Saturday, September 10, 2011

Scrappy - but a win: City 2-0 Doncaster

It seems an age since City last played, and on the pitch it looked like they hadn't played for a while too.

Before we get to the match though, a couple of other matters.

Firstly, and tragically, the death of Cardiff City fan Mikey Dye at Wembley has shadowed a lot of people's thoughts. Around the pubs, and stadium collections were being taken for his family, and outside the "Ninian" Gate, fans and the club had laid scarves, flags, wreaths and other assorted City memorabilia in his honour. A minutes applause was held before the game started and was very well observed. Whatever the circumstances surrounding his death, and these have yet to be established, this is a shocking event.
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Also, last night the father of Swansea City's manager Brendan Rogers' passed away, and when this was announced there was also generous acknowledgement. Something that perhaps we might not have seen a few years ago, and possibly something that says although rivalry on the pitch is fine, off it, respect is beginning to show through.

Elsewhere, fans of the View From The Ninian podcast (what do you mean you've never heard of it! Get it here) who are also "Twitterers" met up at the Ninian Pub for the first "@ViewFromTheNin" tweetup.

As well as myself and @ministats, there was @rhodrielisjones, @bennifactor, a couple who's

name I didn't get and the VFTN lads themselves, Adam & Ben. It was great to put some faces to names and meet the legends who are View From The Ninian. The photo shows @ministats with Adam (left) & Ben. Thanks lads!

So, on to the game. I fancied City to win this comfortable, and when Earnie hit the post inside the first minute (he should have scored) and then within seconds a last ditch leg out from a Donny defender slid the ball agonisingly wide of what would have been a terrific own goal, things were looking rosy. But, it has to be said, that was about as exciting as it got in the rest of the first half. City starting with the same XI that started at Pompey looked nervous, static and when the did get the ball, largely bereft of ideas. Only Whittinhgam looked like he'd woken up this morning knowing he had a match to play. Miller & Earnie just aren't working as a front pair, and surely it's not long before Malky starts with Gestede instead of one of the diminutive pair. At the back there were a few hairy moments, as Gerrard in particualr looked slow and with the ball at his feet, well......let's just say the View From the Nin lads perspective that he likes headers is because he can't kick a ball to save his life at the moment.

So 0-0 at half time, and frankly Donny looking brighter and having forced Marshall into the save of the half.

After the break though, things warmed up a bit. City who's best player by a mile remains Peter Whittingham won a free kick wide on the right. Whitts hit a screaming cross in that was met by he who loves headers (Gerrard) and it was 1-0! Good job it didn't fall to his feet!

That relaxed City, but they still looked ill at ease, sitting deep and allowing Doncaster far too much of the ball.

The introduction of Aaron Gunnarsson for Blake in midfield settled things though, and the Icelander immediately looked at ease doing what City should have been doing all afternoon. Collecting the ball and playing an easy lay off to a free player. Indeed it may have been Gunnarsson (I can't remember specifically) who set Miller free , who again should have done better but eventually squared the ball where Whittingham found Earnshaw to slot home from 6 yards.

That goal was crucial. It killed the game, but importantly gave Earnie a goal and confidence after his howler against England at Wembley.

So three points, but it was never vintage City. I thought Whitts had a good game, but unfortunately not enough of the others were on his level. Gunnarsson looked good when he came on, as did Gestede, and as I said earlier, Malky really must start with him soon.

Miller it has to be said was awful. His first touch let him down all day - as it has all season. I know what he can do, but he hasn't shown it yet. Whether that's because he & Earnie are too similar I don't know. Gerrard needs to learn to kick a ball, or let someone else take free kicks from the half way line. His one attempt which flew right into touch just about summed up his kicking day, although I suppose we have to forgive him as he scored our opener!

However, for the moment, it's a win and 6th spot, and that's what counts.

Up the City.

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