’ve talked us up a bit today Dan. Better yes but still lots of chances for a poor Posh side and we needed an OG to win it.

    Agree though that a wins a win and a loss by the filth at Newcastle will cheer us all up going into the Forest game. Let’s hope we use the upcoming break to reflect on our start then come out firing at the City Ground. I’ll be there and hope to see a better all round performance with fewer chances for the opposition.

    No place on the bench again for Ziggy….

    • almajir says:

      Paul

      Ziggy was injured. However, he was watching the game in the main stand.

      By the way, you didn’t respond re Cov. Ziggy was most definitely there, and most definitely on the bench.

      • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

        I did

        He definitely wasn’t, I was sat behind the bench

        When did Zig pick up this injury then cos if as you are (wrongly) saying he was on the bench at Cov it must have happened Weds/Thurs/Fri or Sat morning. Where was he sitting?

        • almajir says:

          Paul

          All I can say is you need new glasses.

          Ziggy at Cov

          I’ve helpfully ringed him for you from footage of the game.

          As I said, he was injured. You know, players can pick up injuries in training, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

          He was sat in the main stand somewhere – not entirely sure where, as I saw him entering it from outside.

  • Sirharry1875 says:

    You had a tenner on us to lose!!!!! Can’t believe you were prepared to pick up winnings on the back of a Blues defeat! Maybe it’s just me but I could never back us to lose. It’s perverted!

    • Oby says:

      Im with you Sir Harry, i have never placed a bet on Blues to lose Ever !!

      • NooBloo says:

        I agree as well. You never bet on your team to lose. i dont think for a minute you were being dis-loyal but you need a slap on the legs and told not to do it again. There are plenty of other games to bet on

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Lets be totally honest this was a very poor posh team that will be relegated & we were not much better.

    Lack pace in every dept . Defence still appalling uncertain , & better teams will not so generously offer us a clean sheet in the future.

    Darren Ferguson summed it up….

    “I wasn’t that happy with the first-half. We played at Birmingham’s tempo which was too slow for us, but it seemed like it was a real nervous place today.

    “The players were nervous and so were the crowd. I’ve been here when it’s been rocking and they really get behind their team, but it was tense for this game.

    “We were much the better team after the break. We speeded the game up and we caused them no end of problems.

  • Julian Glass says:

    Nothing I saw suggested are anything other than turning into a League 1 team although Caddis was a breath of fresh air.

  • coldfield says:

    Good summary of the game except one important context setter – we were playing the worst out of form team in the league – 4 games and nil points and they deserved a draw imo.

    P’Boro created plenty of chances particularly dangerous crosses (but no one on the end of them to count as off or on target efforts in the game stats), they hit the crossbar and were 1 on 1 with butland a few times in the 2nd half. They also made it look easy to pass it through our defence in the last 20 mins.

    3 points is what we needed today – more important than the performance but against a mid-table side we would have been beaten. Let’s be positive but there’s still a long way to go and someone needs to teach butland how to handle crosses.

  • Art Watson says:

    Pleased to see a a win but still have major concerns about LC.

    I understand less than 15,000 watched the game!!

    Hmmmm!

  • Leigh says:

    Well, was that a ‘Brucie Bonus’ remembering Sone Aluko, and out of contract too…..could we have afforded a goal scorer at that price?

  • Smash the vile says:

    Morning all,

    I am a Newcastle supporter and it was nice to see Clarkie get his first home win yesterday. Hopefully we can do you a favour and whallop the villa today.

    The reason I am on here is because Newcastle are in the same group as Brugges this season and I know you beat them over there last season. Watched some of the youtube videos and the support looked tremendous.

    I wanted to know what the best (cheapest) methods to get over to Belgium?

    Cheers.

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

      We did the ferry mate to Ostend as its only 10 miles from Brugge.

      Cheap as chips too,

      You’re in for a treat over there. Do you think you’ll beat our 15K? Good luck against the filth.

    • almajir says:

      Hiya.

      I can only speak for myself but I was in a party of four that drove over there via Folkestone and the Channel Tunnel – didn’t take long and was fairly cheap.

      I’m guessing it’s a lot further for you guys but are there not ferries from your neck of the woods to Holland? That might be your best bet.

      Anyway, enjoy yourselves – the beer is amazing, the chips are great, the stadium is a bit basic but all in all it’s a really good trip.

    • chris says:

      i would say fly if you can or ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam or Hull to Rotterdam or Zeebrugge.
      We used the tunnel £50 by car, really easy & only 30 minutes, though eurostar (passenger train) maybe your best bet having to go a lot further than we did.
      Bruge really good place, watch film ‘In Bruges (2008) ‘, loads of bar’s to see game if you don’t have a ticket which about 4000 of us didn’t.
      Loads of history inc WW1 e.g. Menin Gate.
      If you drive through France, don’t forget you’ll need a breathalyser kit.
      Enjoy, we did. More clubs deserve to enjoy what we experienced maybe with a team entering for making the biggest profit or lowest wages to turnover ratio from the prem.

