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Andy’s Blues Blog

A FITTING FINALE?

28-09-2009

The final game of the Sullivan/Brady era at St Andrews was something of an anti climax, with a crowd in excess of 28,000 witnessing a 2-1 defeat against Bolton. Andy Munro witnesses the departure of the feelgood factor.

When Sully decided that he would have a low key presence for his farewell match, for once, his judgement was spot on as it was a case of Bluenoses coming to bury Sully not to praise him.

It was perhaps fitting that the match was almost a full house showing that cheap ticket prices do work and we also then lost narrowly due to a lack of adventure – both major issues during the Sully era. It was also interesting to note that Karen was too busy with ‘Apprentice’ to attend – if that’s the pinnacle of her media career then she’d be better off modelling for the Sunday Sport.

Anyway, the game was played out in bright sunshine and with this added to the feelgood factor of a full house, the stage was set for a perfect afternoon. However as all Bluenoses know, a proverbial kick in the teeth is never far away.

Alex (Braveheart???) McLeish decided to drop last week’s goalscorer Gary O’Connor and play with just one up front – the talented Benitez at 5’ 6” against the towering Zak Knight and Gary Cahill.

Incidentally Cahill, who had an excellent game, is apparently being touted as a £20 million signing for Spurz in the January transfer window.This would make a possible £15 million profit for Bolton – a profit that could have been ours if we hadn’t messed around in trying to sign him last season.

With five in our midfield, we actually played some excellent possession football without causing any real threat – even worse this patient intricacy meant the Bolton defence were well prepared for any ball forward to the heavily marked Benitez. One up front only works, of course, with a deep lying forward in constant support or with two quick wingers and we had neither weapon in our opening armoury.

Predictably, the first chance Bolton got from a dubious throw in was their opening goal following a Kevin Davies flick on. For the following hour, we then huffed and puffed and although we hit the bar and the Bolton keeper pulled off one superlative save from a deflection, we never really looked like scoring.

Eventually McLeish responded to the chanting of the crowd and brought on Gary O’Connor quickly followed by SuperKev.The latter quickly scored a great goal following a run across the box only for Blues to be undone a matter of minutes later - a lack of reaction and concentration allowing Bolton to net the winner from a goalmouth melee.

Undoubtedly we deserved to draw if not win. However Blues need to play two up front to fulfil the undoubted potential of Benitez who ran his socks off without any real support.

If Alex is worried about the opposition playing five in midfield and swamping us then I suggest that he moves one of the back four into midfield to balance things up. What’s the point of a back four marking one attacker because it’s a waste of resources.

Mind you what do I know…I’ve only managed football teams for 30 years!

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Andy Munro would like to point out that 'my views are personal and not those of the City Council'

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