Sunday, 25 September 2011

Disappointing Displays

Having won our previous two home league games scoring four and conceding none, there was a right held by Blues fans to expect something of their team yesterday afternoon; but they certainly didn’t live up to such expectations.

From what I saw yesterday I can conclude that Barnsley are a good passing team and came with a purpose; sticking to it throughout, especially in the first half. They marked wingers Chris Burke and Nathan Redmond out the game, they closed down fast and held possession until they could break with force. However, at home we should be able to stop that. In short; we were poor. We couldn’t retain possession half as good as our counterparts could and for me that’s because of our midfield: we are missing a general. Someone like Barry Ferguson who can hold onto the ball and look for a pass, and someone who can keep the ball flowing across the midfield. The loan market should definitely be seen as an opportunity to bring this type of player in, because Jean Beausejour, winger by trade, and Jonathan Spector, who started his career as a right back, are clearly are not the answer to this problem.

But that wasn’t the only negative of the day. We just didn’t seem to get going, and nothing appeared to work for us. At one point in the second half Barsnely played a ball across a busy back-line and it landed at the feet of one of their players. It was one of those days where, if we had attempted that, it would have fell to a guy in a red shirt.

I don’t like to use the referee as a scapegoat, on the contrary; I have admitted how poor we were, but he didn’t help proceedings either. Mr Phillips’ incorrect decisions throughout the game, and his inability to stop play at the correct times frustrated the Blues fans further. It’s one thing watching an inept display for your team, but when the referee isn’t up to standard either, it’s a nightmare. I admire the job they do, because they get countless amounts of stick for it on and off the pitch (like I am doing here!) but they are trained to do a job and should be able to do it up to a suitable standard. Yesterday was far from suitable. Take Barnsley’s goal: the ball fell to David Murphy and The Tykes’ number eleven David Perkins slid in on Murphy who had to jump out the way to narrowly survive what could have been a leg breaking tackle. This meant the ball fell to Jacob Butterfield who, admittedly unchallenged by the rest of the Blues back-line, ran forward a yard or two and scored. A bad decision by the referee which was amongst many of the afternoon.

Likewise, it was an abject performance by players of Birmingham City as well, and up until the last fifteen or so minutes we just didn’t look like scoring. The introduction of Nikola Zigic as a second half substitute, one of the only positives of the game aside from the rescued point we picked up, made a definite change and linked up well with Marlon King. Zigic helped to set up the equalizer; heading down a ball in the area which was cleared out to the edge of the area, and Chris Burke, picking up the ball fired home a deflected shot which found its well into the back of the net and grabbed at least a point for Blues who were at that point in the ascendency.

King almost grabbed an undeserved winner moments later but saw his effort hit the inside of the post, but a point was all that Blues picked up after a disappointing home performance. Lying 16th in the table after seven games on eight points, it is true to say we have had a mixed start. Thus far we have won two, drawn two and lost two whilst playing some very entertaining football, scoring in every game we have played so far in the league, which Chris Hughton should be applauded for. I think now we should be just about finding our level which, at present, isn’t promotion. Fans’ expectations surely now must be lowered, and many are coming to terms with the fact it will be a struggle to get promoted this season. However that does not mean we should expect performances like yesterday’s, and hopefully there will be a big improvement the next time we play.

Full Time: BLUES 1-1 Barnsley
Goal Scorers: Butterfield (33) Burke (86)
Star Man: If I had to pick one I would go for David Murphy who never seems to put a foot wrong in a Blues shirt
Next Up: Maribor away - Europa League Group Stages

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