Only when the dust settles on season 2016/17 will we know if a point at Wigan on a grim Tuesday night in February was a useful one or if it was two crucial points dropped.
On the face of it, to have salvaged a point from a position in which City have found themselves far too often away from home was worthy, and in terms of resolve there does appear to now be some. Add into the mix a fine John Ruddy save late on from Jake Buxton and there’s an argument right there for it being a decent point.
‘I’m disappointed we did not end up winning the game, because I felt we deserved the three points’, was Wigan boss Warren Joyce’s take on events, although in the crazy world of post-match interviews this was countered by Alex Neil claiming that City were the better side for 70 of the 90 minutes.
It was that type of night.
What Neil also did was throw a six foot plus defender or two under the bus: ‘We can’t be much bigger as a team but you have to go and head the ball away when it comes into your box, It really is as simple as that … Big Mitch loses his marker for his goal but equally he is picking up Bogle for his header.’
That City conceded from two set pieces was no surprise and that the first came from a cross that was not properly dealt with was something that clearly irked Alex, but he continues to tread a very narrow path with his insistence on naming and shaming those who err.
To have singled out the Dutchman for public admonishment seemed, to me at least, a little odd at a time when the ‘all pulling in the same direction’ card is being played. A flea in his ear in the confines of the dressing room, fine – but we didn’t need to hear it. Not least when said Dutchman has made a more than decent start to his City stopover.
In front of him, Yanic Wildschut has had a less eye-catching opening week, albeit last night was always going to be a tricky one. Unfortunately for him it was more Bamford at Palace and Pritchard at Brighton than Lambert at Colchester, but it’s far too early to draw any conclusions as to the success, or otherwise, of his move east.
There have however been odd flashes of what he can offer and I suspect in the months and years ahead he’ll make his mark in yellow and green for things other than having a name that Mark Rivers can’t pronounce.
The big plus from last night of course was that the battling qualities which have revealed themselves of late are digging us out of a hole or two.
Last night was, by all accounts, far from pretty but there was nothing to suggest it was a physical battle that was shirked and to have found themselves 2-1 down from a position of supremacy and then not meekly surrender was a step forward in itself.
The trick of course is to not be too fragile in the first place but we have to accept that if we are to continue this good run and make a real fist of getting into the play-offs it will be done in spite of a defensive set-up that has a tendency to concede soft goals. A few good, sound solid performances have the ability to unravel quickly – as we rediscovered last night.
It’s stating the obvious, but whichever division City play their football in next season, this is one area that needs serious surgery over the summer.
So, two points dropped or a decent point gained depends on how you perceive the emptiness or fullness of your glass but no-one can question that 10 points from the last 12 is more than decent.
We suffered a jolt last night, nothing more, but still have momentum and with Forest pitching up on Saturday a chance for that to build. We can still do this.
On the Ball City…