yesterday marked not only out first win since the middle of march, but it also made sure we kept up the unbeaten home record, stretching all the way back from september.
the score line could've been much worse from burnley's perspective, so it is somewhat frustrating that we didn't take more of the chances we had as it could've, and should've, been about 3 or 4 nil to blues.
with it being most likely the last time joe hart would ever play at st.andrews in a blues shirt, most of the first half was a love-in session for the goalkeeper, with the whole ground singing to him/at him for the majority of the game: england's number one, stand up if you love joe hart and f*ck man city and stay at the blues were amongst the favourites.
with chucho back in the team we had abit more pace upfront, which was visible from the off. the deadlock was broken on the 29th minute: larsson's cross found the head of lee bowyer, who aimed it towards goal. the burnley defence were spectators as the ball hit jerome and deflected off the heal of keeper brian jensen, eventually ending up in the back of the net. a scrappy goal, but a goal none the less.
it is easy to see why burnley are top of the fair play league; the play nice stuff, but don't really do much and don't really get stuck in. they passed it around quite nicely, but blues can do that too - and make an end product out of it aswell. you could see the gap between the two teams, and it's a large one.
blues found the back of the net again on the 41st minute. blues got a freekick and mcfadden cleverly found roger johnson on the back post, who headed it across goal for it to fall to birthday boy chucho, who will not have scored a more simple goal in his life - he chested it into the back of the net and ran away in delight upon scoring his first ever goal at st. andrews - much to the disappointment of roger johnson, who thought the cheeky striker had nicked his goal, but on replays it shows johnson's header was going across the goal, and never into it.
half time: blues 2-0 burnley
the atmosphere was raised somewhat in the second half by the blues fans, to the best as it has been all season at home. it was brilliant to see everyone just having a good time. blues had pretty much secured the win in the first half, and for all the possession burnley had, they looked pretty clueless as what to do with the ball - which has been an obvious problem for them for the majority of the season. blues however had chances galore - chucho and jerome both could of had hat-tricks, and seb larsson could've also had a goal for himself when chucho cleverly crossed in the ball for larsson to volley powerfully just wide of the target; it would've been a brilliant goal!
michel came on for mcfadden in the latter stages of the game, and made some neat touches, passes and interceptions which showed us why mcleish invested in the spaniard, and why he will have a big part to play in the team next year. another substitution followed as stuart parnaby got a knock in a 50/50 challenge - he'd done well all game and was unfortunate to pick up a knock after all the trouble he's had this season.
winning by a two goal margin just seemed too good to be true for blues - and it was. steven thompson beat the offside trap - to the dismay of gregory vignal! and slotted the ball across goal and past joe hart for a conciliation goal for burnley, which denied blues their first 2-0 win this season.
when 90 minutes came, lee carsley was brought on for what would be his final game at st. andrews, after he announced he would be leaving earlier on in the week. he was handed the captains armband too, which was a very touching gesture.
the final whistle went and a roar went up around the ground. we'd done it. we'd managed to stay unbeaten since september at home, and we'd picked up a much needed, and deserved, win.
full time: blues 2-1 burnley
thousands of fans stayed behind for the lap of appreciation, and the players received a standing ovation from the whole ground as they paraded round with their children and families. it was a change from last season, when a dejected few fans stayed behind to applauded the just as equally dejected players as they fell to defeat at the hands of preston, meaning promotion would go down to the last game.
alex mcleish made a tear-jerking speech, thanking the fans and players for such an amazing season - with abit of scottish humour added in! it was brilliant to see the fans and players so happy after such a brilliant season, especially at st. andrews; a ground which blues have made a fortress this season.
as we move onto the last game with one hand and a couple of fingers firmly gripped onto ninth place, a win against bolton, or maybe even a draw depending on results elsewhere, would confirm our best finish in many years. and for the season we've had, we thoroughly deserve that ninth place finish, let alone a top ten finish.
i can't believe it's nearly over - i don't want it to end!
next up: bolton away, 09/05/10