Keep ball on the ground and we’re OK

PUBLISHED: 16:33 18 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 14 September 2010

Welcome as three points against Brighton were, and not forgetting the last-gasp equaliser at Hull, four points from the last six doesn't quite mask City's apparent shortcomings in the eyes of most fans, judging by comments I heard while leaving the ground, on various message boards and in the usual post-match radio phone-ins.

Welcome as three points against Brighton were, and not forgetting the last-gasp equaliser at Hull, four points from the last six doesn't quite mask City's apparent shortcomings in the eyes of most fans, judging by comments I heard while leaving the ground, on various message boards and in the usual post-match radio phone-ins.

Starting with the positives, I would say there were encouraging signs of us beginning to play the ball on the ground far more than we had witnessed during the derby game, hence we began to see our little Welsh wizard brought more into the play - and he did lay off the ball beautifully to the flanks at times.

OK, it was 1-0 and could have been 1-1 until Brighton's Hinshelwood was dumbfounded for the umpteenth time by Darren Huckerby's speed and trickery and saw red, then play opened up and we scored two late goals, leaving us with a somewhat flattering scoreline.

On the downside, however, there were still too many occasions when passes went astray and found men draped in claret - where were those rather nice blue and white stripes? The unavoidable fact is that most possession was lost in the middle of the park, and not for the first time this season.

At least once the ball made its way safely through the ranks of mobile beetroot, we seemed to have much more about us up front again.

One major topic of conversation during the latter stages of Tuesday night concerned whether trying Leon McKenzie and Rob Earnshaw together from the start might work wonders, and most agreed that providing we keep the ball on the ground that might be the way to go. Start trying to emulate Jonny Wilkinson and Charlie Hodgson and you can forget it!

It is unlikely anyone present failed to notice the "atmosphere" in the ground. From the off, the ground was eerily quiet.

But, like it or not, Roger Munby and the board have made it quite clear that despite meetings, banners, placards, incantations and the like, there will be no eviction from the dug-out until May at the earliest and, despite my own misgivings, I still maintain that now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions - remember Alan Pardew from last season to this? But I will defend anyone's right to say otherwise to the nth degree and await the rest of the season, and the close season, with much interest.

With East Anglia boasting a wealth of breweries and liquid refreshment to suit all palates I couldn't help but notice that the beer in Liverpool must be tasting more than a little foul of late . . . and that one player of the red persuasion has been imbibing just a tad too much bitter for his own good!

Following his sending off at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool goalkeeper José Reina stated that he hoped the Spanish giants would put eight goals past Chelsea in their Champions League tie! No bitterness there, then.

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