Out Of Sight?

Team Time ‘A point, a clean sheet and we’re not going down’ extolled one realist after a stalemate that took us to within a point of the sacred fifty. Saturday’s dogged affair was more than a little disappointing for the 30,000 souls hoping to consummate Championship survival with an exhilarating rampage but let us not be too demanding. Last week’s scrap on a dog of a pitch in North West England kept the relegation wolf from the door for another season and continued a period of simmering optimism. Part One : Boro 0 Whites 1 In their review of this heartening victory the Yorkshire Evening Post confidently argued that League One’s lustful overtures had been firmly rebuked but naturally I wasn’t so sure. It is true that the siege of the Riverside had engendered a new-found faith. We revelled in the way our brave boys stood cheek to jowl with an upwardly mobile Middlesbrough side, defending every surgical incision with stoic desperation but most of us knew that there would be many more crosses to bear. Part Two : Seagulls 2 Whites 0, Whites 2 Hornets 3, Whites 2 Town 1 One such burden came just a few days later. News of Don Massimo’s self imposed extension to an exile that had brought relative serenity to the club, seemed to upset the balance and bring the football tamely to its knees. Unconfined joy in Yorkshire’s most Northerly outpost lurched into depression on the South Coast. A tired and listless outfit drained by another gruelling road trip succumbed to a sickeningly rejuvenated opponent. Our visits to Brighton are a source of constant personal chagrin and the sight of the unpredictable Seagulls tearing our defence apart was a painful one. Thank goodness for Millwall. The same torrid experience was repeated on our return to the Ridings. A defensive capitulation engineered by the pace and power of Watford’s Troy Deeney rendered Billy Sharp’s popular return and Rudy’s crisp volley meaningless. The Hornets were always going to provide the stiffest of tests but the difference in class was alarming. Thank Goodness for Millwall. Ipswich on the other hand seemed an eminently more winnable fixture. A side marked by its lack of guile seemed predisposed to provide a more desirable outcome and so it proved. Coach Redfearn’s burgeoning ability to manipulate a tired, inexperienced and imbalanced squad manifested itself in the decision to field an entire backline consisting of six-foot centre backs with a view to quashing Mick McCarthy’s bludgeoning long ball tactics. It worked but not without drama. The quality of Mowatt and Sharp was aided by Marco’s dramatic penalty save in a breathless final quarter. Part Three : Latics 0 Whites 1, Whites 0 Reds 0 In his infinite wisdom Wigan’s befuddled chairman chose our visit as the moment in which to escape the fuhrerbunker and lap up the farewell plaudits from his club’s not so faithful. It was an injudicious move compounded by the decision to goad a visiting throng unimpressed by his political outlook. Home fans were quick to lament our lack of respect but seemed blissfully unaware that their pitiful attendance said more than brickbats ever could. Thankfully 5,000 away fans and a howling dog had the last bark after Alex Mowatt’s crisp strike sent the Latic’s tumbling towards the abyss. And so we conclude with Nottingham Forest. It was a contest of little note in which two mid table sides wrestled with little success but the moral spoils ended up staying in West Yorkshire. Our youthful brigade had very little trouble dealing with the Reds’ expensively assembled Championship hardened line up.


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