March 16, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
Huddersfield is a town where the Rugby League team carries just as much prestige as its football team. To be quite honest both teams on Saturday may have been better off playing with the oval ball, as neither could conjure up much with the more circular version.
The Terriers will have been more than pleased to take a point which helps to keep a sizeable gap between them and the bottom three. Blues have little to play for except pride but it is fair to say they have played much, much better this season and Gary Rowett would have wanted to see more quality and cutting edge on show.
Blues started shakily at the back and Huddersfield could have taken a very early lead when Brummie born James Vaughan flashed a shot wide. The opener came slightly against the run of play; great midfield play on the edge of the penalty area set David Cotterill free on the right hand side of the box, and he lashed a shot into the right hand corner of Alex Smithies’ goal.
But Blues didn’t press from thereon in. They fell into a pattern that was all too familiar under Lee Clark, in that they sat back far too much once they had taken the lead and invited the opposition onto them. Huddersfield looked dangerous, with Sean Scannell and Joe Lolley on either wing looking particularly tricky customers. It was the latter who brought the two teams level as the game headed towards half-time; a long throw into the box seemed to evade everyone who tried to get any meaningful contact to the ball, and Lolley was waiting at the back post to slam the ball home. The goal had been coming, and what was almost as inevitable was Aston Villa fan Lolley’s subsequent gleeful celebration in front of the Tilton Road.
Half-time should have seen Huddersfield in front, with Randolph saving brilliantly from a Joel Lynch header. The second period saw Blues play with more urgency but it wasn’t until past the hour mark that it looked like coming to anything when Paul Caddis dipped a free-kick from just outside the area which Smithies did well to tip over.
At this point Gary Rowett decided to make changes, introducing Wes Thomas and Nikola Zigic as substitutes and it was the former who had a glorious chance to put Blues in front. Robert Tesche did superbly to weave his way to the by-line on the right-hand side of the penalty area. He looked up and pulled it back to Thomas who was in space right in front of goal, but the summer signing from Bournemouth took too much time to fire, a Mark Hudson managed to block and clear the ball and the chance was gone.
The final ten minutes saw Lloyd Dyer brought on as Blues’ final substitute, but he was greeted by many an audible grumble from the St. Andrew’s faithful and even the odd boo; never a nice thing to hear directed to one of your own players. The irony was Dyer went on to probably look his most lively during his time at Blues, and in injury time had half a chance to win it when he skinned a couple of Huddersfield defenders but only managed to shoot into the side netting.
Truth be told though Blues didn’t deserve to win and a defeat would have been very hard on a hard working Huddersfield side even if they created next to nothing after the break. Reading’s cup exploits means that Blues this Tuesday night off when nearly rest of the Football League clubs are playing, and Rowett will be hoping that the extra rest will give the players the edge over what promises to be tough opposition in the form of Cardiff City next week.
Huddersfield manager Chris Powell:
“Joe is a real natural talent but I would like to see the day he can last 90 minutes. His rise to a Championship footballer is quite amazing.
“He is an ex-university boy who was playing for Kidderminster. After 16 games he gets a big move to a Championship side.
“We are just trying to cajole him. We are trying to get that talent shown regularly on the pitch. Perhaps his nervous energy hinders his progress.
“But he took his goal well and hopefully we have a real talent as there is certainly something there in his play.”
Birmingham boss Gary Rowett:
“You could see that Huddersfield were very keen to block the game and work incredibly hard to stop us playing after losing three games on the spin.
“That was evident and it is testament as teams make it difficult for us to play our normal game.
“We moved the ball too slowly and that was the frustration. We scored a well worked goal and it was great to see David Cotterill on the goal sheet after five games without scoring.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Spector, Kiernan, Grounds; Davis, Tesche; Cotterill, Shinnie (Thomas 68′), Gray (Dyer 82′), Donaldson (Zigic 76′)
Subs not used: Doyle, Hancox, Robinson, Novak