Well, the 5-2 mauling against Blackburn wasn’t the kind of birthday present I had hoped for. Disgusted, livid, cheated and annoyed are just some of the words I can use to describe the latest disappointment of a football match.
A game that started so well for the Reds AGAIN turned into a horror show because one poor decision by a referee changed the whole complexion of it and denied us supporters who paid good money – which I think we should have back – the chance to enjoy a decent spectacle.
Maybe I’m the curse, I don’t know. I mean, I have a season ticket for the first time in years this season and have attended every single game home and away so far and yet haven’t seen us win. All I know is that our luck and our performances need to improve dramatically to avoid more heartache.
There were several contributing factors to our downfall on Saturday. Dagger’s super strike set us up for an entertaining afternoon but then the man in black intervened by sending off arguably our best player up to that point when he claimed that Jean Yves M’Voto brought down Jordan Rhodes as the last man. What is especially frustrating and upsetting is that, Rhodes allegedly admitted to our gaffer later on that the ball was running away from him, and so he backed into M’Voto and flung himself to the floor.
For me something seriously needs to be done about the standard of officiating in the Football League because so many decisions can spoil matches and cost teams valuable points.
Anyway, that is my rant concerning matters of the hierarchy. However that wasn’t the only reason that the Reds went on to take a beating. Our playing staff and management must also take some amount of blame.
Our defending, by Flicker’s own admission, was farcical and desperately needs addressing. Also, in my opinion – and I am sure I will cause a debate when I say this – our captain Luke Steele needs dropping for at least a couple of matches. Not because he is a bad goalkeeper, but because he suffered an absolute nightmare at Ewood Park and to me was at fault for at least two of the goals. I just feel that Ben Alnwick hasn’t been given a fair crack at the whip, and think that if he comes in then he will gain more and more confidence and feel wanted. At the same time it will create competition for in between the sticks and prove that the No.1 jersey isn’t a formality.
Steele wasn’t helped by some catastrophic defending. Jim O’Brien at right back had probably his worst game in a Reds shirt which I will certainly forgive him for as he is not a full-back. Goldbourne who is usually consistent was also shocking on the other side. It was a bad day at the office but being at the game and discussing our misfortunes with a number of fans it was agreed that Flicker also did us no good whatsoever with his substitutions.
First of all when the sending off arrived and the equaliser went in from the resulting free-kick, someone should have been hauled off and replaced by McNulty, who was our only defender on the bench. At 1-1 we are still gaining a point and another six-foot plus centre half would have stemmed the flow a little. Mistake number 1. Instead though the gaffer waited until we were 2-1 down and then brought off our most influential and creative player in Mellis and sent on defensive-minded Perkins, which only invited Rovers onto us more. Mistake number 2.
Flicker said in his post-match interview that he couldn’t find any positives from the game, but even though I am the ultimate pessimist I must admit that I could. The other subs included new signing Pedersen, while Tomasz Cwyka brought some undeniable talent to the team. The Norwegian striker looks to be a class act in my opinion, always in the right places and his flick for Cywka’s goal was sublime. The Polish midfielder on the other hand, and I have been saying it from the start of the season, should start games. He is always busy, has skill in abundance and took his goal extremely well.
On reflection I thought the travelling Reds fans were outstanding all game and applauded the players off the pitch at full-time. To be fair too, most of the players who finished the game deserved it because they had a real go in the second half and kept the ball really well. Onwards and upwards then and let’s regroup for the visits of Premier League Southampton and our best buddies Huddersfield this week.