Monday, 27 February 2012

Mixed Results

It’s a funny old game, football.

Such is the demand of the forty-six game a season Championship games come thick and fast, and while on Tuesday Blues were celebrating another fantastic victory over Barnsley, Saturday saw a disappointing defeat and the end to an unbeaten run stretching all the way back to December.

What was most apparent in Tuesday’s clash at Oakwell, and something that has been visible for the last few games, is that we are now much more clinical. Where we were once having 5-10 shots with one or two on target – Peterborough away for example – we now have a much better shots to shots on target/goals ratio.

As such, our three excellent finishes – albeit one handsomely deflected – allowed us to appear a much more clinical side and win the game, with the help of some astute defending. Chris Burke’s deflected shot put Blues ahead in under ten minutes, before an unlikely equaliser from David Cotterill, after the defence had a momentary lapse on concentration and were duly punished.

But Blues found themselves ahead again thanks to a 20 yard shot from Keith Fahey. A man who has booed only months previously had his name sung by the travelling 700 Bluenoses, which is a testament to how much the Republic of Ireland midfielder has changed opinions at St. Andrew’s with his strong performances in the centre of the park.

After commendable performances by all, the home side were limited to chances and as such Blues put the game to bed with twelve minutes left on the clock. Substitute Nathan Redmond beat the keeper from the tightest of angels to seal all three points for Blues and keep their unbeaten run going.

The next couple of days saw two loan singings come in; first, Portsmouth’s Erik Huseklepp was added to Chris Hughton’s charges. The pacey forward left the south-coast struggles with a heavy heart, but determined to do well at his new club. Another addition was made shortly after; this time Tottenham Hotspur’s Andros Townsend joined the ranks, having been on loan at fellow Championship side Leeds United up until his move to B9.

The new signings were set to make an impact as up next at home was a relatively straight-forward match against Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest who, on paper, have a team oozing with talent and experience. The likes of George Elokobi, Dexter Blackstock and Chris Gunter to name but a few. And Blues fans and players alike shouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss this, as they were on the wrong end of a 2-1 score line, bringing not only their unbeaten home run to an end, but their fifteen match unbeaten run to a close as well.

Dexter Blackstock produced the goods for the away side in both halves, whilst sandwiched in the middle was another impressive Chris Burke strike which seemed to offer hope of a victory, before it being snatched away with just under half an hour to go by the team who, ultimately, wanted it more on the day.

Despite the unfortunate defeat, Blues still sit in the play-off places with an extremely favourable goal difference. The FA Cup reply next week may provide a distraction, but it certainly isn’t unwanted. After all, a year ago today was the greatest day in Birmingham City’s history, and another trip to Wembley certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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