Millwall 1-2 Blackburn ~ Match Musings
by, 25-04-2013 at 07:36 PM (5142 Views)
Writing this drivel is not getting any easier for me as this long and laborious season refuses to lie down and die a death with a modicum of decency. The bastard Gods of football keep giving me the middle finger of fickleness as I try and glean some sort of beneficial goodness out of the God-awful state of affairs which is laughingly labelled as our “home form”.
It was bad enough getting a tonking up at Huddersfield at the week end,( in truth, not many of us saw that coming) but with a home tie against piss poor opposition who we have already bested this season on the cards, it seemed like the ideal tonic to claim the required margin of points that would finally stave off the threat of relegation.
It goes without saying now that the crowd was edging towards and actually made it to our lowest home league gate of this season with Blackburn bringing about 200 fans we scraped together an attendance of 8,607.
Being St George’s day Millwall arranged for self-styled forces sweetheart Kas to come along and sing some very hit and miss songs before the game (and at half time) to try and liven things up but it all smacked of some sort of desperate attempt to try and instil some much needed belief in not just the football side of things but all things Millwall. It wasn’t too bad but it just seemed a bit desperate at times.
We also had, in my opinion, a strange decision to have a minute’s applause for the poor people of Boston caught up in the recent atrocity at the marathon. This need to be a minutes silence for reflection and respect for the dead and the injured, I couldn’t see what the applause was for? Maybe it was just me but it seemed wholly inappropriate.
Mr Jackett was pack shuffling again after the Huddersfield debacle and the team he chose lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Forde in goal, Dunne, Shittu, Osborne and Beevers at the back, Henry, Abdou, Smith J and Feeney in the midfield with Easter and Hulse up front.
In the balmy evening sun, referee Ward got the game going and we started off quite briskly, the formation seemed to be working fine, the play was all going towards the Blackburn goal and we forced a fair few corners, Feeney in particular looking like he was getting back to his paciest best, causing a few worries for the Blackburn rear-guard and we threatened their goal on a couple opf occasions, one effort from Jack Smith had visiting ‘keeper Sandomierski scrabbling across the goal and soon after James Henry had a pop that didn’t really threaten at all but it was all good positive stuff and we were clearly in charge of matters.
The pressure had to reap some reward this time for the lions and it came just before the fifteen minute mark when Henry floated over a cross and Beevers recued it at the far post and although the ball was sort of blocked it fell kindly for Osborne who hooked it straight into the net. 1-0! Brilliant stuff.
All we had to do now was to build on the lead and the amount of resistance from the visitors was almost non-existent. Henry took another free kick and this one almost caught out the over worked Sandomierski but the Blackburn stopper pulled off an impressive save, tipping the ball over the bar for yet another Millwall corner.
It was Sandomierski who again came to the rescue of Rovers as he saved well from a deflected Feeney effort and when Hulse finally managed to win a header it was a tame effort that missed the target.
The home fans were onto Hulse though, his lethargic approach seemingly at odds with the rest of the teams work ethic, he seem disinterested and almost a spectator at times as the game went around him. He will learn very quickly that your average Millwall fan is not into analysing and dissecting passages of play to look for tinges and nuances of a players contribution. They want endeavour, a kick bollock and bite attitude, chasers of lost causes and a no nonsense approach and on this occasion I fear Rob Hulse has crossed the Rubicon with Millwall fans, there is surely no way back for him. The derisory cheers that spontaneously erupted when he finally won a header was pretty damning and he failed to improve.
The only things of note I can recall from Rovers during the first half was an overweight Dunn bundling forward and unleashing a comical effort that smacked of desperation and then Forde making a very good save from a Rovers shot in the final seconds on added time.
We were clearly the better side and at half time it seemed the points would be in the bag and our season would effectively be at an end.
Whatever the Blackburn team was, I hope we had recorded it for future use as they came out in a completely different mode. Suddenly we looked vulnerable, exposed and in danger of fucking things up.
The mistakes crept in, the panic button had fingers twitching and hovering over it and although we could sense it and see it, the management stood firm and went for the ostrich approach.
The equaliser came from a mistake which should not really have surprised us. A poorly hit corner saw Hulse duck and the ball hit Henry and flew past Forde. 1-1 and now the finger was pressing firmly on not just the panic button but the oh my fucking good God, here we go again button.
Forde was now the busier of the two ‘keepers and he made a very good save from the ageing Dunn and soon after the biggest cheer of the night rang out as Mr Jackett finally saw sense and hauled off Hulse who responded by petulantly storming down the tunnel as the catcalls and jeers were ringing in his expensive lugholes.
But, it was a double substitution that almost got missed because of the Hulse thing. Mr Jackett swapped Hulse for Batt but he also took off our other striker, Easter and sent on Wright so we went to a 4-5-1 let’s try and salvage a point type of formation.
Feeney went off next, looking like he had picked up a knock and Keogh came on to replace him so we went even more into defensive mode.
Rovers sensed the mood adequately enough and kept on the attack with no real answers coming back from the limp Lions, they had the freedom of the Den and with ten minutes to go we watched in abject misery as their lump of a centre half Hanley, collected the ball from his own half and went on a run as our midfield watched and our defence just tracked him.
The big galoot made it into our box and was clearly knackered and he just sort of run out of steam and fell over but to our horror the idiot ref pointed to the spot for a penalty. The players were apoplectic with rage but the pedantic ref refused to be swayed, not even bothering to consult his lino who must have seen it very clearly. Forde got booked for protesting as did Shittu and I am surprised no one else did as it was a truly awful decision.
Rhodes made no mistake from the spot and low and behold we were once again losing at home. It was an all too familiar feeling and one that is hard to accept. How we went from a dominant first half performance to a team looking like relegation fodder is anybody’s guess.
We were more or less buggered by now and there wasn’t a single Millwall fan who really expected any fight back, it was a pretty useless attempt at trying to salvage a point and even with Forde manfully striding up to help out with corners, we were never likely to equalise.
It is a fundamental thing in football to win your home games or even just not lose them, but this season we seem to have just capitulated whenever the chance has presented itself.
Twenty one home games under our belts and only eight measly wins. It is no fun at all, is it, watching your team get beat but it rankles even more on your home turf. We are displaying all the hallmarks of a relegation scrapping team and I am not a betting man but if pushed I would wager that we wont go down simply because the teams below fuck things up.
I sincerely hope I am way off beam but I can’t see us winning any more games this season. I am dreaded the visit of the stripey ones, I really am. They are insufferable at the best of times and looking at how we are playing, I really do fear the worse.
I am not saying it is all Mr Jackett’s fault; I am just blaming him for this. The buck has to stop with the manager and this rubbish season must sit squarely on his shoulders.
The sad fact is for Mr Jackett that when he gets things right no one remembers but when he gets it wrong, no one forgets. We can all pontificate about how shit the ref was and what a catastrophic decision it was to have against us but the truth is, we fucked it up yet again.
Coming away from the ground I said I just want this season to end now, draw a line under it and cast it into the distant past. But we can’t, not yet, we have Forest coming to pay us a visit on Saturday and it will be a brave man who bets against them nicking a win.
Still, Peterborough, Wolves or Barnsley would still trade places with us at the moment so it can’t all be doom and gloom, can it?
"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope". - (Measure for Measure Act III, Scene I).