Set plays are costing Town

'YET again a player has had a free header inside our penalty area. Yet, I can't remember the last time the opposition gave us a free header.'Jim Magilton on Saturday or Joe Royle last season - take your pick, as both would be right.

By Derek Davis

'YET again a player has had a free header inside our penalty area. Yet, I can't remember the last time the opposition gave us a free header.'

Jim Magilton on Saturday or Joe Royle last season - take your pick, as both would be right. And it is not the fist time either bemoaned the defensive frailty that Town have been afflicted with for some time now.

No matter how many times the defence is drilled in training, or which permutation is on guard duty, the result is invariably the same.

Mistakes from set plays have cost the Blues in half of the games they have played this season, including the League Cup defeat at Peterborough.

In the Championship alone, 10 of the 26 goals conceded have come from either corners or free-kicks.

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Conversely, the Blues have banged in six of their 26 goals from set pieces and a further four from the penalty spot.

No one player has been more responsible than any other defender, and it is not always the back four who have been to blame for not picking up their man or for allowing free headers, but while it is a collective responsibility, the manager has clearly decided individuals he feels have been repeat offenders need to be weeded out.

The errors have proved costly in every game apart from Sunderland when a Jason De Vos own goal from a free-kick didn't affect the result and Town went on to win 3-1 in arguably their best win of the season so far (disregarding Luton due to the Sol Davis factor).

League goals conceded from set plays:

August 5: James Scowcroft scores winner for Crystal Palace in Town's 2-1 loss at Portman Road.

August 12: Patrick Kisnorbo gets a free header at Danny Tiatto's free-kick as he scores opener in Ipswich's 3-1 defeat.

September 23: Jason De Vos nets own goal from Neil McCann's free-kick but Town still beat Sunderland 3-1.

October 14: Kevin Phillips gets above the big men to head in a Jason Koumas free-kick in the 5-1 home defeat by West Brom.

October 17: Liam Chilvers is unmarked as he heads in a Graham Alexander free-kick as Preston come from two down to beat Ipswich 3-1.

October 31: Paul Wotton earns Plymouth a draw after meeting a Tony Capaldi corner, although Town had gone ahead through Sylvain Legwinski's header from Matt Richards' flag-kick.

November 4: Burnley consign Town to a last-minute defeat when Chris McCann is allowed to run free and meet an Alan Mahon cross after a short corner.

November 11: Majdid Bougherra escapes his man to get a clear header onto the end of a Kenny Lunt corner to secure the three points for Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls went ahead when they broke from a Town corner and Marcus Tudgay finished.

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