Sunday, 8 May 2011

10 man Birmingham... again!

Just a few more points. Just three. That was all we wanted against Wolves and we got a man sent off and one point for our troubles. Then again against Newcastle, but this time all we wanted was a point. This time we got a man sent off and came away from the game after a resilient, brave but ultimately failed performance.

The beginning of the match looked promising. As the away team, setting out with a 4-5-1 formation we had a clear game plan of catching them on the break with our quick striker Jerome; set-pieces and hopeful balls up to the lone striker whom we hoped would hold it up until he got support. But we were passing it around quite nicely and had a few chances in the early exchanges.

Not to mention the fact that Steven Taylor - Newcastle's second goal scorer in the game - should have been sent off for his elbow on Jerome, and a penalty which was turned down after a Shola Ameobi handled in the area. It was all looking promising... until the arrival of the 36th minute.

There was a goal-mouth scramble as Blues tried to clear the ball after a thumping shot by Fabricio Coloccini was equalled by the save of Ben Foster, and the ball bounced around the penalty area which was subsequently handled not once but twice by defender Liam Ridgewell. Chris Foy made no hesitation to point to the spot, and the red card was out his pocket equally as fast. Two games in a row; two penalties awarded; and two players sent off.

Shola Ameobi converted the penalty which was tucked in the corner of the net and nearly saved by Ben Foster. But once again Blues were left to rue missed chances and saw themselves 1-0 down and with ten men for the remainder of the game.

Newcastle began to press more and more now that they had the upper hand, and their second goal of the game through Steven Taylor, who headed in from a Joey Barton corner which Seb Larsson, on the line, tried but failed to clear. It seemed like a long afternoon ahead for the travelling Blues.

But credit to the team and their never say die; never back down attitude. A long ball was played up to Jerome who found himself in front of goal with the ball at his feet. The Newcastle defenders did well to distract him from shooting and get the ball from under his feet, but their efforts fell kindly to the feet of Lee Bowyer, whose powerful shot flew past the two defenders and Tim Krul in the Newcastle net, to give Blues some hope that they could get something out the game.

The ten men of Birmingham put on a brave performance in the second half, resulting in a shut-out in a game which they very nearly attained a point from. It was a case of all hands on deck to defend their goal and keeper Ben Foster was on hand to make sure Newcastle didn't increase their narrow one goal lead, with some superb saves to keep his team in the game.

Seb Larsson had a brilliant chance to level the score near the end but he didn't make the best contact with the ball and saw his shot go high and wide over the bar. Matt Derbyshire added to the Blues attacking force late on but it was too little too late for Blues who contributed somewhat to being the masters of their own downfall once again - with Newcastle having the added help of referee Chris Foy falling for all their antics.

A win against Fulham is now needed to secure Premier League survival, with Blues on 39 points and just three points from the drop zone. Along with making sure we get three points, keeping eleven men on the pitch for 90 minutes would also be a very nice achievement!

Full Time: Newcastle United 2-1 Birmingham City

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