Saturday, 31 March 2012

Crunch Time

It’s been said before by many a Bluenose and I will reiterate it here for what won’t be the final time I’m sure: what a season it’s been so far. You can take away a lot from a football club. You can take away the money, you can take away the star players, you can even take away some of the fan base, who detach themselves from a club when they become uninterested.

But one thing you can never take away from the fans who remain, the players on the pitch or the manager in the dugout, is passion for the game, and pride for the shirt. This season we’ve seen some ultimately brilliant performances, some sensational goals and passing play and although we’ve hit bad patches, we must remember that every team goes through at least one rough spot a season.

But Blues seem to be getting over the bump in the road to promotion and if last night’s performance is anything to go by, it shows that we can win when the pressure is on us. It might not be perfect, but then it never has been.

A shaky start meant bottom of the league Doncaster found themselves in front, with Frederic Piquionne scoring past Boaz Myhill with just four minutes of the game gone. Not the be underestimated, the determined basement club went in search of a second, but this always leaves the defence open to a counter attack which Blues took full advantage of.

After waking up, the away side Blues began to threaten the Donny backline, with Marlon King hitting the bar before David Murphy equalised from the resulting corner, sending the travelling Blues fans wild and increasing the volume further from that section of the ground.

Taking control, the promotion pushers went in search for a second, and it looked to be coming when King was put through on goal. But taking one touch too many, the striker skipped past Carl Ikeme and looked to have been caught, falling down and claiming a penalty. Yet the referee had other ideas; and booked King for diving – much to the player’s disbelief.

Blues continued their slick attacking play after the break, with Nikola Zigic coming close to putting his side in the lead on more than one occasion but with Ikeme in the Rovers net in good form, it looked as if it would take something a little bit special to beat him for a second time; and when you want a moment of class, there’s no one more willing than Chris Burke to provide it for you.

Some quick interchanges between strike pairing Zigic and King fed the Scot the ball on the edge of the box and, cutting in from the right, he unleashed a perfect curling shot which slotted right past the stretching Ikeme.

Blues were hungry for a third, and with the 1,600 travelling Bluenoses in full voice the Doncaster resistance looked to have been well and truly broken, with Blues in complete ascendancy. Burke again tried his luck from range not once but twice and came close both times, and with the minutes to go Murphy’s delightful ball over the top to King saw the striker beat the offside trap and, with no Rovers player tracking his run, he went alone and sweetly struck the ball to slot past Ikeme for the third Blues goal of the night to wrap up all three points and send Blues into fourth place.

With one game in hand over the teams around them, Blues have their fate in their own hands as we enter the final games of the season. But I think we can all agree, whatever happens, we have surpassed all expectations set at the start of what we thought was going to be a season of transition, that has turned into a season filled with triumph. And it’s not over yet.


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