Of all the clichés used in football, “it was a game of two halves” has to be the most over-used, yet the most apt to describe certain games. That brings me onto Birmingham City v Peterborough United. Back to league action after a two week international break both sides, whom both sit in the top half of the table, were looking to get some points on the board at the start of what is a heavy winter fixture list.
It was the home side who looked the more astute and attacking outfit, and thanks to the international break Blues seemed fresh and came out the blocks straight away. It took just three minutes for them to calve out their first chance. David Murphy, back in the team after an injury to Liam Ridgewell, put in a cross which met Jean Beausejour’s head but the man who had been sent home from international duty after excessive drinking was unable to guide the ball home.
Blues continued to pose a real attacking threat and the crowd became louder as their team began to press and press; putting a string of passes together and creating space for themselves as they kept possession easily and warded off any oncoming counter-attacks from the Posh. The front two of Marlon King and Chris Wood were as lively as ever, and the former was denied several chances to put him team ahead. However Blues’, and Marlon’s, persistence prevailed in the 22nd minute of the game. Chris Burke began the move with a pass to Beausejour, and the Chilean found team mate Murphy who, in space, was able to cross the ball low and hard into the box where King was waiting to side foot the ball home. It gave Blues a lead they deserved, and they looked to be adding to it sooner rather than later with Burke, Beausejour and Murphy all causing considerable problems for the Peterborough back line.
There was no let-up after half time as Blues again hit the ground running and picked up where they left off: in the ascendency. Murphy again was causing problems for Posh and almost doubled Blues’ advantage, but he managed to head Burke’s cross just wide when it would have been easier to score. And later he came to rue this missed chance. Peterborough, after several substitutions by manager Darren Ferguson, began to step up a gear and get into the game; and with half an hour left to play the got an undeserved goal courtesy of a stunning free kick scored by Grant McCann.
With time to get back into the game Blues still pressed, but the chances they created just could not find the back of the net and they were left to rue their missed chances in the first half; where they should, and could, have been at least 3-0 to the good.
The game ended with a whimper, unable to find a winner and unable to secure another three points. Nevertheless, it was an overall encouraging display and the statement of intent made by Chris Hughton’s side is what we’ve been calling for: attacking play at every opportunity. If we carry on creating chances and playing this way, the goals – and the points – will keep on coming. With the fixtures coming thick and fast there's no let up for Blues; who entertain Burnley at St. Andrews tomorrow. Fresh from a 2-1 loss against Leeds, the Lancashire outfit will be looking to ruin Blues' unbeaten home record, where as Blues will be hoping to maintain their near-perfect home form, where they have only conceded two league goals all season.
Full Time: BLUES 1-1 Peterborough United
Goal Scorers: King (22) McCann (61)
Star Man: David Murphy. A rare league start for Murphy who, in most fans' opinions, should be starting ahead of Liam Ridgewell. I agree. His none-stop running and the attacking threat he poses, as well as his defending, means Hughton will have a tough decision to make when Ridgewell returns.
Next Up: Burnley at home - Championship