Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Goal scoring issues: resolved

Our problem is scoring goals and that's been our problem for a while now. However in the two games prior to this match we'd actually scored six goals in total, playing the fan-favoured 4-4-2 formation, as a posed to scoring one or maybe even two if we were lucky playing Alex's preferred 4-5-1 layout. Sometimes, the more defensive option is needed, but sometimes; the fans are right. Most of us would rather lose 2 or 3 nil trying to win a game and going all out, than being really defensive all game and just losing 1-0.

Tonight wasn't much different. We set out in a 4-4-2 formation up against Manchester City's tremendous attacking line-up of 4-3-3, with Silva, Tevez and Dzeko all starting up front. Scary, but nothing should phase Blues nowadays. Unfortunately though, we let Man City get a very slopping goal in the first few minutes coutosy of Carlos Tevez and some sloppy defending. The one thing you don't do is let Silva and Tevez have their own way, and we did just that, and left only ourselves to blame.

Never to be shot down though, we kept going at it, and eventually got the equaliser through Nikola Zigic, who had looked lively all game. After coming close with an excellent but casual volley minutes before, Zigic took advantage of some questionable Man City defending from a Bentley free-kick and slide the ball through Joe Hart's legs to put the Blues on level terms.

In between Zigic's chance and Zigic's goal was a heart stopping moment: Barry Ferguson turned and fell to the ground in agony. From where I was sitting I could see the pain on his face, and it did not look good. The whole ground as one watched with their heart in their mouths and their head thinking about the Carling Cup final and relegation battle, and watched on as Sir Barry eventually rose to his feet, limping slightly, to carry on with the game. Relief all round.

There was another, more serious, injury later on in that half which saw seven minutes added time. Micah Richards and Nigel De Jong collided, leaving Richards out on the floor with a scary head injury, and was stretchered off with Kolo Toure coming on to replace him.

After playing well Blues were again the masters of their own downfall, conceding a free-kick right on the edge of the area. I said before Kolarov took it that he would score. I was right, and he did score. The wall wasn't strong enough for his bullet of a shot and we should have been aware of that. So we had to do it all over again in the second half, yet again!

If we started the first half in the same way we started the second half we would be laughing. Not for the first time we came straight out the blocks and went for it. Bentley and Carr were a joy to watch down the right hand side and an equalising goal came agonisingly close a number of times. Kevin Phillips came on to save the day again, and gave a little helping hand towards the goal by winning a penalty.

When I first saw it, I thought we were lucky but after seeing replays you can see why the referee gave it. Add that to the fact we've had some complete stonewallers turned down this season, not I nor any other Bluenose cared about the nature in which we were awarded this penalty. Joe Hart did his usual distracting techniques but Craig Gardner gave him the eyes and blasted it down the middle to equalise. After that, we honestly could have gone on to win it, but City came so close at the death with yet another free-kick from Kolarov who shot just inches wide.

Also, it was great to see England's number two back at St. Andrews last night. He came, he conceded, he danced. And he also left with a black eye! There's only one Joe Hart!

In the end it was a great result and a good game, which either team could have won in the end. From our point of view it was a great point, and we'll take that performance and the two that came before it into Sundays 'six pointer.' And hey, we score goals now! What's there to worry about...

Full Time: Birmingham City 2-2 Manchester City

Thumbs up top the guy who jokingly shook the hand of every steward in front of block 6.
Thumbs down to the snatch squad who fronted up to him and frog marched him out.

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