Sunday, 11 March 2012

Tired and Weary

The busy season seems to be catching up with Birmingham City, who managed to pick up just a point on their travels relegation strugglers Coventry City yesterday afternoon. Although the promotion chasing side held their nerve and salvaged a point after the Sky Blues went ahead in the 70th minute, it was clear to the travelling 5,700 Blues fans that their team looked tired and most definitely weary.

It was a game of limited clear cut chances although both sides had their fair share of attacks. Andros Townsend proved to be the liveliest player in a royal blue shirt once again, causing trouble throughout the game for the Coventry defence with his threatening runs down the left wing.

But the rest of the team seemed to be feeling the effects of a season which has seen them compete in three cup competitions as well as try to keep up their promotion chase in the league. Marlon King and Erik Huseklepp received little joy up front, however just after the half hour mark the latter shot just wide after a terrific move from the away side.

The relegation battlers Coventry were showing their intent at the other end of the pitch too, with Carl Baker coming close on a couple of occasions, and Steven Caldwell having to quickly clear one of Baker’s shots which looked to be heading in.

The second half saw a brighter Birmingham performance. Chris Burke had a great chance to put his side ahead but his shot was saved by Joe Murphy. But whilst Blues were on top, Coventry broke away and ex-Birmingham player Gary McSheffrey surprisingly scored a headed goal on the 70th minute. Unmarked, the Coventry born man cushioned his header over Boaz Myhill’s reach and expertly into the top corner of the net.

But while Coventry fans were still celebrating, Blues went up the other end and a long throw from on-loan Peter Ramage evaded the attention of everyone in the area bar King, who connected delightfully mid-flight to put his side back on level terms.

Although Blues had late chances via a string of set pieces, they couldn’t find the winner they desperately wanted and needed, and the game ended on a sour note with Jordon Mutch receiving a straight red for an elbow on Alex Nimely on the 89th minute. The substitute had been on the pitch less than twenty minutes before he was given his marching orders.

Nikola Zigic came close to grabbing a late winner moments from time when, deep into the seven minutes of added on time, a low Burke cross came into the box but the towering striker was unable to get a touch on it which would surely have sealed all three points for the Blues.

Blues have another away fixture next up on Tuesday against Leicester. Now out of the play-off places, Blues will have to pick up nothing less than a point at the King Power stadium if they want to stay in contention, with the teams around them picking up form as we go into the crucial stage of the season.

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