Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A Win, A Draw and A Defeat

That's it. Relegation to League One beckons after a two nil defeat to Oxford United in a Pre Season game. Administration by the end of the week too by the sounds of it. That's if you believe the internet.

Fortunately, pre season doesn't determine where you finish at the end of the season, or what happens to your club. But read some of the negativity on the internet at the moment and that's what you'd be inclined to believe.

Admittedly, the situation we find ourselves in at the moment isn't the most flattering, and the extent of that situation will be discovered in tomorrow's Birmingham Mail in which Peter Pannu finally speaks out. Right now, I'd prefer to concentrate what's going on on the pitch - and although we are keeping up form and not being able to find the net, we seem to be getting rather close.

A strong side including Ben Foster back from illness travelled to Oxford this evening where Chris Hughton set his side out in a 4-4-2 formation. In front of a small crowed, Blues found their footing in the game fairly quickly, and began with chances for Keith Fahey and a hefty chunk of possession to boot.

Playing at a higher tempo to that of the weekend against Hereford, Blues were on top. Jordon Mutch had a great chance to put his side into the lead when Akwasi Asante was brought down 25 years out and a free-kick was awarded. Mutch stepped up to take it and the shot sailed just over the bar. Soon after that Blues had another chance to go one-nil up, with Curtis Davies hitting the bar from a Mutch corner - a statement of intent, and just one of many blows the crossbar would face this evening.

With Blues well on top, the signs looked encouraging. Continuing to press, Adam Rooney almost put Blues ahead but fell off balance and his shot sailed over the bar. Following this were two good chances for Oxford, however both were wasted. A strong back-line of Foster, Carr, Caldwell, Davies and Ridgewell impressed, and showed that they don't only look good on paper, but on the pitch too. The half finished with Asante coming close yet again, and with Blues doing everything but scoring in the first forty-five.

With substitutions made at half time, the exchanges in the second half began at a slower pace. With Blues marginally on top, the deadlock was broken against the run of play as Ryan James netted for the Us after coming on as a substitute.

The goal seemed to slow down the Blues' play slightly, so Hughton reacted by introduced Murphy, Valles and Redmond into the fray. It remained a much quieter second half, with Oxford seeing more of the ball. The Us made it 2-0 with just ten minutes of the match remaining. In a wonderful move, Ryan James' ball found Alfie Potter who slotted the ball home and well and truly knocked the stuffing out of the away team.

Ironically, more chances were created and much more positive football was on display today from Birmingham's point of view compared to Hereford at the weekend. Again, Mutch and Gomis impressed, and youngsters who will be heavily involved with the team this season got a chance to show what they are made of - with Asante again putting on a positive display. However, the doom and gloom merchants still have something to feed on as we have only scored one goal during our three-game-long pre season campaign, which has been our achilles heal for some time now and one of the major reasons why we were relegated in the first place.

However, I feel like I should try and focus on the positives from the game. After all, off the field we are getting nothing but negative vibes. It's a bad time to be a Bluenose right now, so hopefully by the time August the 6th comes round, Hughton will have ironed out some of the underlying problems and have a strong squad to begin the 11/12 season. One thing is for sure

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