Monday, 30 August 2010

Draws that feel like a loss

Yesterday was just that. When you go two nil up against ten men, even away from home, you must expect to win, and anything other than that is a failure. You still must search for the third goal, and you must still use your extra man to your advantage… Blues did neither of those things and ended up going back down to the Midlands confused as to where it all went wrong.

The move for the first goal was brilliant; McFadden’s clever pass to slip Bowyer in who ran through the defence to dink the ball across the surface into the path of Cameron Jerome; whose small, but vital, touch found the out-stretched leg of Roger Johnson for his first ever goal in a Blues shirt - something which we’ve all been waiting for, him especially, for such a long time!

Going in front first is not something we do all too often; especially when it’s after four minutes. You’d think we would slip up after that, as of corse, this is Birmingham City. But credit to the team; they were great in the first half: keeping Bolton at bay and having a good amount of possession and chances.

And then something that still confuses me now happened: in the 36th minute, Roger Johnson jumped for the ball with Jussi Jaaskelainen. They both got up off the floor, and Jaaskelainen turned to face Johnson and slapped him. Slapped him. One of the most experienced Premiership goalkeepers lost his head and bitch-slapped a player. It was all quite surreal, and Johnson turned away holding the side of his face as Jussi was shown a red card, leaving Bolton a goal down and a man down as they went in at half time - to a chorus of boos aimed at referee Kevin Friend, who had sent off one of their players for near assaulting an opposition player… (no, I didn’t get why they were booing either.)

Five minutes into the second half of the game and Birmingham were two up; McFadden put in a neat cross which found Jerome who, seeing his team mate Gardner in a better position than him, very unselfishly passed the ball into his path, who took two attempts to get the ball into the net before he ran off pumping his chest in front of the Blues supporters.

Bolton were down but certainly not out, and they produced a couple of saves from England-number-one-hopeful Ben Foster, before they eventually got the ball in the back of the net. A rather questionable penalty was awarded to Bolton after Johnson seemed to foul Davies. Davies himself stepped up to take the penalty and expertly slotted the spot kick away, and for you statisticians out there: this was the third penalty in a row awarded against Blues in their first three Premier League games this season.

With less than ten minutes left on the clock, Bolton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area, after two Bolton players fouled each other (I’ll leave it to logic to figure that one out) and ex-Blues player Robbie Blake took his opportunity to equalise; and that he did.

With a few frantic efforts from Blues in the dying minutes, they couldn’t find that all important winner, and the full time whistle was blown, leaving Blues wondering why they let a two-goal lead slip, and the rest of us wondering the same.

Full Time: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Birmingham City

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