  • sheldonman says:

    I agree that the positives were the win, a clean sheet, less clangers from Butland and having a proper right back. Like you, I thought the line up was a worry, with a midfield of Mullins, Spector and Elliott – no pace or guile. As usual King was a frustration although he wasn’t too bad before he tired, still not sure why he plays every minute of every game though- is he blackmailing someone at the club?

  • Paulo says:

    All in all, to me it was a lucky 3 points. It was good to see better football being played and frustrating to the point of almost ripping out my eyeballs ..all those chances that we had to score! I’m sure now that LC can hopefully see a formation to build on, and hopefully look at certain players and expect more, so we can achieve more.
    We weren’t really the better side, although I think it was a pretty even, and P’boro did give us plenty to worry about (at times almost convince me we were going to draw, or even lose), but the scores on the doors are what counts, and we had similar matches and results under CH. When they broke they were good, but we did have some good defence going on, and I mean good. Caddis seemed to give a kick up the arse to Caldwell and Ibanez, but to be honest I was happy seeing the back four pull a proper shift and be happy for once (and help Butland throughout). For us, it was a good match, the best we’ve seen I think so far, the result was scrappy and lucky, and LC did seem more confident, and I do think him ditching his suit showed it. As for the ref ..useless, along with his lino’s.

    One funny observation …when LC was getting that carried away his chewing gum fell out when he was shouting (and doing his ‘chicken laying an ostrich egg’ impression – to quote a previous comment on here ha ha), ..he only bent down, picked it up and carried on as normal ……..pure class.

  • wheresmecell says:

    Burke was more involved in most of Blues’ better moments . Caddis deserved his MOTM , however Spector played some of his best football for us last season at right back , and this probably tells us more about the problem we have in midfield . I personally would have taken a loss or a draw if the performance had been more promising ( obviously Im delighted we won ) but I can’t help thinking that we’re in for a long , hard slog this season . We do not look a settled team , I hope the win works miracles for us , but its going to take a lot more than a flukey goal against a ‘poor’ team ( who played better than us ) to ensure our Championship survival , let alone a play off place or better , this campaign

  • skareggae72 says:

    Great to see Caddis slotting in so well and 3 viltal points to get us out of the drop zone.
    Not sure what happened with Caddis at Swindon,captain and player of season,but sent out on loan,anyway,their loss is our gain.
    Stick with the lucky tracksuit LC.

  • AR says:

    Glad to see near the end that Butland came out for two crosses. Prior to that he had done what he usually does & stayed on his line. However he made a few decent saves & his speciality seems to be coming out quickly for one on ones. Let’s hope he can now concentrate on coming out for crosses & thus helping out the defence.

  • Tonytiler says:

    Much better performance. If Clarke plays the players in there correct positions. It’s up to the players to perform. I think we still looked a little slow in the centre of the park. But with the 2 week break upon us it will help in getting the injured players fit.

  • chris says:

    Hpoefully we can get another couple of loans in through the next month or two, maybe Townsend, whoever we bring in let’s hope they have some pace.

  • It’s probably worth mentioning that, due to the nature of their play, Posh actually appear to create a few chances, against everyone they play. Their problem is defending and with better finishing, we could have had a few more.

    It wasn’t pretty and there is obviously a lot to improve on, but this win could work wonders for the squad.

    To me, the whole thing is fairly reminiscent, of our game at Pride park under Bruce a few years back. We had been playing poorly, not getting results, Bruce was on the brink of being sacked, then suddenly, a lucky deflected Clemence goal, in a scrappy game and we come away with a 0-1 win. The confidence we gained from that, made a big difference, to how we continued the season. Lets hope this gives us the same shot in the arm, we had then.

    • RichardM says:

      Remember Reading’s 1-0 win over us at the Madjweski last season in November. It ended our unbeaten run, was thoroughly undeserved – and yet – was the catalyst for the rest of Reading’s season. I think they only lost twice in the remainder, and romped home as champions (though we “did ’em” good and proper back at St Andrews!)

  • andy says:

    Peterborough are by far the worst team in the division and at times Blues ran a pretty close second to them. It wasnt a bad performance by Blues in the first half but it wasnt such a clever second half and we were lucky not to get punished. A vital win all the same but Lee Clark has a lot of work to do on this team.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    The midfield is the problem and more specifically Mullins. I hate to single out single players but he has no pace, can’t tackle, can’t pass and quite frankly should be taken out of our team and flushed down the toilet. Spector is a bit lightweight in midfield but at least puts a shift in and got some tackles in. I’d like to see Packwood and Ravel in the middle with Nate behind King and Shabba on the left wing.

    Also what on earth is going on with our passing it was hopeless. The opposition can’t hurt u if they can’t get the ball off you. Lee Clark needs to seriously work on our passing/retention it was like watching a pub team.


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