Team: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Gorkss, Connolly, Derry (Leigertwood), Faurlin, Mackie, Taarabt (Buzsaky), Ephraim, Helguson (German).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Ramage, Parker, Clarke.
Adel Taarabt was appointed captain and some of the football particularly in the 1st half was absolutely wonderful. A good header from Orr following Taarabt’s corner put us in front. A fantastic lobbed pass through to Helguson was well controlled and a very good finish made it 2-0 after 41 minutes. We thought that the referee had awarded us a penalty when he seemingly pointed to the spot after Taarabt was tripped in the box. The visitors had a one-on-one which thankfully, was knocked well over the bar. Gorkss put a lazy ball back to Kenny which very nearly resulted in an interception and/or a nasty injury as he charged out to clear the danger !!!
In the 2nd half, we had further chances and Faurlin almost scored a wonder goal when he turned, flicked the ball up a couple of times and hit it on the volley which dipped just over the bar, absolutely wonderful. Earlier, Hogan Ephraim put a peach of a ball over to the unmarked Helguson who put wide from close range. Although there were only about 400 or so visiting fans, I thought the attendance was more than 12,046 ? Looking at the stats, we were credited with 60% possession and it was actually out best league start for 63 years. Despite this, Neil Warnock says that we are not the finished article yet but we are playing some very attractive football and hopefully we will continue to be difficult to be beat. Well done to him and the team.
The game was class. We out-passed them then used pace to also out-flank them. Our craft and technical play was the best I’ve seen in years. I was a bit taken aback when I saw Adel wearing the armband, but I take back all my fears and in Neil Warnock we trust on that one. Whatever he is doing is certainly working so well. He is passing as good as anyone I’ve seen in a hoops shirt for years. He is making dummy runs to bring others into the game and that pass to Helguson was as good as anything Ray Wilkins would’ve done for our Les. That is how good it was. Moment of the day was seeing my daughter and my nephew dancing at the end of the game !
The way we played between 3.15 and 3.45 is right up there with the best half hours of my life. Later, when Taarabt was substituted, I was in the X Block so I could see the Scunthorpe fans giving it “phew” and looking really relieved as he went off. I was just laughing so much, thinking you don’t know who’s coming on now !
Everyone seems to have forgotten Hogan Ephraim, who was top drawer. First half, he was playing some lovely stuff with Hill down the left accompanied by some superb play from Taarabt, Derry, Faurlin, Connolly and Orr. I thought Derry ran the show first half, winning every ball which allowed Taarabt and Faurlin to ping balls left, right and centre. Second half, I thought Hogan ran the show. Neil Warnock seems to have done something to him as he’s like a man possessed when he’s defending. It seemed like he covered the whole pitch. Faurlin’s magic at the end was superb, but so was Hogan’s when he was down the left in front of the Ellerslie Road Stand and a ball came to him from the right flank at a great height and as it dropped over the defender’s head, he flicked out his boot and trapped it instantly, then left the defender for dead.
Nice of the Beeb to only show two of the other ten chances we created and as Neil Warnock said, their keeper should get 10 out of 10. As for the referee !!! Well, I would love to see the penalty incident again as everyone in the ground saw him point to the spot for a penalty. The incident was 10 yards from the penalty spot so why didn’t he point to the spot where Adel was lying on the floor ??? And why did he take about a minute to decide that Adel had dived and book him ? Did he get told by a linesman and change his mind ? Once again Taarabt was given no protection by the referee for some robust challenges. I hope that the next one at Pride Park is up to scratch as he will be marked by Robbie ‘I had that Taarabt in my back pocket’ Savage. He seems to forget that we took four points off them last season.
Both images were taken by Martin Percival and used with his permission.