So the equation was simple. We had to win to stand a chance of catching Southampton and Reading. And we had to win by a two or three or ideally four goal margin. Draw or lose? No difference. It was win at all cost. It was sudden death. It was a promotion cup final. Attack was the order of the day. Goals were the priority. And we were playing against a team fourth from bottom in the table who had only managed six home wins all season.
You come into the game on the back of a 6-0 victory achieved playing expansive football in a 4-4-2 formation, and with a red hot striker fresh from banging in a hat trick. So what do you do? Not rocket engineering is it? Unless you are Allardyce!
Tell me, is there another manager in the game who, under those circumstances, would feel the irresistible draw of safety first? Is there another manager in the game who would seek to win that game 1-0 given those circumstances? Is there another manager in the game who would say, 4-4-2 is too risky away from home? Is there another manager in the game who would play with one man up top utterly unsuited to the lone striker role? Is there another manager in the game who would pull his on fire striker back into midfield and push him out on the flank, assigning him defensive responsibilities?
And there you have Allardyce in a nutshell. He can't help himself. He only knows one way of playing and, no matter what the situation and no matter what the opposition, he will set up to play that way. And boy has that blinkered tactical ineptitude cost us this season!
And before the Allardyce Apostates pitch in to defend the anti Christ, I will give them two words: John Carew. Why? Why would you have him on the bench ahead of Baldock in a must win game? The answer: if it isn't going to plan send on a bigger battering ram. Welcome to the tactical world of Big Sham Allardyce!