Tuesday, 17 April 2012

So Close But Yet So Far

Two points in two games have left Birmingham City agonizingly close to confirming a top six finish, with just two games to go away to Brighton and at home to Reading in the last game of the season. Blues were given a scare at the weekend in a game where a win would have seen them all but seal a play-off place.

In the battle of the BCFCs it was relegation threatened Bristol who took the lead with Stephen Pearson beating Colin Doyle, in goal after Boaz Myhill picked up an injury in the warm up. Bristol doubled their advantage soon after, this time Jon Stead scoring a peach of a goal to give the visitors an almighty boost in their quest for survival, and to send shockwaves throughout the Birmingham side reminding them that in this league, no game is easy.

Just before half time Marlon King halved the deficit, thanks to a deflection, and Blues went in at the break with work still to do. The second half saw Blues finally get the equaliser they had been searching for; defender Peter Ramage and player of the season contender Chris Burke worked together on the right hand side before Burke sent a low ball into the box which Nikola Zigic, just yards out, duly slotted home.

Blues only have themselves to blame for letting vital points slip at an all-important home fixture, in which miss placed passes were unfortunately all too common throughout the ninety minutes, culminating in Blues being the masters of their own downfall.

Tonight’s midweek fixtures presented Blues with another opportunity to cement their play-off place but a lacklustre start from the away side meant that it was a very nervous forty-five minutes, especially with the news that Cardiff were 1-0 ahead and, as it stood, on level points with Blues.

Ipswich caused problems for the Blues back line and Colin Doyle had to be called upon several times to prevent the tractor boys from taking the lead. Blues were then hit with another injury blow, with Captain Steven Caldwell having to go off with ten minutes left of the first half.

Just before half time Blues took the lead against the run of play, with a goal that was equally well constructed as it was well taken, with that man Chris Burke finishing a move that saw Peter Ramage, Marlon King and Andros Townsend all involved. It was a perfect time to score a goal.

Blues began the second half with impetus, looking bright on the counter attack with Ipswich, mid table and with nothing to play for, not as committed to the cause as their opponents. But Ipswich pressed on to enjoy heavy spells of the game, with Michael Chopra and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas causing countless problems and keeping Doyle on his toes.

And the latter equalised for his side with 75 minutes on the clock, sending his low effort past Doyle and piling pressure on Blues who up until that point were fifteen minutes away from sealing a place in the play-offs.

The game continued to be an end of end affair, with Blues coming agonizingly close late on with Zigic’s shot being cleared off the line. Ipswich piled on the pressure but the away side held on, all but confirming a play-off place after tonight’s result, but wins for Cardiff and Blackpool mean Blues are clinging onto fourth place by a single point.

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