March 18, 2013 by Made In Brum
A job well done! Blues’ first win at Middlesbrough’ since 1980 and a big one at that. The hosts always looked vulnerable on paper, won 17 and lost 17 before Saturday’s clash. But they can be tricky opponents, which is why they are lurking around the play-off’s still. Typical of a Tony Mowbray team, they get the ball down and pass it around. But they lacked the cutting edge to break Blues down.
After soaking up some pressure in the second half, Blues sealed the three points when Nikola Zigic bundled a Shane Ferguson centre over the line in the 81st minute. It was deserved for the visitors who were solid and compact throughout. There was nothing flashy about the performance, just honest and professional endeavour. With Ravel Morrison pulling the strings, Blues were tricky opposition themselves. And with the returning Keith Fahey (who replaced the injured Jon Spector in the early exchanges) to the centre midfield, the look of Lee Clark’s men was one of calmness and assurance.
Are Blues safe? Well, not mathematically. It is vital to keep winning games in case the worst happens and we get a 10 point deduction. But being 10 points off the play-off’s with only 24 left to play for, a top six finish is a mountain away, just as far as Blues are from being good enough for it. But things are improving, let’s not forget that. After a poor start to the season, the players had to give us some pride back, and to be fair to them, they have.
With no game until Good Friday, a win was important so everyone can relax a little bit and start planning for next season. No, we’re not safe yet, but we will be soon enough. The jury remains out on Lee Clark, but the criticism seems to have died down somewhat. Is he beginning to win a few over maybe?
Blues- Butland 7, Caddis 7, Davies 7, Robinson 7, Ferguson 7, Redmond 7, Spector n/a, *MORRISON 8, Elliott 6, Thomas 6, Zigic 7. SUBS USED- Fahey 7, Caldwell 6, Mullins n/a.
By Rob Wildey