Two games in a space of a week meant that we had an opportunity to pick up some points and recover for a stuttering start. The squad is good enough to be challenging against the better sides, we know that, we just need to start proving it.
After Gary Caldwell decided to ignore me in the last game, he said that he couldn’t hear me which was an outstanding accusiation after I had said it directly to his face at half time, I decided to drop him. In came James Perch at right-back, shifting Emerson Boyce into the middle alongside Ivan Ramis.
I also decided to switch James McArthur and Ben Watson, allowing the Scot to dictate play in a slightly more advanced area. We could always switch round again but I wanted to see if both could affect the game more if they were reversed. So onto the game against Cardiff, a game that we could really do with winning but it’ll be a tall order against a strong side. I was pretty hopeful of getting at least a point, hopefully that could spark something.
So the first 15 minutes go off without too much incident, before the inevitable happens.
A goal from the opposite winger this time, Shaun Maloney manages to get himself on the score-sheet after bursting behind the defence and sliding it past David Marshall. A good start and we continue to be strong, a few good chances before half-time and we are certainly on top.
I tell the boys to keep going, try and grab another goal and we can see this one out which would be a great result. But of course, we don’t. We concede within 5 minutes, an easy cross is met at the front post by Kenwyne Jones and he nods it past Ali Al-Habsi. He should have claimed it, the defender should have done more, poor equaliser.
It gets worse, a pass goes through from their defence, Perch makes the most laboured attempt to get the ball, passed by Jones of all people, who then scores. As you can imagine, I’m pretty livid and Perch will not be playing for the rest of this game or in the forseeable future.
We were treading water, they were the better side in the second half and could have had three or four going into the final minutes. I bring on Don Cowie, ex-Cardiff man and then again, the inevitable.
Equaliser! Cowie is the scorer, I barely paid attention to how it went in, I was just glad it was in the back of the net with barely time for a reply. A 2-2 draw is acceptable for me, it’s a step in the right direction but we’d have a game at the weekend to pick up that elusive win.
It came round quickly and I made a few changes:
Perch, Al-Habsi and Oriol Riera out, Caldwell, Scott Carson and Grant Holt in. I needed some bigger changes, we have to try and avoid this from becoming a bad start, we need a win against Blackpool.
Kick-off and we are dominant from the off. We had the majority of the possession, majority of the chances but we just can’t score. In all honesty, we didn’t craft many clear chances but nevertheless, we should really be ahead.
I’m determined to win, pushing them ahead at the start of the second half, we come close a few times before disaster. A 20-yard effort from Andrea Orlandi sneaks into the bottom corner past Scott Carson, you could just see it coming.
We pile forward, trying everything to score. A dream chance lands at sub Riera’s feet, he tries to slide it into the goal but a superb stop from Joe Lewis prevents us from equalising and from then, you could just see it written in the stars.
A bad week, a bad start. Blackpool were incredibly lucky but looking at the league, they are doing pretty well and we certainly aren’t. I’m going to have to try something different next week, maybe even something drastic, to get the three points because we bloody well need it.