Oh misery, misery

Adrian at the Carling Cup final at Wembley in 2011

PNE 2 – Blues 0

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Thirteen without a win. Blues got steadily worse as the game progressed at Deepdale.

Starting in the only formation that the players seem to understand at the moment, 4-4-2, the boy wonder came in for Bela to make it a touch more conservative than at home to Charlton in midweek.

And they started reasonably brightly, with Bellingham prominent in the early exchanges, although he should have had a penalty given against him in the 12th minute when he clearly caught a Hull player in the box. We got away with one, which always raises hopes that this is going to be your day. Of course, especially at the moment, that is balanced out by the fact that we’re Blues.

With Gardner close from a header from a Jude cross, up to the first drinks break, in pouring rain, things were at least even, with Blues, perhaps, just shading it.

It was definitely more even after the break, as Preston started to assert themselves with their controlled passing game, DVB Johnson always seeming to find dangerous positions between the rigid Blues’ lines. 

Johnson always plays well against us, but I don’t think that we’re the only ones as he’s a good player that the likes of Crowley could look to in becoming more effective and learning how to affect the game. This was another game where Crowley showed good things, then disappeared without having provided end product.

The first Preston goal came just before half-time, revealing another of Blues’ Achilles heels, the inability to defend the ball into the box. This time Bauer was allowed time and space due to non-existent marking to sweep the ball past a helpless Camp.

After a little spark after the half-time break, Gardner’s technically brilliant volley bringing a great save from Rudd, Preston gradually imposed a stranglehold on the game. Blues went into huffing and puffing mode, and never really got near Rudd’s goal again. 

Apart from the one glorious chance, the one that comes nearly every game, the one that Blues have consistently spurned all season. Dean six yards out, heads straight at Rudd when a yard either side of him and it’s a goal. To compound things, Jude then screws the rebound wide. That’s the point you think rather than it being our day, that the game is up and we’re not going to score if we’re here all day.

“The state we find ourselves in, ultimately, is the responsibility of the owners and their appointed executives”

Bela came on to little or no effect. And then what were we left with to change things from the bench? I don’t know if Jayden Reid and Caolin Boyd-Munce are going to be good players, but I do know now is not the time to find out. It just highlighted the paucity in thinking of letting Maghoma, Montero and Mrabti go. Chalk another one up to Dong and Speakman.

Another goal three minutes from time, only confirmed the defeat which had been looking likely for most of the second half.

The midfield was the strongest part of the team in this game. But they were pretty woeful at either end of the pitch. Jukey and Hogan not managing an attempt between them and the defence showing once again that they’re incapable of the performing the basics.

This isn’t going to come as a revelation, but on recent evidence, although they have been badly managed, the vast majority of these players just aren’t good enough, either in character or technique.

Chances are Blues will survive. In the final game of the season, we have to lose AND Luton have got to win AND Charlton have got to win AND Wigan have got to overturn their points deduction for us to go down, but, as Blues fans, you wouldn’t bet against it.

Whatever happens, there’s still something rotten in the state of Denmark, and the state we find ourselves in, ultimately, is the responsibility of the owners and their appointed executives.

PNE 2 – Blues 0

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