This is the second game in a row that we put together a dominating performance statistically, winning all three aspects – shots, shots on target, and possession. We took a 2-0 lead into halftime and maintained that score to the end, looking quite comfortable the whole way through. This is now our fourth league win in a row.
After a nice run of solid attacking play, we couldn’t muster up much offense at all against Blackpool. That said, we got fantastically lucky and won 2-0. Abiola Badirou continues to shine in the poacher role, netting a brace to bring his goal haul to eight in seventeen league games. Alan Julian also did a good job in turning back seven shots that were on target to preserve the clean sheet. We are now on a five game winning streak within the league.
Last game’s attacking problems were nowhere to be found here. It wasn’t quite as statistically dominating as our recent performance against Cardiff but we won in terms of shots, shots on target, and possession once again. This game was actually tied 1-1 at the half but we came out with a quickfire double in the second half to put the game away, scoring two goals within seven minutes of the restart. This is our sixth straight league win!
vs Nottm Forest
Well if the last handful of games left any doubt, this game helped reinforce the fact that we aren’t just getting lucky with all of these wins. We went in tied 1-1 at the half with our typical opportunistic style of play. Then the floodgates opened in the second half with three goals coming in less than 15 minutes! We had pushed the lead out to 5-1 before Nottm Forest scored a garbage goal in stoppage time. Adam Birchall scored once again in a spot start, continuing as our second highest scorer in his bench role. And even though we have won seven straight wins, West Brom is still up by one point in the standings as they continue to dominate the opposition as well.
It’s been a while since we’ve needed it, but our defense stepped up and won this game for us. Brighton outdid us on the attacking front but Alan Julian and company maintained a clean sheet while new boy Cristian Battocchio bagged the only goal of the game in the second half. This marks our eighth consecutive win and we have finally overtaken West Brom at the top of the table!
vs Crystal Palace
Oh man, we were lucky in this one. It’s a good thing our defense got a warm up last game because they were put to the test in this one. 23 shots, 13 on target, CLEAN SHEET! Fran O’Connor flashed his aerial ability in this one, heading home the winner just past the hour mark to extend our winning streak to 9 games.
vs West Ham
Well, our luck finally caught up to us. A 1-1 halftime score went unchanged and our winning streak comes to a halt at 9 games. We can still count ourselves lucky to have salvaged a draw in this game as West Ham dominated on the attacking end of things. And while our winning streak is over, our undefeated streak continues as we have now gone 10 games without a loss.
And there goes the undefeated streak. We’ve been flirting with disaster and it finally caught up to us. We already knew how congested this month’s schedule was going to be, but without Chris Devaney to spell our other center backs I think fatigue finally got the best of us. I opted to go with my regulars with mid-80s stamina instead of dipping into the reserve team. Barnsley took us to task all game long defensively and we were unable to come back after giving up an early 2nd half goal.
What a difference one fresh player makes! Chris Devaney was healthy enough to start and his energy translated to much better defensive play across the back line. So even after only two days rest after losing to Barnsley we found a way to grind out a 1-0 victory to get back on the winning track before the end of the year.
Our marathon month has finally come to an end. After playing games nearly every three days I was happy to get through this game injury free and the fact that we managed a draw with so many players feeling fatigued was icing on the cake. Two of our most reliable team aspects shone through – the defense playing solid and Adam Birchall starting and scoring a goal. This puts us on a nice little two game unbeaten streak to close out the month.