And for most of the first half, there was an awful lot that was familiar about the visiting side. It’s never a good idea to successively read two novels by the same author I find; however impressive the first I begin to get irritated by an author’s habits and style when they begin to emerge in the second. And lo… here was a visiting team paying expansive football across the full width of the pitch, rendered get-attable at the back by their refusal to sit back but leaving us chasing shadows for the most part. And Don Cowie at the centre of everything, scurrying this way and that, on the end of crosses as well as providing them and coming close more than once, most memorably a diving header to a right-wing cross that brought a fine save from Loach. The riposte to the fist-chewingly tedious chorus of boos that greeted the Scot’s every touch seemed inevitable. It didn’t come, but to say that we were rather fortunate to be on level terms at the break would be something of an understatement.
The decision to start with Troy Deeney was only a surprise, if at all, for as long as it took for Jordon Mutch to give us the lead on three minutes. Whilst Camp looks thoroughly competent, the defence in front of him was a shambles every time a high ball came into the box. That we didn’t capitalise was down in part to simply not getting quality in often enough, down in part to luck, and down in part to some rather tolerant refereeing that saw Deeney wrestled away from the ball more than once and the safe option of penalising the striker adopted at both ends. Deeney’s card was marked by a number around us from the kick off, but for me he did a decent job of holding the ball up, linking the play and receiving the ball with his back to goal. Clearly an asset.