Saturday, 27 November 2010

A point in London

Who would have thunked it. It's not that we always play bad against London teams, it's that we never get rewarded. Time and time again we play London teams and come back to Birmingham empty handed, but today we finally picked up a point in the Big Smoke, and on the first half performance and the second half defending it was a deserved one at that.

It took us just 19 minutes to break the deadlock; against the run of play too. Alexander Hleb showed his real class for probably the first time this season, and broke from the half way line on a solo-run and unselfishly fed the ball to Seb Larsson who expertly found the back of the net. I have not yet seen this goal but apparently Hleb's run was absolutely magnificent.

The goal really stunned the home fans, and Blues went marginally on top then for the rest of the first half. Ben Foster and his defence were superb and their positioning was excellent as ever; Roger Johnson and Scott Dann, who have been talked up big time for England call-ups this week, dealing with everything in the air that came their way - surely just another reason to add to the list of why Fabio should take notice of them. Blues dealt with the onslaught of Fulham attacks well, and fought back with a few attacks of our own, none of which came to any avail. With Zigic dropped to the bench to make way for Hleb, Cameron Jerome was having to lead the line on his own, and didn't get too many sniffs of a goal himself as the game went on.

The second half started just as the first half with Fulham the brighter team. The two teams are relatively easily matched on paper, but with Fulham's good home form at Craven Cottage - disregarding last weeks heavy loss against Man City - and the fact that they were 1-0 down, they had an incentive to play better in the season half and to go on to find the equaliser: which they eventually found in the 53rd minute.

Blues failed to clear a Fulham corner and Clint Dempsey was there to put it into the back of the net to make it 1-1. It got a little worse for the away side some time after too, as Hleb, who had just hit his form and got back to full fitness, picked up an injury that led him to be stretchered off the pitch. Zigic filled the gap Hleb left and Blues went 4-4-2, but it was very much backs against the wall stuff as Fulham continued a barrage of attacks. It didn't go all Fulham's way in the second half though, as we still had a handful of attacks, with a penalty claim being turned down by referee Howard Webb after Jerome was brought down, and the corner following that being hit against the crossbar by Scott Dann.

Blues kept their heads though and defended till the death. - something which we have just come to take as normality with Blues. They coped with everything Fulham threw at them, and went on to pick up a well deserved point to move them up to 14th in the table - one place above their bitter rivals from 'up the road'.

A point in London? Well, it's more than we got in all our games down there last season!

Full Time: Fulham 1-1 Birmingham City

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