To say we’ve played Leeds United (top of the league, but let’s not dwell on that) and West Brom who could have gone top had they beaten us, we’ve come out of these games with two respectable draws.
I know it doesn’t feel like that. We rode our luck against Leeds who were vastly superior in the second half and we had a mad five minutes that allowed West Brom to come back from two goals down. Who would have taken two draws against these teams before the games, I know I would have?
The West Brom match in particular felt like a defeat. Up until the 82nd minute were on top. Much has been talked about the triple substitution that Darren Moore made but it was our substitutions that changed the game. Jos Luhukay has to take a long hard look as to why he thought bringing on an inexperienced, less robust midfielder on for Onomah was a good idea.
Maybe it was a little arrogant to think we’re 2-0 up with eight minutes to go, especially with our track record of no clean sheets this season. When you’re two goals to the good it’s time to batten down the hatches and that includes not taking off Nuhiu, who held the ball up well all evening, for Joao who rarely works hard off the ball.
The substitutions did make a difference on Wednesday evening but it was our poor ones not West Brom’s good choices that made the difference.
For those that are using Pelupessy and Dawson as scapegoats for Barnes’ second goal, there were four defenders in between the two who also could have and should have made a tackle. Barnes’ went between them like a hot knife through butter.
The defence needs addressing and quickly. We are proving that we have the tools to keep up with those who are challenging for promotion this season. That doesn’t just include Adam Reach’s traction engine foot. Our downfall is the lack of organisation, lapses of concentration and general lack of command at the back.
What I wouldn’t give for an experienced leader in our defence.