People are forever using the 'bus' analogy. "You wait ages for a bus and then they all come along at once!" Well, we've waited since the 6th February 2011 for a certain bus, and then this week, two have arrived at once.
Coming from behind in midweek, we beat Maribor to stop that unwanted stat from following us around – that we hadn't clocked up an away win since the start of February. However, today we searched for our first league away win since all those months ago at West Ham, and against a struggling Forest side we managed to get it. But not without a sluggish battle.
Playing in a 4-5-1 formation with Nikola Zigic replacing Marlon King and Boaz Myhill back in goal in the place of Colin Doyle, Blues started much more brightly than their counterparts yet failed to create any real danger. The first event of the afternoon was an early, forced, substitution, after Jonathan Spector was fouled by ex-Blue Matt Derbyshire and had to come off, being replaced by David Murphy. Chris Hughton’s injury problems keep on mounting, and his teams’ on the field problems also took a turn for the worst after Forest took the lead ten minutes before half time. After no clear-cut chances for either side, the home team took a somewhat surprise lead after Lewis McGugan’s flicked on corner found its way to Ishmael Miller who headed home at close range, easing the pressure on manager Steve McLaren.
Searching for their first home win of the season, Nottingham Forest began to frustrate a Blues side who lacked creativity and flair. Birmingham’s misplaced passes and inability to find a man that was so prominent in the previous league fixture against Barnsley reared its ugly head again, and the away side found it hard to penetrate the Forest defence as the game went into the second half.
Nikola Zigic and Wade Elliott made way for Marlon King and Chris Wood early into the second half which changed the shape to 4-4-2. Not long after Blues were back on level terms when out of nowhere Chris Burke produced a fantastic 30-yard screamer to make it three goals in three goals for the in-form winger. Fifteen minutes to go: game on.
With the home crowd beginning to get on the back of their out-of-form team, Blues were in the ascendancy, and just four minutes later they were ahead. Again it was Burke involved, this time as provider for loanee Wood who picked up the Scot’s pass and slotted home – with the help of a deflection – another goal to add to his tally for Blues. And it wasn’t over yet. As Blues and Forest fans sung anti-McLaren songs in unison; Pablo Ibanez, finding his feet in the Blues side after two consecutive games, headed forward a ball that was missed completely by the Forest defence. This set Wood away one on one with Lee Camp, and there was only ever going to be one winner. Calm and collected, Wood slotted his second of the game home to send the Blues fans into even more delirium and to further compile the Forest fans’ misery.
As the full time whistle went boos could be heard around The City Ground which seems to be commonplace this season. On and off the field problems have created worrying times for all Forest fans, but as Blues supporters we can rejoice after another away win, and, although it wasn’t the most spectacular nor encouraging of performances, another three points.
So; away wins. Like buses, they do take forever to get here, and although we had to wait seven months for a much coveted away win, two coming along at once has been welcomed by all Blues fans, Blues players and Blues management especially. As have the three points in Europe and the three points in the league. We've got that winning feeling.
Full Time: Nottingham Forest 1-3 BLUES
Goal Scorers: Miller (35) Burke (75) Wood (79) (88)
Star Man: Chris Wood; for changing what was an abject performance and a loss, into an entertaining fifteen minutes and three goals - netting two of them himself. Sign this boy up.
Nex Up: Leicester City at home - Championship