A freezing night and a paltry crowd summed up the so-called magic of the FA Cup on Tuesday evening. Leeds, in fairness, brought with them a decent following and it is not entirely out of the question that the bitterly cold weather resembles a typical summer’s day in Yorkshire.
Blues started the game a bit slowly but gradually grew in confidence and probably had the edge in what the Times would have described as a rather ‘undistinguished’ first half. Our goal was, however, a moment of quality with Nathan Redmond using his pace to set up Wade Elliott; a man slowly becoming a bit of a ‘Johnny on the spot’ by all accounts.
Many of our better moves involved the impressive Paul Caddis, but as the game wore on his forays became more sporadic; not helped by the midfield giving the ball away with Morgaro Gomis surprisingly a particular culprit. Paul Robinson on the other flank, whilst solid defensively, did not get forward much either; and it soon started to affect our fluidity in the second half.
Having said that the Leeds equaliser was started by a move where the ball was clearly out of play. Mind you, it was noticeable that in scoring their equaliser, the Leeds forwards were given the freedom of the park; a luxury not even afforded to our own attackers.
And, rather predictably, Leeds then took the lead following a handball which appeared to be outside of the box however the referee decided to overrule his linesman in awarding a spot kick; despite being 40 yards away. Doyle, who had generally performed competently all evening, had no chance with the penalty scored by the obnoxious El Hadji Diouf who sent the ball straight down the middle to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
Typically, it was only then that Blues woke up with both Lovenkrands (on for the unimpressive Morrison) and Zigic both being sent on as Clark’s last throw of the dice. And both were desperately unlucky, with the former having a volley superbly saved and the latter having equally impressive header cleared off the line.
One of the evenings only real bright sparks as far as Blues were concerned was an ever improving Burke, however all too often he was left incredibly isolated over on the right wing. In truth, Blues were a little laboured and too often looked like the struggling Championship team that they sadly are at present.
In fairness to Lee Clark, the side he selected was probably the same squad many fans would have selected with the limited resources available; ignoring the fact that talisman Nikola Zigic was left on the bench from the outset. Whether he is getting the best out of the potentially influential senior players, however, still remains questionable.
Food for thought
– Is Caldwell past his sell by date and is it time to play another youngster in the centre of defence?
– If we can only sign one player in the January transfer window, what position do you believe needs strengthening the most?
– Who is the most effective in the centre of midfield; Morgaro Gomis, Haydn Mullins or your mother?
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Vice Chairman, Blues Trust