There was a time where we could barely muster a goal away from home, let alone a win. But the past few days have given us a passage into the fifth round of the FA Cup, three valuable league points and eight goals to celebrate.
First a tough test at Bramall Lane proved to be a much more straight forward victory than expected. After a shaky start Blues cruised to a 4-0 win, with Nathan Redmond starting the scoring on 18 minutes when his boot connected with Jordon Mutch’s corner and found the back of Steve Simonsen’s net. Blues doubled their advantage twenty minutes later, this time lone striker Adam Rooney got on the end of Chris Burke’s ball to add to his goal scoring tally for the season and stake his claim for a regular place in the side.
The Championship side were comfortable in possession and you could only see them scoring more goals. Their third came on the 58 minute mark; Wade Elliott broke from midfield and unleashed a shot from 20 yards out before running off in celebration in front of the 4,100 Brummies who had made the short trip up to Sheffield. Blues gave their fans even more to sing about with a Brazil-esque goal 12 minutes from time. After a succession of thirteen passess – all met by ‘Ole!’from the away fans clearly enjoying their day out – David Murphy slid the ball into the box with Rooney in the right place at the right time to finish off a perfect move.
Blues had some late defending to do to prevent a late consolation goal for the League One side, but due to their desire to keep a clean sheet as much as they want to score a goal, the Midlands outfit were able to keep their four goal advantage intact, setting up a tough but much welcomed away tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the next round.
Just a couple of days later Blues returned to league action, where their promotion push was boosted massively after coming from behind to win 4-1 against Leeds United. The home side started the game on the front foot and went ahead just before the twenty minute mark, courtesy of Ross McCormack’s low shot in the penalty area which crept past Boaz Myhill.
But a resilient Blues fought back to claim their second away victory in Yorkshire in just three days with Serbian striker Nikola Zigic, who has been linked with numerous moves away from St Andrews during the transfer window, bagging all four of his teams’ goals. The first came just on the half hour mark, with a headed goal from close range, which allowed Blues to play with more confidence again as they were back on level terms. His second and third goals came within three minutes of each other; both from short distance and both showing just how much belief the players in the side have to turn the game on its head.
But Zigic wasn’t done there; his fourth and final goal came with just twenty minutes left of the game, and it was another headed goal as the giant Serb towered over the Leeds defence to score again, before being substituted for Adam Rooney, another striker on top form at present.
Blues saw out the game to record their fourth successive away victory and remain unbeaten in 2012. A phenomenal season just gets better, and a tough test against Southampton on Saturday will more than test the spirit of Hughton’s men.