Whatever happened to Patrick Bamford?

24 Oct

Milton Keynes Dons       0.1          Carlisle United

                                                           (Guy)

There’s only one question that requires asking: why?

Firstly, this is a ground that I had not visited and secondly, I was curious as to how the ‘one that got away’ was doing, especially in light of the reignition of the now tired old debate regarding the lesser spotted 20-goals-a-season-striker: Patrick Bamford.

Few Forest fans have actually seen Bamford playing in the garibaldi what with only a few substitution appearances for the first team. However, he achieved mythical status as he was the proverbial goal machine for the youth team and reserves. But finances got in the way and we were made an offer we couldn’t refuse as Bamford packed his bags for the bright lights and big city. Good luck to him, we sadly opined. He has enjoyed success since then as a loanee and after the exploits of Cox and Henderson on Saturday against Bournemouth, Bamford’s name came up. But could he cut it on a wet Tuesday night against Carlisle? I imagined myself as a scout and set my phaser not to stun but for roundabout alert.

So what could be more entertaining than driving 60 miles on a stormy Tuesday evening to see two teams kick a ball around; neither of which towards I have any affinity? As it turns out, loads of stuff.

The seats at Stadium MK are magnificent: they fold out nicely, are luxuriantly soft and accommodate all shape and size of bottoms. The bars are, quite correctly, screened off from view of the public since all manner of nasty things could occur if anyone sees or even sniffs the slightest smell of alcohol: it is perhaps best if we pretended that it didn’t exist – I think the world would indeed be a safer and better place.

Bamford was the focal point of what seemed a 4-2-3-1 line-up and started brightly. Numerous chances were created by the Dons but none for Bamford and none converted. As the first half wore on though, he grew more anonymous and seemed lightweight in the challenge and failed to hold up play for the supporting and breaking midfielders. His movement kept the Cumbrians’ defence on their toes though. As attacks petered out, Carlisle produced an impressive riposte after neat movement down the flank and tidy finishing.

The second half was punctuated by (and made more entertaining) the mother of all downpours, accompanied by some impressive lightning. Indeed, a collective and rather camp ‘wooooo’ was emitted in awe of the electrical event. Out of frustration, Bamford dropped deep looking to initiate attacks but apart from a glancing header and a wayward shot from distance, he remained rather unspectacular. I was more impressed by the Carlisle right back that seemed to have the Dons left winger in his proverbial pocket. On checking his identity, I was surprised to learn that it was indeed, no less than Pascal Chimbonda. Playing for Carlisle. On a wet Tuesday evening. Blimey. Those seats though.

Of course, one dodgy and ineffectual performance does not make Bamford a poor player. It was a collectively poor performance from the Dons and a textbook away performance by the Cumbrians, who perhaps should have scored more given the effectiveness of their breaks in the second half. It would be unfair and pointlessly hypothetical to judge whether Bamford would have been the answer to our current striking problems.  But without wishing to open up the whole debate, our ‘goals scored’ column remains in good health.

So, another ground ticked off and another one to come in the shape of Yeovil on Saturday: I really do live life in the fast lane. I can be sure of only one thing: when I take my place standing place on the open terrace, I will be pining like a teacher for half-term for just one beautiful minute on one of the those sumptuous seats.

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