Look away from the events at the Hawthornes for a moment. As glorious as the fight back was, as amazing as a second half performance it appears to have been, the game is up. Wigan drew at Liverpool. Blackpool edged a little closer to safety with a point against Villa. Birmingham won and moved out of reach, thanks to our defeat against them last week. We needed to win today. We had to win today. And first half, we didn't show up!
Yes we came back from the dead, yes we scored three in 45 minutes and salvaged a point. But that point is not enough. Today completed a sequence of games that HAD to yield 7 points minimum. A return of 4 is inadequate, insufficient and inept.
The first half today brought back memories of the opening game of the season at Villa. It was a repeat of our showing at Newcastle. It echoed our performance at Liverpool. How can a team look so disorganised, so dispirited, so deflated and so dispassionate at KICK OFF? Why is it that, time and time again, this bunch of players look as if the game has come five days too early for them, as if they haven't had time to wake up, freshen up and get their heads together? Why do we hand the initiative to the opposition time and time and time again?
I didn't see the second half. I couldn't watch. Perhaps that is the secret. Perhaps I really do put the mockers on them. Perhaps it is the shadow of Fanno, a cloud I cast that smothers the ability of the players to perform. Perhaps. But there must be more logical explanations.
One, is that West Brom cracked under the strain, tripped over themselves when we scored early in the second half and became consumed in the same fever of self doubt that besets us when an opponent makes our net bulge. Noble had a hand in all three of our goals so deserves some credit; that should shut up his sternest critic for a few minutes at least! Ba looks the part, if he can stay fit! Cole scored, a minor miracle in itself!
But how are we going to survive with a defence like this? A defence that ships three goals in 45 minutes against West Bromwich Albion? Can you imagine what will happen when we travel to Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham? How will we keep out Man Utd at Upton Park? The games are running out, that's why drawing today and losing last week simply were not an option.
We are going down.
But we have a lovely shiny new stadium, so why does it matter?