Hitting the ground running is not one of Blues’ strongest points, and that was shown again yesterday as they had to come from behind yet again, but this time to collect all three points, and carry on that all important home form from last season into the new season.
Match of the Day shows as little of Blues games as it can - it appears to be some kind of unwritten rule they have at the BBC - but showing about five seconds (literally) of the first half from yesterday was probably just about right. Both teams created little in the opening 45 minutes, and Blues seemed to be succumbing to Blackburn’s game of keeping the ball in the air; much to the frustration of the Blues crowd. However, both teams did play the first half at quite a pace, making for a rather end to end game.
Starting his first game for the Blues was Nikola Zigic, and it was good to see that we didn’t do the obvious all the time; which would be to hoof the ball up top ‘Allerdyce-style’ and hope Zigic got onto it. On the contrary; I only remember a few occasions that he actually won the ball in the air which is ironic to say the least, given that he was the biggest player on the pitch. He’s much better with the ball at his feet as he has a brilliant footballing brain, and speaking in the programme it’s interesting to note that he said that he will “just fit in with the tactics.” Clearly, this man is intelligent, and is willing to do all he can to play the best he can for Blues, and he is willing to fit into any formation we play.
The second half started much brighter, with Birmingham coming out with all guns blazing. But that wilted a little on the 49th minute, as Blackburn were awarded a penalty after some shirt-pulling and man-handling from Zigic, who took his punishment without any argument; clearly knowing he was in the wrong.
After coming so close to saving Darren Bent’s penalty against Sunderland last weekend, Foster again chose to dive the right way and this time saved the penalty expertly; palming the shot onto the cross bar and away to safety. This was treated like a goal by the Blues fans, who cheered and chanted ’England’s number one.’ He was called into action again just moments later, tipping the ball away for a corner. Blackburn eventually beat Foster, as Nzonzi headed home from the corner.
But only three minutes later, Blues found an equaliser: a brilliant cross from James McFadden found the foot of Craig Gardner, and Blues were back in the game again. The eventual winner came again from that man Craig Gardner, who found the ball at his feet with as much space as he could’ve wished for, only 25 yards out from goal. And after taking the ball on a little he let rip a fierce shot, which trickled past the then furious Paul Robinson and into the back of the net, sending St. Andrews wild again.
After a few nervous moments towards the end of the game, Blues finished the game winners; maintaining their brilliant home form that made sure they finished in the top 9 last season. Although they had to come from behind again, Blues showed their resilience that they displayed countless times last season, and their never-say-die attitude bodes well with all Blues fans… we just wish we didn’t always have to come from behind this often!
Full Time: Birmingham City 2-1 Blackburn Rovers