Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Craig Gardner: Five Minute Man... and the rest

Hleb must have wondered what he’d got himself in to at the weekend when he saw his new side lose 3-1 to relegation candidates and local rivals West Brom. The same could be said again when he walked out onto a pitch of just over 9,000 at St. Andrews last night, being used to crowds of much over 80,000 back in Spain.

At least the score didn’t replicate that of Saturdays, though, as Blues ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over their League 1 opposition MK Dons.

That ‘it’s going to be a long night’ feeling was felt by most in the opening ten minutes. That changed abruptly when Michel pulled up with a knee injury and was replaced by Craig Gardner.

That one man won the game for Blues, and rightly got Man of the Match. As soon as he came on, the game picked up pace, and three goals were scored in quick succession; Gardner fed a great ball to Beausejour who found Hleb who in turn calmly and brilliantly found the back of the net.

The second Blues goal came just minutes later, and it was Zigic who got his first goal in a Blues shirt, and it was Beausjour who provided the cross – who had a superb home debut.

Gardner got a well deserved goal of his own, again just moments later, with one of his trademark long-range shots. Within the space of five minutes, Craig Grdner had effectively won the game for Blues.

MK Dons would have been forgiven for rolling over and letting Blues walk all over them, but credit to them as they were resilient through out, and prevented ahy more Blues goals being scored in the second half, even with chances galore from players such as Derbyshire, Zigic and debutant Jiranek.

The Dons got a small consolation near the end of the game as Wlbraham slotted home with ten minutes left. However a consolation was all it was, as the home team went on to be 3-1 winners on the night, and book themselves a place in the last sixteen of the Carling Cup – where it starts to get exciting!

All the Blues players had a great game; particularly impressing were Hleb – it’s brilliant seeing him in a Blues shirt! Beausejour – he is already proving to be a great winger, even if it was only against lower league opposition. Fahey – who I thought had a good game in his favoured position of centre-midfield. Murphy – who now back from injury has played important parts in both the cup games so far, and of corse the man of the moment Craig Gardner – I think seeing him to us was the best thing Villa have ever done for us.

Full Time: Birmingham City 3-1 Milton Keynes Dons

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