January 27, 2013 by Made In Brum
Burnley 1 Blues 2.
If ever there was a game that Blues needed to win- then yesterday was it. At a freezing cold Turf Moor against an in-form Burnley side, no-one held much hope for Lee Clark’s troops. But a late Marlon King strike earned Blues a massive three points with a goal worthy of winning any game.
Both sets of players seemed up for it at the beginning, both fashioning team huddles. But you felt Blues really needed a win here. The home side had the better of the opening exchanges, Danny Ings headed Ross Wallace’s cross narrowly wide. But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 31 minutes. Rob Hall’s right wing corner to the near post was headed home by Curtis Davies. That meant Blues had taken the lead eight times in their last nine outings.
But for a couple of scares, the first half was pretty comfortable for Blues as they took the slender lead into half time. The goal, in truth, was against the run of play, but credit to Blues who were dogged and determined.
Four minutes into the second half and Blues received their biggest let-off. Sam Vokes’ header found Ings who rattled the crossbar with a bullet like shot. The Clarets were starting to test Blues’ resolve and they had Jack Butland to thank after he palmed away Vokes’ side-footer after Junior Stanislas’ cross picked the former Wolves man out. But on 55 minutes, their pressure paid off when Paul Robinson fouled Stanislas in the box and the referee awarded a penalty which Wallace despatched coolly.
Nathan Redmond replaced Hall who appeared to have picked up a knock.
Davies came close with a header before the turning point in the match. Dean Marney lunged into Robinson and was shown a straight red card. Replays suggest the referee was correct. Surely Blues had to push on and win the game from here.
Nikola Zigic was introduced in place of Callum Reilly as Blues went with two up front in an attempt to win the game. Both sides were having a go, the game was full pelt and could go either way. King’s header was blocked by David Edgar before the resulting corner came to nothing. Clark’s men were comfortable and patient in possession, waiting for an opening. Chris Burke and Redmond were finding space out-wide and when Burke’s cross was headed off the post by Zigic, you wondered if the goal would ever arrive.
The big man again came close with his head, this time from Robinson’s cross and Redmond smashed a shot wide. Blues were on top, but time was running out.
Then in the 90th minute, Wade Elliott’s cross found Zigic whose flick dropped towards King. His volley was absolute perfection as it flew into the net for his 14th goal of the campaign. Let’s hope this isn’t his goodbye gift to Blues fans.
Blues had to hold on for five minutes of stoppage time, but did so to pick up a huge three points.
Blues ratings- Butland 7. Caddis 6. Caldwell 6. Davies 7. Robinson 6. Burke 6. Reilly 6. Gomis 6. *ELLIOTT 7. Hall 6. King 7… SUBS USED- Zigic 7. Redmond 6.
Match report by Rob Wildey.