You build a monster and sooner or later you will regret it. Just look at the score at Elland Road. We went there to defend and scrambled a late, late equaliser; Nottingham Forest have gone there tonight and smashed in seven! We go one goal ahead with the flukiest goal you've ever seen in your life and what does Allardyce do? He pulls off Maynard and Cole and sends on Carew and Collison, holding up a neon side announcing let's hold on for a 1-0 win. We conceded the inevitable goal and it was only courtesy of McCartney clearing off the line that we came away with a point.
What the fcuk was Allardyce doing with his formation? I saw the team selection and called it 4-1-3-2; in my bloody dreams! No, Maynard, an out an out striker was asked to play wide right to accommodate Nolan. And what did Maynard do all night? Not much. What did Nolan do? Even less!
Yet again, there was no guile, no craft, no composure, no invention, no imagination. Time and again long straight balls were lumped forward. Once again crosses were hit aimlessly into the box playing the bloody stupid mindless percentage game. It is a disgrace. We are worse than Bolton ever were! At least Bolton got bodies into the box and had players who could deliver crosses and play balls into the channels. Not this pile of shit! Not with Allardyce at the helm!
Tell me, what has Collison done all season to merit being brought on? Lansbury I could swallow, but Collison? Tell me, why was Maynard pushed wide on the right and left there when he was so obviously a fish out of water? Tell me, why was Carew used when the guy is obviously just marking time and picking up a salary for doing not very much.
And tell me, what did we create all night? Taylor could have scored, courtesy of a misplaced Boro pass back. Tomkins forced a superb save from Steele, but 99 of his 100 headers go over the bar so even if he had netted there would have been an element of luck about it. Cole and Noble fired over before half time. Maynard fired in a shot from outside the box in the first half, straight at Steele. Then Maynard tried to dink one over Steele from an impossible scoring position, landing it on the roof of the net.
Did we get to the byline once? Did we pass the ball to one of our own players along the ground into Boro's box once all game? Do you know I can't remember one. Maybe when Taylor broke down the left hand side of the box in the first half and failed to beat the first defender with his cross.
The Allardyce apologists will trot out more excuses. Vaz Te's absence will no doubt be cited, just as Taylor's absence earlier in the season was given as an excuse. But it's not the personnel picked, it's the absence of flair in the squad and the appalling, appalling tactics of Doctor Evil and his very own Igor, Kevin Nolan. Once again players were played out of position, once again Baldock was brought on far too late, once again the initiative was handed to the opposition by dreadful substitutions. If Grant had been making the decisions that Allardyce has made, he would have been crucified. A couple of games apart, we have been shit since the start of December. Southampton now have one foot in the Prem and, to be honest, even with Reading losing, we look a million miles away from going up.
Play-offs? How the hell will we win a game over two legs?
Player Ratings: Green 6; O'Brien 5, Faye 8, Collins 6, McCartney 5; Maynard 4, Noble 6, Tomkins 6, Nolan 1, Taylor 5; Cole 5 Subs Carew 2, Collison 3 Baldock (Given no chance!)