Downed by Dowd

Last updated : 29 January 2006 By Jim Bonner
Tonight I thought we didn't get what we deserved out of our FA cup tie with Liverpool. As far as I can remember Liverpool had 2 shots on target. They both went in. Fair enough the second goal was a decent strike by Riise, but where was the defence?

Now onto the first Liverpool goal, how Phil Dowd can say that the "handball" was intentional I'll never know! Mainly in the first half he got a few decisions wrong but the penalty was the one that ultimately cost us.

As for the performance itself I'm pretty happy with it. Plenty of commitment by the players and OK some were over the top and deserved a yellow (others didn't) but that's the sort of passion we want to see. The first half was a bit baffling and I think Harry learnt that playing one up front at home gets you nowhere even if you do try to stop the opposition midfield. I was glad to see Primus back and he did alright and in fact I think that exluding Riise's goal the defence did very well as Liverpool were reduced to half chances at best. Taylor had Cisse in his pocket and the centre backs didn't give the Liverpool players much room at all. The midfield is getting better but the strikers still need working on and maybe Lua Lua and Benjani can sort that aspect out.

The second half we were definately the better team and deservedly pulled one back and had a few chances to get another and force a replay. I've already made my feelings clear about a replay so perhaps defeat was a blessing in disguise but that remains to be seen. What it does mean is that we will have some sort of confidence going into the game against Bolton. If we play like we did in the second half for ninety minutes against Big Sam's men then I have every confidence we can win.

In other news DR Congo have progressed to the knockout stages of the African Nations Cup despite losing 2-0 to Cameroon so we will be without Lua Lua for a while longer as they take on Egypt. John Viafara has also been loaned to La Liga side Real Sociedad for the rest of the season. It's three more days until the transfer window shuts so there is probably still more business to be taken care of.

I end on the note that the atmosphere was a bit better tonight, hopefully it will improve even more for the visit of Bolton on Wednesday and will spur the team on to a performance like the second half of today. Let the battle commence!