Sunday, 15 March 2009

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 v Charlton Athletic 1

As anticipated, the gap to safety is now effectively 14 points (including goal difference) and Barnsley can increase that margin by picking up two points from the three games in hand they have over Nottingham Forest who were walloped 5-0 yesterday at Burnley.  The Tykes get the first chance to do that on Tuesday when a demoralised Crystal Palace head north to the Republic of South Yorkshire. So, we remain on course to be relegated at St Mary's on 4th April.

For the record we were beaten 2-1 by a mis-firing Wolves side who were grateful to scrape the win. Despite competing for large parts of the match, Sylvain Ebanks-Blake had a penalty saved by Rob Elliot and we were never in any danger of winning this game even after Zheng Zhi posted a 'come-and-get-me' goal from distance to briefly level matters in the second-half.

Hard to know what Parky's expected to say after yet another defeat which only adds to his disatrous managerial record. More "ifs" and "buts" but his league record speaks for itself. Played 20, won 2, drawn 6 and lost 12.  If our squad of players was the worst in the division and we were being outplayed every week I could have more sympathy for him. The fact is, that whilst too many of our players aren't pulling their weight week-in week-out, we are actually competing in most games for long periods but we are being beaten by sides with greater concentration, determination and belief. These are the qualities that set the best managers aside from the also-rans. We have looked absolutely bereft in these departments all season and it can be no coincidence that there was no significant improvement when Parkinson took over November. He was part of the managerial problem and the Board would do well to bear that in mind when the inevitable happens.

I won't profess to being able to offer any strong opinions on this game as I spent most of the second-half glued to the Italy v Wales 6 Nations contest which looked more likely to serve up a shock result. Posting was then delayed whilst Scotland rattled Ireland's cage but, predictably, succombed to second-half pressure to keep Ireland's Grand Slam hopes alive. Just as I believe Phil Parkinson has to be put out of his mangerial misery, Frank Haddon must also walk, although finances at the SRU are so equally perilous that he could yet get a stay of execution a la Parky.

I was at my sister-in-laws yesterday (still am) and we all watched the boxing last night. Enzo Maccarranelli's career was ended in spectacular fashion and the main event was equally disappointing. Marco Barrera's superb career record of only ever having been beaten by reigning world champions was spoilt by an early clash of heads which caused an enormous gash on his forehead. The fight had to be stopped but the referree and ringside doctors let it go on for several rounds longer than they should and Khan had taken an unassailable lead by then. Amir Khan will be slightly disappointed he didn't get the chance to out-box the Mexican because he had shown all the signs of being able to do it. Adopting a much more disciplined defence, he had bullied Barrera from the off but it was hard to tell how much better Barrera might have been had he not been fighting through a stream of blood in his left eye.  

So, Preston at home next Saturday and, if I had anything better to do, I'd do it. they came from behind at home to Coventry yesterday to keep their play-off hopes alive. Cardiff will surely overtake them with their games in hand, so this is probably the worst time possible to be playing them. You have to think they will simply be too focused and determined for us.  When the football offers us nothing and the season is over bar the shouting, it's time for the Board to launch a PR offensive to maintain supporter interest for next season. If we fail on this front now (as I believe we have done for much of the season) , I believe we will do even more irreparable damage to our fan-base and propsects for next season.


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