The League Cup. Two things about the League Cup. Firstly not that many people care about it any more and secondly we’re rubbish at it. These were the things that dominated our pre-game pub talk (well, ok, that and the Poyet saga and the Leeds game and how much German lager you can drink without falling over and just what is the correct amount of cheese on cheesy chips). Just as well as we lost 3-1 and less than 9000 people attended.
I did though. First game of the season for me and all that. It was a chance to catch up with old friends (and new as it turned out) and sit in a new part of the ground since my normal seat wasn’t available.
It was soon apparent as I moved from a very empty pub to the North Stand concourse where I got a pie and pint instantly, that this was not going to be another bumper Amex crowd. I met Darren and Seagulls Anty from the Amex North Stand site and, as we checked the teams, it was also apparent that we’d selected an ‘experimental’ team with Kemy Agusien making a debut, Ince and JFC from the development squad starting and Ashley Barnes leading the line. As kick off approached I bumped in to Raf, an old mate I used to stand with at the Goldstone and we resolved to sit together if we could. Not too much problem there. We pretty much had the choice of the whole North Stand.
What we needed was a relatively comfortable game for our confidence with ideally no further issues in the troubled full back position. We started brightly enough though Newport always looked like giving us a very good game and we were playing far more long balls than under Poyet. We needed to score. Luckily I needed to point percy at the porcelain, an event that pretty much guarantees we’ll score. Sure enough as I emerged back on the concourse Barnes gave us the lead. I made it back up in time to see the replay.
From here on in until the 67th minute we looked comfortable but failed to take any further chances. This was unfortunate as the game was about to change. As the ball was played out towards the West Wing (see what I did there) Inigo Calderon and Newport captain Anthony both dived in. It looked 50/50 or, if anything, that Anthony was the aggressor but Calderon was ok while Anthony suffered a suspected broken leg (talking on the train home to someone who was closer to the incident they said they heard a crack – nasty). The referee played the injury instead of the incident and sent off Calderon. So much for getting through without full back issues.
We were still discussing the challenge when Newport equalised and I therefore missed the second goal of the game too. The equaliser took the game to extra time (after nine minutes of injury time) but there was no missing the next two goals. Firstly Danny Crow hit a superb curling shot in to the top corner before Washington was released clean through our tiring defence to round Ankergren and tap in to an empty net. Cue mass exodus.
And so our rubbish League Cup form continues. But if that was to be expected we could have done without it costing us a 120 minute run out and our only fit, experienced specialist full back. I wonder now if we will turn our attentions from a long term experienced full back to a loan to shore up a back line that already looks like it’s creaking?
Last season we lost our first league game away from home and got dumped out of the cup by a side lower than us. Ditto this season. The OscarVPoyet-O-Meter is stuck firmly in the middle though it must be noted that Oscar sports the more daring trousers.