Stop the rollercoaster!
26th August 2008
Attendance: Lots of Sky Blue seats
Having decided to hold off writing this report, there is some vindication for my tardiness as a key component of last night`s win, James Milner, has well and truly gone and sullied his good name with NUFC fans with a really intelligently timed transfer request. A round of applause to his PFA advisors - Mick McGuire take a bow. Really 'professional` of you.
The Milner issue will be returned to but first a brief overview of the game. Some marginal changes were made by KK, introducing Geremi, Enqirue and Bassong for Martins, Duff and Taylor. Owen remained on the bench, rightly so in my John Humble-st, as KK looked to pad him in cotton wool ahead of the Emirates visit this weekend.
First half we decided to imitate Brazil 1970 for 44 minutes, passing the ball in pretty triangles and through Coventry at will. A barrage of blocked shots, deflections and wayward finishing prevented us from giving the Coleman Crew a humping of Ron 'Geremi` proportions.
N`Zog or their defender put us 1-0 up before Milner whipped in the same sort of cross as in the 1-1 draw on Weirdside last season, evading defenders, attackers and keeper to nestle in the far corner. 2-0 up and cruising into first half stoppage time, Beye decided to try and Van Damme a ball out of the air, leading to it eventually dropping to Morrison who lashed home.
The second half came and went with a similar pattern. The Sky Blues pressed a little harder but ultimately bone idle finishing by Jonas, Guthrie, Zog and Milner always gave Covvee that sniff of an equaliser. Owen made his entrance on about 75 minutes with the ineffective Geremi making way.
We plodded about, seemingly thinking about Jeff Stelling`s balls (Saturday 12pm on SkySports1) and they got a bonus minute to try and hurl a forty yard throw into the net. Cue some Icelandic radgee smashing a chair out of the way and hoying in a monster chuck that Dann headed in for 2-2.
Credit to the lads though as they upped the ante once more, with Enrique delivering a peach of a ball for Owen to chest control and clip through Marshall for 3-2. As 1st period stoppage time neared, so did the twitchy backsides as Coventry mirrored their first half / stoppage time efforts with a header against the bar. In the end we did enough to wind the clock down though and ensure progression.
Post-match KK was full of praise for Owen, who is simply a goal scoring robot, and Milner, who he bigged up for full England honours. However somewhere in between his interview with Jeff Stelling / Richard Shaw and meeting the newspaper journos, Derek Llambias informed him that Milner had handed in a transfer request. Not quite Chimbonda carrying it around in his jockstrap when Wigan played Arsenal a couple of years ago, but bloody comparable nonetheless. Cue a different tone from KK to the written press.
I really feel for Kev. Sold the Tyneside dream again, it seems like two steps forward, three steps back as players are sold, wages are cut and transfer fees are non-existent. Ashley`s 'wow` signing seems like another gimmick to try and entice the corporate know-nowts back to the £100 a game bars and his whole cockney cabal seem to be slowing processes down rather than speeding them up.
What should have been cause for celebration suddenly seems quite hollow. Thanks James, thanks a lot.