What a ridiculous game. 20 minutes in we should’ve been two or three up, but yet again, Blues failed to capitalise and – somehow – ended up losing 4-2.
Blues started both tremendously and frustratingly. An early away goal is always a good way to quieten the home fans, but despite dominating the opening quarter and creating chance after chance, we struggled to increase our lead.
We’ve had this issue all season – we’ve only won one game by more than one goal once this season (against Barnsley on 20 August).
We don’t seem to be able to kill games off. Creating an uneasy final few minutes for the fans is peak Blues, but it is a cause for concern.
After converting a dubiously-awarded penalty on 30 minutes, we conceded a sloppy goal eight minutes later, with the half ending 2-1 to the hosts.
A horrible tackle caused Cardiff to go a man down not long after the restart. We launched wave after wave of attack but couldn’t find the back of the net.
A lapse of concentration from our defence allowed Cardiff to widen their lead, then an 89th minute screamer from Sunjic set up an exciting final few minutes.
However, a melee involving Dean results in the skipper seeing red. We pushed on, but just couldn’t break Cardiff down to earn the equaliser.
A second penalty converted by Cardiff meant the game ended 4-2.
What did we learn?
Take your chances. Cardiff weren’t in the game for the first quarter. We had the chances to take a dominating lead but failed to convert.
I thought the penalty was harsh, and lots of decisions from the referee went against us, so it would’ve been easy for Pep to blame rotten luck for the result.
Although he did touch on the poor refereeing and lack of luck, Pep was right in his post-match comments to say that he wanted us “to transform more of our chances into goals”.
What’s to blame? The simplest answer is often the correct answer. In this case, Che Adams scored 22 goals for us last season and we haven’t replaced that. Whilst Gimenez and Mrabti have both played well at times with Juke up front, we’re really missing that clinical finisher.
He doesn’t seem to be settling too well at Southampton. If there’s a chance we could take him back on loan in January, we should definitely take it.
If not, and if the Board is serious about wanting this to be a promotion-contending season, they need to bring someone in to properly replace Che.
Blues v Fulham
Whilst our away form – other than in London – has been pretty abysmal this season, St Andrews has become a bit of a fortress.
We last played Fulham at home on the final day of the 2017-18 season when we were earned a memorable 3-1 victory to ensure our safety.
Like us, they’ve had a bit of a mixed season so far, sitting one point above us in eighth place. Anyone with Mitrovic up front and Cairney in midfield can cause problems, but fingers crossed we play our game and get the three points.
Photo Courtesy: Roy Smiljanic / BCFC