Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday October 21 2007
Despite the lack of goals, the fixture proved to be an entertaining one. In fact, only the excellent skills of both keepers kept the score sheet blank.
Out of the two, our own Anti Niemi probably shaded it as regards to the man-of-the-match award, with the Finnish keeper pulling off some marvellous saves.
In recent weeks, Sanchez has split the keeping duties between Niemi and Kasey Keller and if Niemi required any motivation to produce the goods then it was given to him by a request from Sanchez who barked,
"You are supposed to be my number one, so go out there and show me what you are capable of"
It appeared to do the trick with Sanchez remarking after the game,
"Niemi earned his money and it`s about time. He let in seven goals in three games and was at fault."
Thankfully, the Finnish stopper was on hand to brilliantly deny Barnes twice and Miller in the second half.
Unfortunately with the suggestion in the air that we needed to take seven points out of the next nine, perhaps we should be ruing the result yesterday, perhaps looking ahead six points out of six form the next two games, one of which is away to Sunderland, is being a little optimistic. A point not lost on Sanchez who explained,
"Derby at home is the sort of game we should be winning if we want to stay in this league."
However, with regards to the dropping of two points perhaps we should remember that it was a valiant attempt by ten men to grasp something after the red mist had descended shortly before half time, red mist that was to see Paul Koncheskey rightly sent off for elbowing Craig Fagan.
It`s a point that was not lost on Sanchez who talked about the incident and Konchesky in his post match interview, remarking,
"But you make it hard for yourself when you are down to ten men so I have to be pleased with a point."
He`s been our best player so far this season but he had to go. I will be having a word with him on Monday."
So after covering the great display from Niemi, the dropping of two points and the red mist that affected Koncheskey what other positives can we take out of the game?
Well firstly, we should congratulate ourselves on not losing; in fact we put in a spirited second half performance that made you think about which team were down to ten men, on other occasions we could have sneaked all three points.
We`ve also managed to eek our way out of the relegation places climbing the table, a point joyously made by Sanchez who offered the following words of wisdom,
"We were p*ss poor in the first half but the better side in the second."
"Maybe we should start with ten men. It`s a strange old game, isn`t it? I understand the fans were frustrated at the end but it means we move up five places to 13th."
In theory Sanchez isn`t wrong but with two points lost I can`t help but think with four tough games following the fixtures against Sunderland and Reading we may be in for a rocky ride.
Now if only Danny Murphy hadn`t of shot straight at Bywater! But then again isn`t life full of ifs and buts?
Date:Sunday October 21 2007
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