Monday, 22 August 2011

A Tale Of Two Halves

A Jekyll and Hyde performance from Blues yesterday at the Riverside saw them lose a 1-0 lead and leave defeated and deflated by Middlesbrough. Just three days after our first European outing of the season, eight out of eleven of those who started in Madeira began the match on Teeside; however a bright and impressive first forty-five lay ahead for the vi sting side.

Wingers Chris Burke and Nathan Redmond caused the Boro side problems in the opening stages, with Redmond coming close with a freekick and Burke being involved in a move that almost broke the deadlock; weaving his way past the defence he sent in a dangerous low ball which the outstretched leg of Adam Rooney just failed to reach.

Middlesbrough had their fair share of the ball as well with their best chance of the half coming after Keith Fahey, back in the side after overcoming a slight niggle, lost the ball in midfield. Capitalising on the gift Marvin Emnes, who has impressed in the three games so far this campaign, ran at the Birmingham defence and produced a great shot - matched equally by the strong save of Boaz Myhill in the Blues goal.

After enjoying the afternoon on Teeside so far and having their fair share of possession, Blues finally broke the deadlock - from the penalty spot, which is a rare occurrence in the life of Birmingham City. Boro goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, on loan from Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers, brought down Burke in the box and the referee made no hesitation when pointing straight to the penalty spot. Rooney duly stepped up and hit a hard shot right into the left hand corner for his first goal of the season.

Blues went in at the break 1-0 to the good with an impressive first half display under their belts, leaving the near 600 fans who had made the long journey up suitably happy with what they had seen so far. But it was Boro who had the last laugh.

A minute into the second forty-five Curtis Davies made a stupid tackle on the edge of the area, and Barry Robson stepped up to send the freekick straight to the back of the net and to put the home side on level terms.

Boro were then on the up, and capitalising on a tired Blues side they went ahead on the 70th minute, with Faris Haroun narrowly beating the offside trap to calmly put his side 2-1 up. The game was dead and buried a few minutes later by a brilliant 25-yard strike from Malaury Martin which left the Blues side wondering where it had all gone wrong.

With an encouraging first half display and some lovely football being played it is clear what Chris Hughton is trying to do and, as we the fans asked for this kind of football, we should give him all our support - and all our time too. On a budge of zero pounds and zero pence and an already paper thin squad, Hughton should be given time by the fans and after three games we shouldn't be getting on his back. All we can do is look to the next game.


Full Time: Middlesbrough 3-1 BLUES
Goal Scorers: Rooney (36), Robson (48), Haroun (69), Martin (72)
Star Man: On the first half, Chris Burke and Nathan Redmond who worked tirelessly on the wings.
Next Up: C.D Nacional - Europa League play off second leg

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