Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Tuesday January 12 2010
11th Jan 2010
Attendance: 40,000 or so
I have a funny feeling that this report could give me a headache and I have the missus to deal with later so that could make it even worse.
There are many reasons why we came a cropper last night. The primary one is this... City are a talented side but they didn't even need to show that they were. Sloppy defending and poor ball retention allowed City to win without them even needing to turn on the charm. That is just unacceptable.
Sam will shoulder the blame and as the manager he should as I believe he was at fault with the tactics we used away from home and for the players he selected to take on the up and coming side in the league.
He also feel into the trap of believing if we just hung in the game long enough we may get something - when really the lack of ambition and support for Franco Di Santo and Dave Dunn up front simply gave City the ball back too easily and the came back at us. Poor work from the Big Guy.
Fair enough we can always point to the fact that Carlos Tevez and his hat-trick were superb and that City would have beaten most teams in that sort of form and at home but it WAS avoidable.
Man City have showed this season that as good as they are going forward they can be upset going at them and unsettling their defence - heck even we proved that with some incisive attacking play, BUT AT 3-0 DOWN!!! Before that we just tried to hang about and stay in the game - Big Sam must recognise that wasn't the way to go.
Paul Robinson was at fault for the first goal as a corner was drifted over in the first ten minutes and instead of either punching or catching he decided to do both (patching?!) and bumped into Keith Andrews, the ball dropped to Benjani who skewed the ball wide - but Carlos Tevez deflected into the net with his knee.
For the rest of the first half Rovers played damage limitation which is amazing when you are 2-0 up but not when you are 1-0 down. We put no pressure on City and they grew in confidence and as a result we suffered.
The Rovers midfield were being over ran by the City one but the second goal they were trampled by one man without even putting a foot in. Micah Richards burst forward from his own half, ran the length of the field to collect a rebound off the post and scored.
The goal looked great but in truth we offered nothing to stop it. Half-time saw two changes as Nikola Kalinic came on for the service starved Franco Di Santo and Junior Hoilett cameon for the totally inept and bumbling Keith Andrews.
But just as Rovers set about to get into the game, more poor defending saw us three goals down. Tevez's finish on 49 minutes was again quality but in the build up, Gael Givet, Ryan Nelsen and Morten Pedersen could have stopped the momentum. Typical of the night we were enduring... none of them did.
Amazingly, Rovers then decided to PLAY!!!! We got on the ball and ran at City. Junior Hoilett was looking lively and gave Richards a tough time. Kalinic when given the ball was moving well and Morten was looking threatening on the ball... he even provided the highlight of the night for the Blue and White, well the only one anyway.
Shay Given was pressurised into a poor kick out and as a City defender slipped, Pedersen pounced and hit a gorgeous shot round two defenders and Given to restore a little pride. Top finish.
Rovers then could have pulled some more back but a weak header from Junior and a pulled shot from Kalinic were the best of the efforts that we mustered for some, at times, promising build up play.
Tevez completed his hat-trick with another good finish but by then City were able to pick us off due to us having to commit men forward, we were well beaten in the end.
This is where Sam earns his money now. We have a MASSIVE game on Thursday against Villa and now we will see how good he is... there is no point in getting rid of Big Sam as some suggest.
Yes he made an error last night but he has a chance to atone, but if he fails on Thursday and Sunday against Fulham then those axe calls will get a little louder.
As fans lets get behind the team and we can get through this together - and save Big Sam from more abuse.
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Date:Tuesday January 12 2010
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