IT was a bit of a disaster at Doncaster for Albion on Saturday: a 1-1 draw.
Manager Gus Poyet was philosophical about it. He didn’t blame the pitch (which was rubbish).
He didn’t blame the referee (who was rubbish).
He didn’t even blame his team (who weren’t very good).
He did say: “If we want to be in the top six, like everybody is saying we lost two points today.
“There wasn’t much football played, it wasn’t nice to watch.”
I said he didn’t blame the pitch (they play another game on it with a funny shaped ball) but he did say: the pitch: “made it ugly... if I want to pay to watch football I don’t want a pitch like that.
“They (Doncaster) couldn’t pass the ball either.”
I said he didn’t blame the ref (Geoff Eltrington) but he did say: “he didn’t see a lot of things… it’s embarrassing… one of the worst referees that we’ve had.”
Sounds like a little bit of blame to me.
So not a great result but to get it in perspective Doncaster, despite being bottom of the Championship, are not a bad side.
Since ex-Albion Dean Saunders took charge they have been a difficult team to beat at the Keepmoat Stadium.
A couple of wins could get them out of the relegation zone.
Actually Doncaster weren’t a bad side at the beginning of the season. They provided the first league opposition at the Amex way back in August.
We won that 2-1 in a fantastic match with an exciting climax.
Neither football nor entertainment was like that at the Keepmoat.
Both sides have changed. Only seven players began this game that started the Amex opener. Albion had four left from August: Gordon Greer, Liam Bridcutt, Craig Mackail-Smith and Ashley Barnes.
Lewis Dunk and Kazenga LuaLua didn’t even make the squad, while Craig Noone, Inigo Calderon and Casper Ankergren were substitutes.
These were automatic starters back in August. I don’t know what has happened to our Spanish international Vicente Rodriguez.
The performance was disappointing, particularly so after the fine win against Ipswich. Then we were talking about a new look Albion with a more direct approach. Statistics can be misleading and I’ve seen two sets.
One says Albion managed three shots in the match, with only one on target (presumably the CM-S goal?).
The other flatters, suggesting four shots with a princely two on target.
And we conceded 12 or 13 free-kicks. All in all not the best set of stats!
A win would have left us fourth equal with Blackpool. The one point keeps us seventh.
The good news is that Mackail-Smith scored again. On 20 minutes Bridcutt shot, miscuing badly so that the ball found the Albion striker on the six-yard box. He miscued too but was the first to react knocking home from close range.
We held on to that one goal advantage until the 79th minute. Rovers were pressing but not looking likely to score.
A long ball was pumped in and at least five players jumped.
here was a hand touching the ball, unfortunately with a blue and white sleeve under. Joe Mattock claimed he was pushed in the back as he jumped but Mr Eltrington gave the penalty.
El Hadji Diouf, not the most popular of players, slotted home to get Rovers the draw.
Best I finish on positives. Our Seagulls are unbeaten in the league this year – 10 games undefeated.
Now to the Wednesday evening game at the Amex, and our lovely flat pitch, for a six-pointer against Cardiff.
n WELL, we had the full range of emotions on Wednesday night against Cardiff City in this compelling 2-2 draw.
Calm, perhaps complacent – at the start at least, as our Seagulls stroked the ball about and kept possession, the Bluebirds posing no threat.
Frustrated also – as, despite the superiority we weren’t creating chances.
Anxious – as, after 45 minutes, we hadn’t scored.
Bewildered – as the team lacked passion.
Upset – Cardiff punishing us on 56 minutes when Joe Mason opened the scoring for the Welsh visitors.
Excited – finally, when Ashley Barnes volleyed a Craig Noone cross into the Cardiff net.
Annoyed – just two minutes later when our keeper punched a corner to Peter Whittingham on the edge of the box. He fired in a great goal.
Relieved – on 89 minutes when Sam Vokes snatched the late equalise.
Manager Gus Poyet deserves praise for the triple substitution made as soon as Cardiff scored the opener.
Will Buckley replaced Abdul Razak, Noone replaced Gai Assulin and Vokes came on for Craig Mackail-Smith.
But why didn’t we have a winger in the team from the start? Early on we clearly needed at least one wide man.
A climactic finish meant one point saved but not enough for a play-off position. Surely this will be rectified against a crisis-rideen Portsmouth at the Amex tomorrow (Saturday)?