Back in the day there was an arcade game called Breakout. It emerged a couple of years after Space Invaders and the objective was simple: put your, 20p or whatever it was then, in the slot and try to batter down a brick wall with a paddle.
If you got through the wall, you could wreak havoc from the other side.
Now unlike some, I’m not going into a tizzy about that rarest of occurrences – a 0-0 for City at home to nailed-on relegation fodder.
Burton were poor, extremely unambitiously poor, but they stuck to their task and as much as I hate to admit it they were reasonably good value for the point they came for. And don’t get me wrong: if that’s their approach to a fixture, fair play to them.
Angus Gunn might as well have been relaxing in a yellow and green deckchair (weather permitting) for all he had to do.
But we couldn’t break them down.
Eons ago my Sunday side used to employ what was then known as “attack and defence” as a training exercise. It didn’t matter what your position was, it was 15 minutes of one and then 15 minutes of the other. Nobody (not even us defenders) relished being “defence”.
Last night’s game reminded me of that in a way, except that with “attack and defence” there is obviously no midfield. And that’s where we came unstuck. We were as flat as a witch’s breast to be honest.
It was one of those strange games where we never, ever looked like conceding – how could we when we’re not being attacked – but equally never displayed the cutting edge that many of us expected.
Quite why Daniel Farke decided not to keep Nelson on along with Jerome to give it the old heave-ho towards the end is beyond my ken. We were comfortable at the back so surely it was a gamble worth taking?
Oh, I’ve just mentioned that we were comfortable at the back. Two clean sheets in a row is worthy of note, I suppose.
I have no idea what a head coach can do to break down a light blue wall ten men strong, but whatever the answer is it did not happen on Tuesday night. When Yanic Wildschut emerged there was some greater urgency, but it was always going to be “one of those nights”.
Maybe if some of Marco Stiepermann’s crosses had gone to the near post rather than being hung up to the far when nobody was there… not that he had a bad game.
Of course we’ve all seen City contrive to lose a game like this via an almighty defensive c*ck-up, usually from a set piece, but I had no fear of that happening yesterday. A point is a point, just as a pint is a pint.
To try and put a positive spin on things, that is a game that Farke will surely have learned from. Burton Albion will not be the only side to employ these tactics at the Carra.
As for the referee’s inaction about the timewasting, that’s a matter best shared between himself and his conscience.
On the way home my mate Paul made what I thought was a reasonable point: even if we had retained Jonny Howson and Jacob Murphy, we still wouldn’t have broken them down.
There was a kids’ game called Frustration around in my youth. I think we’ll all have to take a crash course in it.