Monday, 23 January 2012

Fortress St. Andrews

Birmingham City maintained their scintillating home form with another comfortable win, this time dispatching Watford and beating them by three goals to nil which was enough to push Chris Hughton’s team into the top six and claim a much deserved play-off spot.

Undefeated in 2012 and coming off the back of a seven game unbeaten run, the home side were looking to add to that further against the Hornets and a brace from Curtis Davies followed by a second goal in as many league games for Chris Burke was enough to secure the three points and move up the table in a much desired play-off position.

In blustery conditions it was Watford who had the early chances with main man Marvin Sordell causing problems for the Blues defence. Nevertheless, the chances weren’t clear cut and didn’t bother a rock solid Blues backline, who have kept two clean sheets in the previous two games. The partnership between Steven Caldwell and Curtis Davies has proved to be essential in maintaining Blues’ terrific form of late, and the latter of the two also had a major impact in what happened at the other end of the pitch. As the game approached half time, Chris Burke’s great work in midfield was rewarded when his pass round Keith Fahey, who floated in a pin-point ball that met the head of Davies, connecting well and firing the ball home to put his side ahead.

With the momentum now strongly in favour of Blues, the second half saw a relatively comfortable performance from the side who had scored ten goals already in all competitions in 2012 prior to kick off. Never really known for their free-scoring antics, Blues were two nil to the good on sixty minutes, again with Davies – another unlikely source of goals – the provider. After Burke’s shot was deflected for a corner, Jordon Mutch swung in the ball and the central defender rose above the Watford defence and got his head on the end of the ball, netting his second goal of the game and his fourth goal in his last seven games for Blues.

After a spell of possession for Blues there was time for one more goal, this time Chris Burke, who had a hand in both of Davies’ goals, collected the ball in the far right of the six-yard box and fired home to complete yet another victorious afternoon for Blues at St. Andrews.

The victory propelled Blues up a place and into the top six of the Championship. They now sit pretty with 43 points and a more than healthy goal difference of plus 16 – the third best in the division, behind Southampton and West Ham United. A fourth round tie in the FA Cup now awaits Hughton and his team against League One outfit Sheffield United who are also flying high in the league; sitting third behind Charlton and Huddersfield. But, after knocking Premier League side Wolves out in the previous round, Blues won’t be short of confidence when they travel to Bramall Lane and will be looking for their fourth straight victory in all competitions in Sheffield this coming Saturday.

Full Time: BLUES 3-0 Watford
Goal Scorers: Davies (35, 60) Burke (81)
Star Man: Curtis Davies; a brace for a defender is a rarity, especially when he also keeps a clean sheet at the other end of the pitch too.
Next Up: Sheffield United away - FA Cup

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