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ITHICS Fanzine: “Mowbray’s remarks this week have been somewhat removed from reality!”

“The Cardiff game was a massive opportunity to climb up the table, but decisions made by the manager cost us - and that’s the hugely frustrating part of it,” writes Nic Wiseman.

Danny Roberts

Now that there’s been a chance for the dust to settle, my anger has subsided to write something more constructive.

The manner of Saturday’s defeat was hard to stomach in more ways than one.

Eyebrows were raised when the notification from BBC Sport pinged onto my phone with the team news... no Corry Evans or Alex Prichard, replaced with Abdoulah Ba and Dan Neil.

The steel was stripped from our team.

Maybe it could have been foreseen, because some of Mowbray’s post-match Huddersfield comments centred on Alex Prichard’s temperament and characteristics off the field - comments in themselves that were somewhat surprising, given that managers should be protecting their players. To me, it sounded like he was throwing Prichard under the bus a little bit.

Also, his post-Huddersfield comment that it was the worst he had seen the team play since he had been at the club was somewhat head-scratching. Was it a bit of psychology to prevent a young set of players from getting complacent?

I guess another reason for feeling so frustrated immediately after the final whistle against Cardiff was the real prospect of another three points against a mediocre team in the Championship. Indeed, I had called up Total Sport on BBC Radio Newcastle the previous evening all heady and excited at the real prospect of achieving our first back-to-back wins of the season.

So as the game kicked off, we did well in the first few minutes. Cardiff weren’t bringing the usual shithousery that many clubs who come to the SoL to do.

But after the first two or three minutes, it was clear we were missing the steel of Evans and Prichard. I didn’t realise it previously, but most attacking moves start with Prichard spraying the ball about.

Sure enough, in the 13th minute, Cardiff were awarded a penalty and from my vantage point (17 rows up in the north stand), behind the goal, Danny Batth was lucky to stay on the pitch.

The biggest cheer of the day greeted Anthony Patterson’s penalty save.

That was a huge warning. But the team continued to implode and we were lucky to go in at half-time with the scores still equal. Such was Cardiff’s shocking shooting prowess, it’s clear to see they’re why they are where they are in the league.

Half time came, and we all expected changes to be made at the break, a la the Wigan game. Then the manager fixed a system that clearly wasn’t working. That decision won us the game three weeks ago. But, On Saturday, the teams came out and no changes. The game re-started and the same issues were there.

Cardiff inevitably scored. Three minutes later. Cue the Welsh club to put nine men behind the ball, such was their desperation to get a win.

Changes to our team were then made, but it was too late. Breaking down a team a goal up and without a goal threat in our side was always going to be very hard. The Cardiff players were dying for the cause of keeping a clean sheet and were clearly delighted to get the win, you could see how much it meant to them.

Mowbray’s post-Cardiff comments were equally perplexing. He wanted to freshen the side up. What? A side whose confidence was sky-high after a midweek 2-0 win, two matches away from a month break?

Mowbray’s remarks this week have been somewhat removed from reality, and you have to wonder why. The Cardiff game was a massive opportunity to climb up the table, but decisions made by the manager cost us - and that’s the hugely frustrating part of it.

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