February 16, 2013 by Made In Brum
Blues 0 Watford 4.
Where to begin? Blues have played poorly, they have been taught a footballing lesson and have lacked invention. Gianfranco Zola’s Watford side are a very good footballing team, they knock it around well, they get in your faces and they stop you from playing. But Blues’ biggest problem this afternoon was giving the ball away. Morgaro Gomis, who I like and have a lot of time for, had a ‘mare. Everything he touched went to a yellow shirt.
With the controversial decision to publicly criticize Nikola Zigic and then leave him out is fine, do what you have to do as a manager. But why leave out a 6 foot 8 striker and still play long ball?? It is baffling stuff. For those who know me, you’ll know that I am completely 50/50 on Lee Clark. I think the bloke has had a very difficult job, circumstances haven’t helped with injuries and the adverse working conditions behind the scenes, but he doesn’t help himself. Today, Blues were giving the ball away and couldn’t feed the strikers, who worked tirelessly, the game was crying out for a Ravel Morrison or to a lesser extent, a Callum Reilly, someone to inject something… anything, into the middle of the park. But that change wasn’t forthcoming and the game fizzled out.
What did Blues do well? Not much. Jack Butland didn’t put a foot wrong… or a glove wrong, he made some great saves. Wes Thomas and Peter Lovenkrands battled and fed on scraps, Chris Burke was decent. But that was it. We are now firmly out of the play-off picture, if we were ever in it, and all that is left now is to stay up and secure our Championship status.
Ironically, Blues’best chance came just seconds before Watford broke the deadlock. Thomas chased a ball down the flank before cutting inside the area and firing inches over the bar. Watford duly went up the other end and took the lead through Brummie and Blues fan Troy Deeney.
A sign of how frustrated and fed up Blues fan are could be judged by the crowd, with tickets at ‘kids for a quid’ and adults £17-18, still only 18,933 turned up. That includes a 3,500 strong Watford contingent. And Zola’s men treated the travelling faithful to a near-perfect performance. Ikechi Anya, who is apparently Scottish, is the best full-back I have seen at St. Andrews this term. He passed the ball well, attacked and defended well and topped it all off with a goal (Watford’s second). In comparison to our two Paul’s, Robinson and Caddis who both looked suspect when defending, Anya was superb.
Blues lacked any real composure and carried little threat. Anyone that gets on the strikers backs after today has to watch the game back. How can an attacker do his job without the ball? Thomas, although he doesn’t look confident in front of goal was full of energy and determination, Lovenkrands was always available, but was rarely picked out unless it was in the air.
In the second half when we all expected an early Blues tirade of attacks, the Hornets passed it round like it was a training game. Seven, eight, nine passes, followed by one Blues pass, then the ball was Watford’s again. Too easy. Too predictable. Other than on guilt edged chance when Lovenkrands streched out a leg but couldn’t get a touch on Burke’s cross, the home fans had little hope or excitement to cling on to.
The belief remained on the terraces until Deeney scored their third, and possibly the easiest goal he will ever score after 62 minutes. After breaking up a Blues attack, the visitors attacked, and with Steven Caldwell backing off and doing his best to impersonate a lorry reversing, the ball was pulled back to Deeney who tapped it in.Game over.
The introduction of Nathan Redmond didn’t change anything. Rob Hall who was anonymous (and he needs to work on his dreadful corner kicks) was replaced by Redmond, who wasn’t much better. Mitch Hancox came on for Robinson, who picked up a knock.
Restoring pride was the order, Blues had one or two chances before Almen Abdi blasted home Watford’s fourth. From a neutral’s point of view (that’s what I am where Clark is concerned) I have been thinking about where he has gone wrong today. I won’t comment on the Zigic situation, because quite frankly, if the player hasn’t been pulling his weight, then Clark is well within his rights to leave him out. But the defence has been pulled apart on several occasions today and we lacked any sort of spark. But the biggest criticism I have of the manager today is his lack of ideas. At 3-0 down, twenty minutes to go, I like to see a boss shouting orders, encouraging the team, but Clark was sitting down with his head in his hands looking clueless, similar to the players…
Blues ratings- *BUTLAND 7. Caddis 5. Caldwell 5. Davies 6. Robinson 5. Burke 6. Elliott 6. Gomis 4. Hall 4. Thomas 5. Lovenkrands 5… SUBS USED- Redmond 5. Hancox 5.
Match report by Rob Wildey.