Game lost when Curbs handed in teamsheet
It would be easy to blame yesterday's defeat on poor refereeing (he wasn't poor) but the game was lost in my view as soon as Fish was named in the team ahead of Perry. It is not difficult to understand the basis for the decision: WBA play with two big strikers so we should emphasise Fish's physical presence over Perry's awareness and pace. Firstly the plan failed, as can be shown easily by the nature of their first three goals. Second, it was obvious within ten minutes that the defence looked unassured and nervy. Third, why is a team 7th in the league and at home to a struggler, worrying about how they're going to line up? Shouldn't they be worrying about us? And moreover, Chris Perry has played his entire career with a height disadvantage but he's been a consistent performer throughout - if he couldn't handle big strikers, he would not have played so many games at the top level. Fish, perhaps not surprisingly, looked slow and short of match practice. Who knows whether El Karkouri's recklessness was not borne out of frustration that he was denied a partner in defence whom he had built a solid foundation with in recent weeks?
In terms of the sending off, I've only seen it briefly but it was messy and if you unnecessarily give the referee a viable option to give a red card, you can't complain if he takes it. The red card probably ended our hopes of winning the game, but WBA were unfortunate to be drawing at the time and Kiely had been our stand-out player throughout the first half, making from memory at least four excellent saves.
Anyhow, the points are gone and we can only move forward to the Man City game, with Curbs no doubt wishing there was a game sooner to help put this result behind us. We will never know how the result would have gone if Perry had played, but one the case can well be made that 4-1 would not have been on the agenda.