A lot of positives from the Derby clash, but one glaring worry
I`m a relatively happy Wanderer.
Oh course, I shouldn`t be. I should have the face of a French mime artist who`s just realised his Citroen Dolly is on bricks.
Tuesday`s game against Derby, however, had me smiling. At 7:11pm, I discovered my wish for the last 32 months had been finally granted. Zat Knight would play no part of the starting team set-up. By the final whistle, the smile still etched on my face, Zat Knight would play no part in the contest at all.
In Knight`s absence, the aforementioned ‘contest` was just that? a contest. It was an even-field between a basement dwelling outfit, devoid of any positives or morale, against a team crammed with confidence; undefeated away from home in the league, garnished with a +8 goal difference for their travels.
On the night, it was impossible to distinguish between the two.
Yes, we conceded 2 goals. But they were goals where no blame could be apportioned to one individual. You could say, if he was there, or, he should have done this, or, if he hadn`t done that, but there was no clanger committed? No Knight-mare. The first goal was a beautiful sweeping move and the second was very fortuitous. The second summed up our luck up perfectly. I`m not saying the defence has been sorted with one swoop, but it was definitely an improvement.
The second reason for my smile was the Staffordshire Bull-Terrier in midfield, barking his orders and wagging his tale throughout. Our new captain (please, God let it be so) Jay Spearing didn`t seem to have any hand in making our two goals, nor did he seem to have any influence on preventing dispense. But Spearing`s animation and marshalling was definitely a big factor in preventing home-player-heads from dropping after the second goal was conceded. A point gained, in other words? a captain`s point.
The second half compared to the first was a letdown. But from an on-looking fan`s perspective, it was satisfying. There was no way Spearing was going to let us lose that game after half-time and I believed him. Not being Steven Gerard, however, he couldn`t win it for us. That`s just not who he is. Not yet, anyway. No, we needed someone to step up to the plate. This leads me to the only downer of the night? Our ‘strikers` firing blanks.
Spearing`s motivation and determination was definitely filtering through the team. Ream looked like a man possessed, Mills and Wheater suddenly looked comfortable and our performance as a whole warranted a winner from somewhere. But as comfortable as Spearing and the team made me feel that the game would not be lost, no player convinced me a winner was on the cards.
Not only does Beckford look devoid of goals, he now looks to be running away from responsibility. What a mess we find ourselves in. Marvin Sordell is in London; David Ngog can`t hit the side of the Reebok from the Lofthouse statue and Craig Davies? Where the hell is Craig Davies? Does anyone care?
Which leaves Tom Eaves. Oh, wait a minute, what`s this I`m reading about Eaves?
I hope Dougie has something in mind or up his sleeve because without a front-man who can bother the goalkeeper to pick the ball out of the net, drawing games will be the most we can expect.
We all know where that will send us?