February 24, 2014 by bluenosebible
Blackpool 1-2 Birmingham City
Written by: Oliver Osborn (The Bluenose Bible)
A second half brace from Lee Novak guided Birmingham City to a 2-1 victory over Blackpool.
Despite the Seasiders taking a first half lead through Andrew Keogh, Lee Clark’s side came back to score twice and move above their opponents in the table.
With just two defeats on the road since the end of October, Blues started brightly and within the first two minutes a miss-kick from Federico Macheda in the six yard box should have given the Bluenoses an early advantage.
The home side woke up from their sluggish start following the chance and created several opportunities of their own through Faris Haroun and Keogh, who should have done better a great positions.
Keogh eventually capitalised on a mistake in the Birmingham defence with a superb effort to give Blackpool the lead.
A lack of communication while the away side defended Haroun’s cross meant Paul Robinson helped the ball into the Irishman’s path before the striker turned and volleyed emphatically to score his second goal in three matches.
The pressure continued from the home side and if it wasn’t for Darren Randolph and Blackpool’s poor finishing the Midlands side could have been on their way to a two or three goal deficit prior to the half time whistle.
Although some fans have suggested that Blues’ boss Lee Clark is “tactical inept” at Championship level, the Geordie’s decision to bring on Nikola Zigic and switch to a midfield diamond formation proved vital in the destination of the three points by full time.
The changes almost paid off straight away as Zigic played a perfectly weighted ball into Chris Burke, but the Scot couldn’t find the corner of Matt Gilks’ goal after being sent through one on one.
Moments later, the Serbian was put through himself in similar style and ended in the same outcome.
Just after the hour mark, Lee Novak gave his side the equaliser their second half play had deserved in some style.
Zigic headed down into Novak’s path and the Blues’ top scorer chested and half volleyed a thunderous effort into the top corner from the edge of the box.
It gave the side a massive confidence boost and with the introduction of new loan signing Jordan Ibe you sensed they could go on and win it.
A big boost to their chances followed quickly as an exceptional burst of pace from Ibe, Blackpool left back Jack Robinson brought down the winger with him through on goal and received his marching orders for the third time this season.
Birmingham made their numerical advantage count with less than ten minutes to go as Novak headed home his sixth league goal of the season.
Promising teen Emyr Huws delivered a teasing ball to the front post and Novak put his head in where it hurts to send the travelling fans into raptures.
Blackpool pressed in the dying embers of the match, but it was Birmingham City who took the vital three points to stay nine points clear of the drop zone while the Seasiders make it 16 without a win.
Game changing decisions from Lee Clark and two vital goals from Lee Novak, it is great to see the doubters proved wrong isn’t it?
Blackpool caretaker manager Barry Ferguson:
“We’re in a dogfight now. Simple.
“I wasn’t happy when we came in at half-time and we were only one-nil up. The game should have been dead and buried in the first half.
“We started well enough in the second half and we got a sloppy goal against us again.
“Even then we still had chances in the second half we should have put away. We’re not clinical enough.
“I’ll never stop learning and improving and I’ll do that again on Monday.”
Blues boss Lee Clark:
On loan signing Jordon Ibe from Liverpool: “Not bad is he? Not bad. Power, pace.
“We’ve done unbelievable to get him, I’ve got to thank (Liverpool manager) Brendan Rodgers. I’ve pestered him to get him.
“There were so many other clubs in for him.
“So hopefully this reputation I’ve got where I can do not-too-bad things with these big clubs’ young players is helping us get the edge over some of my rivals, in terms of trying to help them on in their development.
“I’m so excited by him.”
Starting line-up: Randolph, Spector, Packwood, Robinson, Hancox, Lee, Adeyemi (Zigic 46), Burke (Ibe 71), Huws, Novak, Macheda (Caddis 90)
Subs not used: Martin, Doyle, Shinnie, Rusnak