Let Rob Hutchison explain for himself how he came to see us and the Mags on successive nights …
Two matches, I’ve been watching both North East clubs in 24 hours . . . .
Tuesday Night: three Mags staying with me in Kent for a few days blagged tickets for the Gillingham game on Tuesday night, offered me a free one in their end which I declined, preferring to buy one in the home Medway Stand for 20 sheets. I was hoping for an upset but nothing to be had.
The Key points – Mags were poor, Obertan and Aarons were lightening quick down the flanks and threw tons of crosses into row ZZ. They are sterile up front this year, toothless. It rained on the urchins in the open roofed away end. Cabella rolls over at the slightest contact. De Jong is their main man but still some way off the pace. They had an allocation of 1285 but returned two small blocks of tickets unsold (big club y’see).
They won of course, by an OG from Mackem Egan, who did OK on the whole. Gills huffed and puffed, worked Krul a couple of times but it wasn’t really enough. My Gills ST holder mate quoted “We did well against a Premiership side that looked slick but created very little in front of goal. To lose to an own goal was frustrating but The Gills didn’t come away embarrassed and can hold their heads high.”
Fast Forward to Wednesday Night at St Andrews.
Cheaper tickets = better away following, 1500+ mackems by the look of it [did I see a figure of about 1,997?– Ed]. Nice and vocal, heaven knows why. Unbeaten so far and with one eye on 3 points at QPR there was expectancy in the air. Five changes but still a strong team, should be OK. In truth, 3-0 flattered, and we were a mixture of turgid and insipid for over an hour.
The first half harked back to Cardiff and Norwich away last season. Bridcutt was a shadow of Cattermole, king of the sideway pass, Jones was well off the pace, Pants nervous with his indecisive distribution. The rest were just very average and bereft of ideas, no overlapping runs or creativity.
Poyet must have had a word at half time as the second half got better as it went on, with the breakthrough finally coming from a fine finish with Gomez shooting across the keeper. AJ netted from Jozy’s palmed out shot (he looked gutted when the keeper saved it, really gutted, to the depths of his soul), and Wickham capped off a decent second half with a tidy finish. He really needs to be played down the middle to get the best out of the lad.
The problem is his touch isn’t great and he lost possession when he had two great opportunities to strike. Giaccherini had a terrific little cameo when he appeared which was a nice bonus. So the three goals in 13 minutes made it looked comfortable when in reality it was anything but. Brum pressed and had a go, and it took a couple of tasty saves and blocks to stop them taking the lead. Once the ring-rustiness is worked through the squad will look in much better shape than last years, and we certainly have options now to change games. The future’s bright, the future’s Mackem.
Player ratings I hear you cry? Well think sixes across the board with O’Shea, Wesley, Wicks and Gomez sneaking a point above, and Jones and Bridcutt probably a point below. MOTM was the away support, who gave Lee Clark dogs’ abuse all night. I was going to scribble a rant about the Borini-free zone, and some of our clowns who still stand when all around them were seated, but I’ll save that for another day.
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