September 9, 2012
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT OF ALL OF THE CUP COMPETITIONS, THE RESPECTIVE LEAGUE CUPS THROW UP THE EARLY SHOCKS OF ANY NEW CAMPAIGN.
This season has proved to be no exception, both in England and in Scotland.
Reported on the BBC Sport website Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio described their League Cup second round win over Stoke as one of the best results in the club’s history. There is a little matter of the ‘Don Rogers’ League Cup final at Wembley against Arsenal in 1969 1 think it was. I should know; my brother was a Swindon youth player at the time and he got us tickets for the match (My brother is a Rovers fan I hasten to add, then and now). Still, before your time Paolo.
“As a perfectionist I did not enjoy conceding three goals,” Di Canio told BBC Wiltshire, “but we in the first half it looked like Stoke City against Barcelona.” He continued:
“I don’t want to exaggerate, but I have to say this”.
Ok Paolo, please don’t exaggerate, but well done anyway.
Also on BBC Sport Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones praised the ‘professional’ nature of his side’s victory over Fulham.
“They’re a very, very, good side and we use them as one of our models,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield.
Models indeed; perhaps a very good looking side would have been a more apt description! The Owls boss also confirmed that Portuguese midfielder Diogo Amado, 22, has left the club without playing a game.
He joined the club on a free transfer in July but failed to settle in England and has returned to his native country with Estoril.
“Diogo got homesick and it was very difficult for him so it made sense to let him go,” Jones continued.
“If we’d paid money for him it would have been a different situation but there’s no point keeping a player here who isn’t happy.”
League Two Burton Albion pulled off another shock as they beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. I have to say I much prefer ‘Walkers’. Sounds more Leicester and much crispier! Albion produced a fine attacking display to belie their third tier status and reach the League Cup third round for the first time in their history. Leicester boss Nigel Pearson: “I know I made a number of changes but we had players who felt they had not had the number of opportunities they would have liked so far. A number of them had the chance in this match and they have clearly not taken it.” So, not exactly your first team choices Nigel? Was this the reason for the defeat I wonder or at least was it part of it? Yet another League Two Club, Bradford City knocked Watford out as Garry Thompson struck a dramatic late winner. With the game heading to extra time, Thompson drilled home the winner to put the Championship side out. Gianfranco Zola made nine changes to his Watford side and initially they struggled to get a foothold in the game.
The Watford boss reported on the website: “What can I say. It’s tough to take it in but you have to accept it.”
You have to Gianfranco but on your own admission you did make no less than nine changes; I mean, a whole team pretty much don’t you think? Bit like Leicester, you simply cannot take League Two clubs for granted. The term ‘showing the opposition respect’ comes to mind.
The Crawley story seems to run and run. This time it was ex Premier League club Bolton on the end of it. Crawley boast a good pedigree of knocking Championship sides out of cup competitions, having seen off Derby, Hull City and Millwall and somebody else since January 2011.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle told BBC Sussex:
“We made changes and it was important those young players got games.”
More changes then. You would think clubs from the higher leagues would have learned their lessons by now. “We had enough good players to win but fair play to Crawley; having said that we should have seen the game through.
We were in a good position to win but we didn’t manage it.” Quite so Owen, but as you say those young players do need games; any chance of blooding them one or two at a time? The fans, after all, paid their money and turned out in their numbers to watch Bolton play, dare I say. North of the border Kilmarnock were beaten 2-1 by Second Division side Stenhousemuir, Hibernian
were sent crashing after a 2-0 defeat at Second Division side Queen of the South and Raith Rovers caused a major upset against SPL Ross County with a 4-1 victory at Global Energy Stadium.
Early shocks indeed; it must be said that weakened teams seem to pay the price and that lower league clubs should not be taken for granted.