Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Kings of Comebacks

Contrary to what Match Of The Day lead you to believe, it wasn't actually West Ham Versus no one for the first 60 minutes. Although at times it did feel like that. It's true, we didn't get in the game until late on, but we were actually playing in the first half. Just what we were playing at though, I'm not too sure.

The performances in our last three games have been great. At Arsenal we were strong, and can take pride in the fact we almost got a point from there. Against Blackpool we were brilliant, the new formation worked and like Holloway said, we stopped Blackpool from playing their game. At Villa we were resilient, we played with passion and very almost clinched a victory. Today, against West Ham, we were poor. Nothing seemed to work; even what should have been the most talented play on the pitch in Alex Hleb, didn't work. We lacked not only lustre, but pretty much everything else.

We seem to fall into the trap sometimes of starting quite brightly, and then letting the opposition get more into the game. When we do that, like we did today, the other team become more confident. And then we get driven more and more out of the game, until the game is flipped on it's head and we're no longer in control. We pass the ball about brilliantly at times, and you can see the class and the skill is still there amongst the players, but the end product, that final bit of magic; it just isn't there sometimes. And after playing so well in the games prior to this match, you wonder why.

There were two things that happened in the first half: the first was the sprinkles coming on in the first when West Ham were on the attack - only at Blues! - it was comical and gave the crowd something to smile about at least! The second was that the Hammers nearly took the lead - and most of the crowd thought the ball had gone in the back of the net - but Ben Foster managed to tip the ball onto the post, which rolled across the goal-line to Scott Dann who booted it out of play. Chants of 'England's number one' rung out around the ground from the home support, and rightly so.

It was a game of few chances for Blues, and so West Ham deservedly took the lead just after half time. It came through a quick move that split the defence and allowed Frederic Piquionne (remember him?) to slide the ball past Ben Foster, who could do nothing but stand there and watch the ball go past him.

It got even worse for Blues exactly 10 minutes later, when a similar move saw Behrami find the back of the net after being set up by Carlton Cole - who had a good game himself.

McLeish decided to change things around, and bought on Beausejour and Gardner in place of Fahey and Hleb, and Blues began the comeback. Larsson's cross found the head of Zigic, who nodded it down into the path of Jerome, who from a yard or two out calmly hit the ball into the back of the net. Game on.

Blues seemed to wake up then, and again despite what the BBC want you to think, Blues had several chances to make it 2-2, with Beausejour amongst others being denied. Blues found the equaliser in the end though: Larsson's free-kick was parried by Rob Green, into the path of Ridgewell who firmly slotted the ball home and ran away in celebration.

Blues almost went on to win the game with Jerome being denied, but with the way the game went, the home side were more than happy to get a point, but we all know the performance needs to be stepped up for the next game. However, a special mention goes to Stephen Carr - someone who was retired a few years ago - and seemed like the only player who cared throughout the whole game. Super Captain Carr: man of the match. And deservedly so.

Full Time: Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham

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