After seemingly wrapping up the three points after 57 minutes, Blues were the masters of their own downfall as they conceded two goals in quick succession to only pick up a point against bottom half of the table side Derby County. Their second home game in as many weeks had another miserable outcome, which felt more like a loss than a draw, and the dejection on the players’ faces at the full time whistle showed it all.
Acquiring the services of Peter Ramage and Caleb Folan – as well as Chris Hughton’s son Cian – before the transfer embargo was ordered after failing to get our accounts in on time, meant that the squad was now much stronger and ready to cope with the last leg of the push for promotion and to maintain a play-off place.
The disappointment of last week’s unfortunate defeat seemed to have been brushed under the carpet by the players as they dominated the opening stages of the game, with Derby rarely getting a sniff at goal and Boaz Myhill seemingly unemployed for the first half. And with less than twenty minutes played, Blues took a deserved lead. Jordon Mutch’s short corner was played to Andros Townsend who cut inside the oncoming Rams defender and shot at goal, with the deflection falling straight to Erik Huseklepp who had the task of easily slotting home to score his first goal in a royal blue shirt.
Creator of the goal Townsend impressed all afternoon, and was instrumental on the wing; skipping past every player he took on with ease and creating havoc for the Derby defence. And the Spurs loanee almost got his first goal for his new side too, but he saw his shot was cleared off the line just in time to prevent Blues from doubling their advantage.
But the home side didn’t have to wait long for that second goal. It was Townsend again the creator, who fed the ball into the path of Marlon King, and the forward added to his tally for the season with a smart finish with just over half an hour left to play.
Looking to be in cruise control, Blues seemed comfortable to go on and finish the game off. But two Derby goals in the space of five minutes, first from Steven Davies and then Theo Robinson, completely shell-shocked them, and they couldn’t muster a recovery, despite an onslaught of Frank Fielding’s goal for the last five minutes of the game. Credit must be given to Derby for an assured come-back, but Blues were largely at fault, especially for the second goal, for switching off at the back.
A controversial moment in the match also saw Nikola Zigic booked for an apparent dive in the penalty area, but replays show that he was caught directly on the knee, and a penalty should have been awarded.
Two disappointing results have left Blues still in the play-offs places – but only just. Concentration now switches to an all-important FA Cup replay against now manager-less Chelsea after their sacking of Andre Villas-Boas yesterday. A home advantage and high confidence will put Blues in the driving seat, but Chelsea may be looking to bounce back from a poor run of results that has left them fifth in the league and outside the Champions League place.