by Paul Rainford Blues’ Football Captain The humbling defeat against Team Bath in the National BUSA knockout competition has certainly given the team much to ponder, not just in terms of what we expect to achieve for the rest of this season but also what might lie in store later. Bath finished runners up in the BUSA Premier South Division this year and they boast a team containing players on scholarships who perform a very high level, both physically and technically. They are one of the flagship football projects that Sport England has spent much time and money cultivating in order to improve the quality of football provision at British universities. If we win our playoff match next week, they will also be a team that we will have to compete with on a regular basis. On Wednesday’s showing that would present a formidable task for the Blues. Granted, we were missing four regular players from our starting line up, but the nature of our first half capitulation will certainly force Martin Keown to seriously assess our squad personnel and tamper with certain aspects of our style. We simply failed to compete in the defensive third and conceded four goals that were almost carbon copies of one another, with lofted crosses to the back post being headed home by one of either the Bath strikers or the wide players making a run inside from the wing. Going forward, we put together a few nice passages of play, and Toogood and De Walden were a constant threat to their somewhat cumbersome centre-halves. But our inability to stem the flow at the other end of the field ensured that the endeavour of our strikers counted for very little, as we went in at half time demoralised and facing up to the prospect of playing only for pride in the second half. To the team’s credit, a much more spirited performance was displayed after half time, but by that time the game was lost. We were fundamentally undone by a lack of structured team shape, a lack of a competitive spirit and a lack of concentration. This performance was totally out of character with the way we have played up until this point in the season and one must not make too many hasty decisions or changes on the basis of one result. However we will certainly be looking for a positive response from our players in training. We will not recover from this and get back to winning ways by wallowing in self pity or crumbling under self-doubt. I know that we are better than we showed today and we have to prove that in our playoff against Exeter next week.
He also thought there should have been a couple of minutes more time played because there was an injury, there was a booking and the referee was entitled to add on time. Sligo defeated the Premier County 2-14 to 1-16 at Semple Stadium in the second match of the new season yesterday.Tipp’s hopes of victory were hindered by the sending off of Jimmy Feehan early in the second-half as well as by the injury suffered by Philip Austin.Tipp manager Liam Kearns felt the two yellow cards were a bit harsh adding it was “a crucial decision” but that’s life and it “went against us but we just have to live with it”.
Here’s the top transfer-related stories in Thursday’s newspapers…Liverpool want Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira on a free transfer, according to reports in Spain. The midfielder is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with Liverpool now and Brendan Rodgers is keen to wrap up a deal quickly as Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are also keen on the vastly experienced German international. (Liverpool Echo)Brazilian defender Danilo has turned down a new contract at Porto – and that has put Liverpool and Manchester United on red alert. (Daily Mirror)Manchester United are preparing to move for Nathaniel Clyne as soon as the transfer window re-opens. The ambitious Southampton full-back is keen on a move to Old Trafford to follow in the footsteps of Luke Shaw. (Daily Mirror)Kevin de Bruyne has suggested he could be keen on a move to Manchester United. The 23-year-old playmaker has starred for Wolfsburg since moving from Chelsea and is attracting interest from a host of clubs across Europe. (Daily Express)Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett is on the verge of agreeing a new two-and-a-half-year contract at the club. (The Times)Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour claims Tottenham want to sign him. Tunisia international Abdennour, 25, has been linked with a £5million move to White Hart Lane this summer. (Daily Mirror)Aaron Lennon is keen to seal a permanent move to Everton in the summer following his loan move from Tottenham in January. (London Evening Standard)West Ham are tracking Ghanian midfielder Bernard Mensah. The 20-year-old midfielder is currently at Portuguese club Vitoria De Guimaraes, who have also had interest from Juventus in a part-ownership deal. (Daily Mirror)West Ham are also giving a trial to Swedish striker Robert Lipovac. The 18-year-old plays for BK Hacken but his club have given him permission to visit West Ham this week where he is training with the club’s U21 squad. (Daily Mail)Queens Park Rangers defender Darnell Furlong is wanted by a host of Premier League clubs including Newcastle, Sunderland, West Brom and Hull. (Daily Mirror)And here’s the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…Exclusive – Former Arsenal star slams Champions League display – ‘Where’s the leadership?’, new‘The best years are still ahead for Petr Cech’, hails Arsenal goalkeeping legendReports – Juventus run rule over Man City man ahead of Pogba departureSensational report! Man United star ‘nears Real Madrid switch after falling out with Van Gaal’Teen sensation admits delight at Manchester City linksBarcelona legend still tops transfer target list for New York CityReports – Liverpool target moves step closer to Inter Milan switchPogba Mark II? Is this the latest Manchester United starlet to join Juventus?AC Milan join Newcastle and West Ham in fight for French starletBlow for Newcastle! Inter Milan offer Magpies target two-year dealBoost for Premier League suitors! Palermo president confirms talks over striker saleMan United transfer blow! Top target hints at Juventus switchReports – Schalke to battle Arsenal for Real Madrid man