Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Back To Winning Ways

It was almost a carbon copy of Saturday’s game against Peterborough: we have more than enough chances to put ourselves ahead by some margin, we get a goal, we miss some astonishing sitters and then we conceded early on into the second half. The only difference being, of course, last night we kept on plugging away and scored a last minute equalizer which, on the whole, and over the course of two games: we deserved.

Going 1-0 up after just two minutes thanks to a perfectly placed shot from Jean Beausejour, the first half was, for the second game running, heavily dominated by the home team. The early goal meant we had ample time to go two or even three up before half time, and Nikola Zigic – much more lively after his static substitute appearance at the weekend – came close to doubling the advantage, heading just wide from a David Murphy free kick. Strike partner Marlon King was also left blushing, missing an open goal after some great solo work from Zigic, and it seemed easier to score than miss.

Blues went in at half time one goal to the good, yet, de ja vu was about to strike. Early into the second half Burnley were awarded a free kick in roughly the same area Peterborough scored theirs from at the weekend. The free kick was taken but cleared for a corner. Sighs of relief could be heard from the crowd, glad they had not witnessed an exact replica of the weekend’s game at St. Andrews. Of course, that was before Burnley scored from the resulting corner, and Blues were back to square one for the second game in a row.

But, true to their anthem, they kept right on, fighting in search for the winner. Keith Fahey and Jonathan Spector kept play moving in midfield and were looking to get the ball out to both the wingers and the fullbacks as Blues continued to put heavy pressure on the Burnley defence. Fahey, who comes under a lot of unfair criticism, had a creditable game and close twice with long range efforts. Burke similarly took on the Clarets’ backline several times but just couldn’t find a way through. The introduction of Nathan Redmond added yet more attacking firepower to Chris Hughton’s arsenal, and the teenager’s mazy runs confused the Burnley players several times, yet when they reached a team mate, the ball still managed to stay out the back of the net. Zigic missed another great opportunity to score after some great work by Redmond on the left hand side. The youngster wipped in a ball that went straight to the back post where Zigic was standing but the Serbian, being pushed by a Burnley defender, headed agonizingly wide.

The goal just didn’t seem to be coming and it looked to be like two points dropped again at home. But, as the three minutes were put up on the board, Blues finally got their lucky break. Murphy’s cross from the byline found an unmarked Burke in a busy 6 yard area, and the Scot managed to fire home; running off in jubilation towards the bench as soon as the ball left his foot.

Blues finally got what they deserved and will be looking to repeat the same performance – of not just dominating but picking up the three points too – in their next few fixtures, which include three tough away games on the bounce: away to first Blackpool, Braga in the Europa League and then Cardiff the following weekend. So it was a relief to finally get back to winning ways, and even if it was frustrating at times, you can’t help but admire the football we’re watching this season.

Full Time: BLUES 2-1 Burnley
Goal Scorers: Beausejour (2) Bartley (49) Burke (91)
Star Man: Although Nikola Zigic recieved man of the match in the ground, I felt that Chris Burke deserved it more. His tireless running up and down the wing, his excellent link-up play with Stephen Carr and the two central midfielders, his ability to take on players and beat them in the tightest of spaces and for his much-deserved last minute goal. Burke will tear you apart, again!
Next Up: Blackpool away - Championship

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