Just like it’s hard to be negative after witnessing some of our brilliant performances this season, it’s hard to be positive when you’ve seen something so lacklustre in one of our most important games so far this season.
But I’m going to try and be positive.
You can’t escape the fact that we were poor last night, but take nothing away from Blackpool who deserved their victory and could of – should of rather – scored two or three more. And that’s one of the positives we can take into the second leg; Blackpool only have a slender one goal lead, which manager Ian Holloway has commented upon stating that he hopes they don’t rue the day they missed their chances.
So Blues can count themselves lucky it was only one. In truth, we never really got started. Jordon Mutch had a terrible game, Guirane N’Daw stood stock still in the middle of the park for most of the game, only moving to put in half-hearted tackles, and Peter Ramage is the only player to come out the game with some credit, especially for his terrific block early in the second half to deny Blackpool their second goal of the game, which looked to be going in until Ramage flung himself in front of the ball.
Our midfield was missing. Completely. Chris Burke never really got on the ball, so the lone striker Marlon King didn’t get the service he had been hoping for – yet whenever he did, he failed to stay onside, and the one time he beat the trap he managed to hit the post when it seemed easier to score. Tom Ince, man of the match and deservedly so, ran us ragged all game; and his deflected goal, although extremely cruel, was nothing more than he, and the rest of his team, deserved throughout the ninety minutes.
The overriding positive I suppose is that we cannot play any worse than we did last night in the second leg. Surely it is impossible and the fact that Blackpool only have a one nil lead – despite having the ball in the back of the net another three or four times – is a huge advantage for Blues and shows just how important being at home in the second leg may prove.
We all know what can happen when St. Andrew’s is packed and everyone get behind the team. If 2,000 fans can create that kind of noise last night, what can St. Andrew’s create on Wednesday? Let’s make another memorable atmosphere and another memorable night. Think the late victory over Villa in the Carling Cup; think Nacional in the Europa League; think the second leg against West Ham last season, where we needed one goal to get back on level terms.
It’s only half time…