Bore da! As a Welshman myself, born nearer to the Swansea side admittedly, victories over the Welsh pair of teams did add a certain something extra over your English teams. The 6-1 win at the Vetch Field in 1989 where our loyal faithful sang a little ditty just for me "We've a Taffy in our end..." - damning with faint praise, I guess, but I digress.
Our latest soggy defeat was our fourth in five and the sixth away loss in seven attempts, but at least we scored, right? Unfortunately, as seemingly is the trend, if we don't score first then we're on a slippery slope.
According to this rather horrific stat we've not scored first in seven of our nine away fixtures and only managed to gain a solitary point from a position from when conceding first away from home. And the worst until last, we have amassed a whopping average of 0.14 points per game as a result. Only Sheffield Wednesday saves us from propping up the rest of the division with this alarming number. Sorry about that, Owls, you're actually worse! Ah, nothing like a bit of Schadenfreude to mask a disaster...*sigh*. (And yes, we're even lower than Blackpool. Good grief).
Back to the game itself, we did actually hold the lion's share of possession - 53% in fact. (At half time, this stat was a mind shifting 67%, which is probably a record this season for us.) And the good news doesn't end there, oh no readers, I have more glints of positivity. We bested City in tackling (66% complete), passing (78%), aerial duels, (12% better), more crosses (21), oh just about every sodding stat apart from cards and those important goals. They win stuff, apparently.
Of course, what we cannot gloss over is the utter nightmare of an evening that was suffered by Alex Pearce. The academy product suffered the same fate as per Jonathan Woodgate on his debut for Madrid, an own goal, and being sent off in the same game, albeit this was on a wet weekend in Wales, but otherwise the parallels are Real. (Ayethankyoo, I'm here all week...)
I think I'd better end the points on Pearce on a good note, otherwise if I delve into his pitfalls further I might need further therapy. He did actually complete 100% of his aerial duels in the 45 minutes he calamitously completed in Cymru. Can't say fairer than that.
Whilst trying to find some semblance of something good out of the game, we did address a balance with the return of Garath McCleary. Praise be!! Finally, for the first time since Christendom, we've attacked (and I use that term advisedly) down the right flank as much as the left. What is also as remarkable is that this 40% balance was re-addressed in just 45 minutes! He's not our saviour or anything, is he? No, don't be silly, Bobbins.
Whilst this is a much needed improvement, the problem (as if we only have one of them!) is one of penetration. Of all of our attempts on goal, only 38% of our attempts were inside the box. So, basically we're saying that 62% of the time we were pretty much hitting and hoping. Is that an actual tactic? I can't imagine it would be. But if it is... well, gawd 'elp us. This would indicate that the message from the management either just isn't getting through or that the belief also is in short supply.
Where to we going? (That's a Welsh thing!)
If we look ahead to our next fixture against Norwich, we can but fear the worst once again. Norwich are sixth in the table for winning after scoring first. If that is anything to go by, and as has been learned, it's a pretty good indicator for us, then we had better hope that our long range shooting improves markedly...or any shooting at all really.
Whichever way you look at its, we appear to have little confidence of late and even less away from home. Perhaps the return of McCleary can be the catalyst to better things, but it would not within the realms of fantasy to suggest that a heavy defeat against Norwich could end the Adkins era. Ofnadwy! (That's dreadful, by the way!)
Stats courtesy of Soccerstats.com, Squawka.com and WhoScored.com