July 18, 2013 by bluenosebible
Swindon Town 0-3 Birmingham City
It took a while for both sides to get into the game with early opportunities lacking a good final ball, although the football on show was at a quick tempo.
The first real chances came just after the half hour mark as Andrew Shinnie had a chipped and drilled effort well saved by Leigh Bedwell in quick succession before Blues’ goalkeeper Darren Randolph made a good save to deny Luke Rooney down to his left.
Just as it seemed the game was set to be goalless at half time, Chris Burke made another mazy run down the right against the shaky Swindon left back Nathan Byrne to set up Lee Novak who was waiting to give the away side a lead.
As the second half began, Swindon came out fighting and it took a fabulous save from Randolph to prevent Andy Williams from scoring with almost his first touch since coming on at the break.
Birmingham doubled their lead minutes later with another great attacking move that Novak fired home. Koby Arthur played through Mitch Hancox, who’d made a darting run into the box and the teenage left back squared it to Novak in a poaching position again to settle any early second half nerves.
The goals weren’t Lee Novak’s only contribution to the game as his high work ethic and determination to chase the ball down and pressure defenders was outstanding, especially for a friendly in front of 1,500 fans.
A third came not very long before the final whistle from birthday boy Shinnie, who tucked home nicely from a cross by late sub Ryan Higgins to send the Blues’ fans home counting down the days for the start of the season.
Lee Clark said:
“I was really pleased with the whole 90 minutes, we passed the ball well, we played with purpose, with a tempo, we created good opportunities and could have score more than the three goals.
“Chris Burke, I thought, had an outstanding game. He made the first one for Lee Novak and I like that type of goal for my strikers, a little tap-in.
“The move for the second one was a terrific move, involving young Mitchell Hancox and young Koby Arthur.
“And then it was a great ball from Ryan Higgins for the third, who I thought came on and produced some good attacking play. What we need to work on with him is the defending side but we have got quite a talented young man there because he can deliver a great ball.”
Man of the match: Lee Novak