November 24, 2012 by Made In Brum
Derby County 3 Blues 2
Instead of ‘you only sing when you’re winning’, try ‘we only play when we’re losing’. Frustrating isn’t the word. Getting back into a game not once, but twice, and still going on to lose the game is not good enough.
Lee Clark bangs on every week about ‘coming out of the traps’ and ‘getting at teams from the off’. Yet the first half at Pride Park, from a Blues perspective, was atrocious. Like an aeroplane leaving Birmingham International, the ball was up in the air every time it was kicked by a blue shirt. Did they not realise that there was grass beneath them? With the long ball stuff, you can forget players like Ravel Morrison and Chris Burke. With the giant Nikola Zigic up top, at times I felt sorry for him having to jump for header after header after header, its too easy for a defender to smash it up field aimlessly.
Talking about long, aimless ‘passing’, Steven Caldwell seems intent on whacking it 60 yards before he’s even bothered to look up. He was also given the run around by Derby’s Connor Sammon, who was easily their best player.
The whole defence was to blame, not just Caldwell, before I get abuse for picking on one bloke. As a unit, they were apathetic for the Rams’ opener. Yes, it was offside. But when Jack Butland palmed an effort on to the bar, it came back out to Sammon who had all the time in the world to nod in the rebound.
I can’t even say this was incongruous for Blues who keep committing the sin of ‘shooting themselves in the foot’. Like rubble after an explosion, they were all over the place. The alteration in the team’s fortunes and quality when compared to last season is bloodcurdling.
Going in just one goal down was as positive as it got in the first period. The half time team talk seemed to have breathed new life into Blues who strutted their stuff at times in the second half. But unfortunately, we always seem to exhibit some kind of class when we have a deficit to make up. On the hour Rob Hall was introduced at the expense of the futile Burke which sparked some action.
Already stamping their authority on the game, Hall was bought down in the area and the referee awarded a penalty. The ever reliable Marlon King placed it smoothly past Adam Legzdins to level the game. It was the ex-Blues ‘keeper who kept things level as he tipped King’s deflected shot onto the upright.
Morrison is a luxury. But imagine him playing in the vibrant, prospering team of last term, in place of the feeble Jordon Mutch. That surely would have won us an extra five or six points? But fact remains that Morrison is involved in a difficult scholarship, not only is he trying to learn and make a name for himself, but he has to do it in a side that is pressing the self-destruct button week in-week out.
That delinquency was evident again, as Derby went ahead. After failing to fully clear their lines, the defence were immobile as Sammon thundered his shot past Butland. The game was a gripping spectacle for the neutrals watching on Sky TV. Just two minutes after falling behind for the second time, Blues equalised for the second time. Jonathan Spector’s cross was back-headed into the net by substitute Peter Lovenkrands. Surely a point, minimum was in the bag for Blues…
But wait. Suicide is never off the table when this Birmingham City team is involved. And suicide it was. The harrowing back four were again exposed as Nathan Tyson put Derby 3-2 up. No coming back from Blues this time. As was the case against Hull last weekend, the self-imposed mountain couldn’t be climbed. This season is turning out to be as miserable as the wet weather conditions which soaked the Pride Park pitch, and more importantly, the supporters.
Hopefully Peter Pannu can cut a deal with this Hong Kong outfit, or indeed Gianni Paladini, this week. The whole place needs a lift. Birmingham City desperately need some cohesion. From top to bottom, this club needs an almighty lift. The fans seem depressed, the players seem disorientated, the manager seems to lack ideas, you get the picture.
With Blackpool away on Tuesday night, Clark and his men have a chance to rectify this result quickly, but it’ll be even tougher than today.
Blues ratings- Butland 6. Spector 6. Caldwell 5. Davies 6. Robinson 6. Burke 5. Mullins 6. Morrison 6. Elliott 5. King 7. Zigic 6…SUBS USED- *HALL 7. Lovenkrands 6.
Match report by Rob Wildey.