Sunday, 16 January 2011

No bragging rights this time

This time last year if you offered me a point against the Villa I would have say ta very much and bit your hand off for it. As it's been this season, in the two league games we've played we've taken a point from each of them and I want more. Just like in the reverse fixture back in October; today, we could have won. 1-1 was probably a fair result in what was a hard fought contest in a game that was brilliant for the neutrals to watch, but Blues fans couldn't help coming out of that game feeling a little angry that we didn't get more than a point.

After his mistake midweek against West Ham you'd forgiven Ben Foster for being a bit cautious, but my life he started shakey. Trying to skill the Villa players instead of clearing it isn't the way to go Ben! In fact, the whole team started pretty shakily, and the first five minutes of the match felt like a lifetime.

We soon got over that start though and began to get into the game, but not quite on top. Villa hit the bar four or five times and we were lucky to get away with some slack defending. We did have chances of our own however, and the link-up play between Hleb and Bentley was brilliant at times, and Bentley's running down the wing with Carr was excellent.

Derbyshire had to run the line himself due to Jerome's absence through injury, and nearly made it 1-0 after Gardner's persistence allowed him to cross the ball, only for Derbyshire to miss kick, and the ball ran past him. This was the best chance of the half for Blues.

It was an end to end game and it was quite an open affair, but it took until the second half for the deadlock to be broken. Bentley's free kick was passed out to Gardner who had a shot on goal, which deflected around the box for a while until the outstretched leg of Roger Johnson fired it home for Blues, for the defender's first ever goal at St. Andrews (for the home side, anyway!)

The place erupted into song and Blues continued to keep possession and have chances on goal. It could have very nearly been two nil soon after when Derbyshire ran into the box but his shot was palmed just off the line by Friedel and there was no one in a Blues shirt in the box to pick up the ball for what would have been the easiest tap in ever.

Blues were later made to rue their missed chances with just 20 minutes left. Albrighton's cross into the box was cleared only as far as James Collins who had the easy task of firing it home for Villa, with a deflection off Ridgewell along the way. Blues lack of clinical finishing punished them, and after looking at picking up a vital three points, they had to do it all over again as the away side were back on level terms.

Both teams had chances to win it at the death. Delfouneso's rocket shot was saved by Foster and then hit the bar, and Zigic's header went through the hands of Friedel but then out of play - must to the relief of the travelling Villa supporters.

And that was that. Honours even in the third second city derby of the season, and a relegation battle still on hand for both teams. There's a long way to go yet.

Full Time: Birmingham City 1-1 Aston Villa

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