January 19, 2013 by Made In Brum
Blues 2 Brighton 2.
Was you brave enough to go out in the snow, the freezing cold, and watch your beloved Blues this afternoon? When your team is doing well, it seems like no effort at all, but Blues, as you’ll all be aware, are struggling, so when I felt as if my toes were going to come off, I thought ‘why have I bothered’? But no matter what happens, the fans will remain.
The Blues players huddled up before the kick-off, something I don’t recall them doing before. The performance was lacklustre, but somehow, probably undeservedly, Blues stole a point right at the death. Did it paper over all the cracks? Maybe.
In the early stages, the first ten minutes to be precise, Lee Clark’s men made most of the running without looking a real threat. Steven Caldwell, three times in opening minutes, aimlessly hoofed the ball out of play when looking for a pass which Ronaldo would struggle to pull off.
With three strikers on the bench, and Rob Hall and Nathan Redmond up front, Clark left himself open for criticism. Yes, Blues have played ok with two midfielder’s up top recently, they’ve been more expansive, but we haven’t won games. At Leeds and at Huddersfield, a striker would have killed the game off (although at Leeds he had little choice). Today, the game was crying out for a striker once again.
The early pressure paid off as Steven Caldwell headed Rob Hall’s right wing corner in to give Blues an 18th minute lead. It was a pleasing start, but you knew we wouldn’t keep a clean sheet.
The lead lasted just six minutes. Andrea Orlandi ran through the defence with ease before Ashley Barnes lashed in the equaliser. The defending for the goal epitomises everything we’ve seen since August. Sloppy to say the least.
Chris Burke curled an effort just over the bar but on 43 minutes, Wayne Bridge’s cross was volleyed home by Moreno David Lopez to put the Seagulls ahead. It was typical stuff.
The half time interval saw Blues’ first sub of the afternoon. Wade Elliott was replaced by Nikola Zigic. At times, the big Serb was excellent, and other times, he was poor. The second half wasn’t the best game to watch in the freezing cold, with little to excite the fans. Brighton came close a couple of times, and Butland had to pull of a fantastic save to deny Barnes a second goal.
As the half wore on, Blues were starting to gain more of the ball. But it was all too slow, too passive and not energetic enough. Marlon King was introduced, and he immediately showed what we’ve been lacking when playing without a striker. He bought the ball down, played Paul Caddis in and to the bemusement of many, when the cross came in we had TWO strikers in the penalty area.
Last throw of the dice, on comes Ravel Morrison. Without doing anything game changing, he bought a sense of calmess to the midfield that Morgaro Gomis and Callum Reilly didn’t. With Morrison pulling the strings, Blues had ten minutes to find the leveller.
A ball into the box was controlled by Zigic, his shot on the turn was blocked. A few balls into the area, but nothing to really trouble Brighton’s back line. Until the second minute of stoppage time… Zigic’s header was fumbled by Tomasz Kuszczak in a real calamity moment. Blues were level.
Surely they couldn’t mess it up now? Almost. They would have done but for Butland’s marvellous save to keep out Gary Dicker’s diving header. A share of the spoils was the end result.
Blues ratings- *BUTLAND 7. Caddis 7. Caldwell 6. Davies 6. Robinson 6. Burke 6. Reilly 6. Gomis 5. Elliott 5. Hall 6. Redmond 5… SUBS USED- Zigic 6. King 6. Morrison 6.
Match report by Rob Wildey.