October 2, 2013 by bluenosebible
Birmingham City 4-0 Millwall
Written by: Nat Peters
Honestly, there is no adjective that can describe how good it feels to write that score line.
I remember when we beat Millwall in 2002 in the play-off semi-final and a section of their ‘fans’ went mad, ripping apart everything in sight. I remember in that play-off semi-final how their manager was ‘Cheer Up’ Mark McGhee, someone who was never exactly complimentary towards Blues and Blues’ fans in his time at ‘Wall and before that Wolves.
Then again, I should enjoy it when Millwall comes up on the calendar, because we nearly always beat them. Even when we don’t beat them, coming back from three goals down to draw 3-3 at the New Den felt like a victory last season.
But I needn’t worry about going three goals behind tonight, as Blues dominated proceedings from start to finish.
A penalty given early on was hotly contested by Millwall’s defenders, but Jesse Lingard’s effort was tamely placed into David Forde’s hands as he dived to the left hand side of his goal.
Blues wouldn’t have to wait long for a breakthrough though, as Andrew Shinniesta’s looping cross found David Murphy at the back post, whose drilled half-volley flew past the helpless Forde. 1-0 Blues.
Blues continued to press, as a Burke effort was well saved, and players such as Reilly and Shinnie were continually tucking balls in behind the ‘Wall backline.
With just over half-an-hour gone, Burke won a free-kick well outside the Millwall penalty box on the right hand side.
The game was nearly put well beyond the reach of the South London side before the interval as Callum Reilly’s volley went inches wide of the post.
The second-half started with Millwall unsurprisingly looking to exert pressure on Darren Randolph’s net, with one quality ball in particular through Richard Chaplow from the right-hand side which should have been turned towards goal by a Millwall, causing mass panic in the Blues defence before flying across the goalmouth.
Still, Blues would not let this lead look anywhere near close to slipping; a visibly tired Murphy was hauled off by Lee Clark just after his free-kick attempt for a hat-trick was tipped round the post by Forde, but his replacement Kyle Bartley seemed to coincidentally for a centre-half spread fresh impetus into Blues’ attacks.
Soon after that substitution, Shinnie cut inside from the left-hand flank and had a shot that couldn’t be held properly by the unlucky David Forde and Tom Adeyemi lofted the rebound over his sprawled body and into the net.
It wasn’t game over though, tricky wing-play from Chris Burke nearly saw Blues’ captain Paul Robinson nearly nodding in a fourth, before early villain of the piece Jesse Lingard did make it four by nodding home at the back post from yet more Burke trickery combined with a quality cross.
And that was that, an excellent performance which leaves us five points clear of the bottom three. I have repeatedly said that staying in the second-tier would be an excellent result for Blues; on tonight’s display we are well on course to achieve that.
Birmingham boss Lee Clark:
“I already knew David Murphy was the best left-back outside the Premier League and it’s taken a frustratingly long time to get him back.
“He told me when he came back for the Sheffield Wednesday game that he was keen to play, but might not last the game, but was desperate to start.
“It was the same again tonight and, if you couple that sort of attitude with his ability, you know just what a good player you’ve got.
“And, of course, he’s got a magnificent left foot.”
Millwall manager Steve Lomas:
“We just never got going.
“It’s so important to get the right tempo, and if you don’t run and scrap in this league you’re going to come unstuck.
“We knew they’d be on the front foot after the results they’d had here against Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday, but we just did not heed the warnings.”
Starting line-up: Randolph, Spector, Burn, Robinson, Murphy (Bartley 79′); Reilly, Adeyemi, Burke, Shinnie, Lingard (Gray 90′); Green (Zigic 70′)
Man of the match: David Murphy