As our travel troubles ease following a 2-1 win over Sheffield United not everything in the garden is rosy. Credit should be due to the lads though, notably the goalscorers Steven Taylor and Oba Martins. Taylor is one of a few, along with Peter Ramage, who has turned in quote after quote to the Chronicle and failed to deliver where it counts. Perhaps I`m being too harsh – especially given Ramage has been far more of a culprit this season – but it was nice to see him backing up his words with a bit of substance for once. Having had a good game against Citeh it was a refreshing change for him to follow up with back to back solid performances.
Onto Oba. The lad has been my shining light this season, ably supported by Butt, Given and Solano. So you might think he might be above the poison pen vitriol being directed at him by Alan Oliver. Ignoring Thomson House golden boy and 80k a week ‘earner` Kieron Dyer for any sort of criticism, Oliver has continually placed our problems for not winning at the feet of Martins for missing easy chances. The fact the lad has any chances at all is a miracle given the supply he gets from our midfield yet has still scored 17 goals seems to render him a pretty crucial piece of the jigsaw. However this doesn`t seem to be enough for the Blackie Boy regular. I don`t know what the Nigerian has done to annoy him – I suspect he`s snubbed Oliver for an interview and now he`s doing his best to do a character assassination on the lad. Needless to say his pearler of a strike against the Blades should shut the craggy faced moaner up for a while.
Looking at the game itself and I suppose it`s a case of job well done. What was a little strange is the fact Glenn pegged the game as ‘proving the doubters wrong`. Sorry Mr Roeder but you`re talking balls. Given the shameful capitulations against City, Charlton and Alkmaar a win against this lot still doesn`t go more than a fraction to making up for the bottle jobs in those three games. A lick of paint from Lucketti`s header was the difference between yet more questions being asked about our ability to finish games off. Don`t patronise us with the usual back slapping platitudes about turning corners and being positive – try a bit of humility and agree that it was the bare minimum and get back to knuckling down on practising set piece routines which have, all season, been pretty shocking.
Overall then an away day performance that just about hit the right notes. It helped that Sheffield United didn`t have a striker to speak of (Jon Stead? Don`t make me laugh!) and they still came close to equalising but three points just about puts to bed any lingering fears of the drop. I still think it`s shameful that with the resources available to him those words can even be mentioned in connection with the club. I just hope his planning that he`s doing for the summer is a lot more comprehensive than his January work.
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