FairweatherFan

Millwall 0-2 Blackpool

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Well, that was a bit of a damp squib, to say the least. All the build up, the comings and goings and then on a blisteringly hot August Saturday we start the season with an inglorious home defeat to the Tangerine dream that is Blackpool.

Did we underperform? Were they streets ahead of us? Did Jackett get it wrong with team selection?

I don’t know the answers to the above but I can form opinions like everyone else but you are not swayed by my missives, you, as usual, will have your own thoughts on why we started this season in more or less the same vein as last season.

Some good football, some close chances, no reward and then the opponents score and we go into fall out mode.

Blackpool may, or may not be, the team to beat this season, time will tell us that but it is fair to say that Peterborough who we face away on Tuesday, are expected to be relegation fodder, so an early warning notice will be served if we fail to get anything from that game.

Back to the Blackpool game and in particular, their supporters, who, are at best, tolerable, mainly due to their inadequate numbers ( a measly 750 odd bothering to make the trip down to London). They have delusions of grandeur that may well be worthy this time round but they have an unerring capacity to stoke the fires of Northernism to the Nth degree and therefore automatically grate the nerves of even the most placid of ordinary supporter.

They have Ian Holloway as their manager as well which can or can’t be seen as a good thing depending on what his idiotic ramblings are pertaining to, dressed like a he was getting ready for a game of snooker, he looked as about convincing as a football manager as Sean Bean was as a transvestite.

Kenny Jackett was in slacks and shirt so we can forgive him that small discrepancy had picked a team that raised a few eye brows and drew sharp intakes of breath all around the Den : M.Taylor, Smith, Lowry, Shittu, Ward, Wright, Malone, Trotter, Henry, Henderson and Keogh,

Before the kick off we had the uplifting sight of Nicole Kitchener and some hardy cyclists finishing their journey to raise money for The Barry Kitchener appeal and to witness the inauguration of the Barry Kitchener Stand and then just before referee Langford got us going we saw Danny Shittu drop to his knees in some sort of genuflection before clambering up again like a wounded wildebeest, what that was all about I’ll leave you to decide...

We started well enough; no first day nerves etc and we looked the better of the two sides for long periods and the two best chances of the first 25 minutes or so should really have seen us 2 -0 to the good. First up was Shittu getting his head to a fine far post delivery from James Henry with barely five minutes on the clock but his header was blocked on the line and cleared to safety but the better chance fell to Keogh after a lovely little through ball from Trotter on the twenty minute mark but with just Gilks to beat but he the ball hit to straight and it cannoned off the shins of the bemused ‘keeper who knew precious little about it.

Wright hit a tasty looking volley that went just the wrong side of the post but was in fairness, always missing the target so we had much to be happy about...

And of course, it probably says so in the scriptures that if Millwall squander two good chances then the opponents will get one half decent chance and bury it. And so it came to pass that Tom Ince, used all his twisting and intricate ball play dance around the colossus of Bermondsey that is Shittu on the left side of our area and scuff a shot that found its way into the back of the net for the opening goal of the game.

SSDS. (Same Shit, Different Season)

We actually could have conceded earlier but Taylor pulled off a magnificent save from evergreen striker Phillips but up until Ince’s goal, we didn’t look like we were in any danger of conceding.

The rest of the half was played out like some vaudeville slap stick show, our collective confidence dissipating quicker than the cold drinks from the new refreshment kiosks. The half ending with a subdued round of applause and, it has to said for the record, some booing.

Internet warriors we encountered today were as follows: The Ubiquitous Herman Boring, Gavin Mac, Nunhead ‘Wall, East London Lion and Cub, NickB and Jack, Skylark, Egg & Chips and Siggles.

The sun beat down relentlessly as the second half got under way and the first casualty of the heat was unsurprisingly the behemoth at the back, Danny Shittu. He was replaced by Alan Dunne

We again started brightly enough; the first half set back long forgotten and we played some decent football. Keogh was a fag paper away from getting on the end of another telling Henry cross and then Henderson joined in with a run at goal that saw him thwarted at the last.

We were holding our own and looking comfortable but then Smith took a knock and went off injured around the hour mark. Strangely though, Jackett replaced him with Feeney which upset the balance of the side a bit and lo and behold, as if by magic, a few seconds after the change we got caught out at the back by a well timed run from Ince who showed he was a far superior player than his old man ever hoped to be by smashing the ball high and wide of Taylors out stretched dive and into the top corner. 0-2 and that was virtually game over for the Lions.

We had a few chances to reduce the deficit, a shot from Wright smashed into the side netting and yet another beautiful cross by Henry was missed by at least three Millwall players summed up the afternoon nicely. A final header by Henderson that plopped onto the roof of the net dotted the “i” and crossed the “t” .Almost, nearly but not quite.

So not an auspicious start to the 2012 -2013 campaign but not quite wrist slitting mode just yet?

I for one am still not sure why Jackett sat on his hands at 0-2 and didn’t throw on Batt just to mix it up a bit but time will tell and I still believe that the table isn’t worth looking at in any real depth until after about ten games so let the Tangerines have the day out in sunny South London with smiles on their dials as they head back to North West

"How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!" - (Act V, Scene II . As you like it).
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