Saturday, 8 January 2011

We're on our way

With the team still high on a rare win away on Tuesday, they were looking to pick up another in the FA Cup at Millwall today - and they did just that! Changes were made with Foster given a well deserved rest, Scott Dann made captain and the rest of the defence being dropped to make way for Parnaby, Murphy and Jiranek. The midfield was attacking with Gardner, Mutch, Beausejour and Hleb starting, and Derbyshire partnering Zigic in attack.

The players in the team all had a point to prove, but it was the home side who started better, but they weren't able to convert the chances they had. They paid for their lack of clinical finishing when Blues went on a counter attack in the 17th minute with Beausejour sliding the ball through to Derbyshire who calmly chiped the ball into the net from a wide angel - a top finish from a striker who deserved his chance.

After the setback, Millwall continued to press, but the Blues defence coped reasonably well with what was thrown at them, and again Millwall were made to rue their missed chances when Blues got their second of the game: Beausejour again helped in the making, as Derbyshire was brought down on his run towards goal after a neat ball through from the Chilean. Murphy stepped up and beautifully looped the ball over the wall and into the net to give the away side a comfortable lead.

Blues were playing with a aura of confidence now and more chances came their way. A Gardner free-kick was parried away and Derbyshire almost got onto the loose ball before it was blocked by a Millwall defender. The shape of the Blues midfield was causing the Lions the most problems; Hleb went wherever he pleased and kept the ball moving, Gardner's surging runs forward gave a real threat to the Blues attack, Mutch's distribution and eye for space was key, and Beausejour had one of his best games in a Blues shirt, always going forward and tracking back when needed.

Milwall got back into the game as the half wore on, and looking for a response got a couple of corners and a handful of chances; with James Henry's shot from far out nearly getting his team back into the game, and an offside goal as well - deemed the correct decision after replays were shown.

But Blues punished the home side again just before half time. Matt Derbyshire was in the right place at the right time once again to finish calmly after a 1 on 1 from a piercing through ball from Gardner. The away side finished the half 3 goals to the good and oozing with confidence.

With Millwall not only looking for a response but now desperately needing one, they came out the blocks quick and had a succession of chances. A penalty was awarded to the home team which was labelled by commentators as "very soft", but maybe luck was on our side as the penalty as struck poorly and Maik Taylor was able to save it, and it was cleared for a corner, which prompted a goal-mouth frenzy, with shots galore and the ball finally being cleared off the line and away to safety. Clearly, it was just not Millwall's day.

With Beausjour searing for the goal that he deserved,it was clear that the fourth goal was not very far away at all. But much to the Chilean's disappointment, it wasn't him that scored it. Fahey, who was substituted of in place of Hleb, put in a brilliant cross on his wrong foot and Jerome who had just came on for Zigic headed the ball home; a brilliant day at the office for Blues. It didn't stop Millwall trying though, and as fans headed for the exits, they got a deserved consolation from Schofield in extra time.

This will do our confidence the world of good going into Tuesday's important Carling Cup semi-final first leg: two away wins on the bounce, we couldn't possibly make it three, could we?

Full Time: Millwall 1-4 Birmingham City

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