Written by kirsikka
– We were ruthlessly clinical. There’s no way we were four goals better than them but we took chances with whilst they spurned theirs. It’s great to see such confidence in hitting the back of the net.
– Some teams are built around one player building an innings of goals whilst the others get bits and pieces. It’s becoming clear that this team is about goals across the whole side. Thirteen different players have now scored for us this season. This leaves us less exposed to an injury to one player so is a huge plus.
– I gave Billing pelters last Saturday but he did well in 15 minutes on Tuesday and was excellent tonight. More of this Billing please, he looks a real player.
– I’ve seen us play better but I don’t think I’ve seen us be so efficient for a long time.
– My main concern from the night is how many times Barnsley managed to get low balls across our six-yard box. I couldn’t pin it but there must have been a tactical defensive deficiency somewhere that needs addressing as if they’d had a striker that could sniff goals out it could have been 4-4.
– The variation in performance level from match to match, or even half to half, can be startling for this side. Possibly more than any AFCB team I can remember. It’s a conundrum that does need solving as the Championship can’t stay like this all year. A couple of teams will sort themselves out eventually and we need to stay with them. For that, we need more of tonight, less of the last two.
— Player Ratings —
Begovic – 7
A few smart saves and one spill but wasn’t called into action as much as the chances created should have meant.
Mepham – 6
Careless on the ball more than once but still looked mostly alright.
S Cook – 7
Led the defence and covered for others mistakes a few times.
Kelly – 6
Seemed more comfortable here than in his recent LB role.
A Smith (off on 90) – 7
Probably his best performance this season. Great work on the first goal.
Billing (off on 90) – 8 and Man of the Match
His detractors may point to the mistakes he made but a lot of our good play went through him and, crucially, he was trying to make things happen and put himself about a bit.
L Cook (off on 81) – 6
A few sloppy moments that we were lucky to get away with but still gets the assist for the Solanke goal. He’s had better nights but he wasn’t in any way bad.
Brooks (off on 72) – 6
Again struggled to impose himself on the match. He’s had a tricky three games now but he’s match fit at least so let’s hope he blossoms into life again soon.
Rico – 7
The free-kick was a thing of beauty and he actually did alright in the wing-back role.
Solanke (off on 72) – 7
Bustling centre forward performance and well-taken goal.
Surridge – 8
Made life very difficult for the Barnsley defence with his physicality and will to win throughout. Well done.
— Subs —
Anthony (on from 72) – 6
Looked good in flashes. Promising.
Gosling (on from 72) – 6
Shored things up. No complaints.
Riquelme (on from 81) – 6
One good run immediately after coming on but the game was pretty much over for his spell on the pitch.
Kilkenny (on from 90) and Ofoborh (on from 90).
Nice to see Kilkenny make his league debut.
Overall Grade: B+
It was a bizarre game in some respects as I don’t think we blew them away apart from with our finishing. They were often matching us with some decent passing and incisive moves whilst we went far more direct than normal but were absolutely brutal in putting them down.
I think we have to give credit to the men in charge as it feels like a tactical triumph as we exposed their weaknesses. It seems harsh to not give an A grade given the margin of victory but we didn’t completely lock them out, more they spurned the opportunities they created. We were like elite assassins at the other end.
Man of the match against Barnsley
London Cherry wrote…
I thought our engine room was excellent tonight and would personally have L Cook’s rating higher but fully agree Billing had his best game for us in a red n black shirt. Delighted to see Dan play so well too! It’ll be a nice flight back down south! – Join the conversation, click here.