April 27, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
Where many teams often take a breather if they have dead rubber games at the end of a long season, Blues have probably produced some of their most exciting football of the campaign for what on paper are non-events. At St. Andrew’s in particular the team has in recent times played a brand of football decorated with pace, verve and flair.
The only issue now is how many players in this team, a team that looks like it could gel into something pretty formidable, will still be at Blues next season. Darren Randolph is out of contract whilst Dimmy Gray has just a solitary year left on his deal, and both are being eyed up as prey by the carnivores of the Premier League. In addition, playing a big part in the win were Rob Tesche, Diego Fabbrini and the match winner Lloyd Dyer who are all on loan deals that expire at the end of this season. If we can keep those players together (with the possible exception of Dyer who before yesterday was generally less than impressive), sprinkle a few new additions in the summer and have a pre-season with everyone together, then that would be great. If most of them if not all of them are gone then there could be another major rebuilding job beckoning, and to be honest that wouldn’t be ideal.
Blues were pretty dominant throughout the game, and the only drawback is that if it hadn’t been for profligacy we would’ve won by more. In the first-half Rob Tesche had long range efforts tipped on to and around the post respectively by the Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson, and sandwiched between those two was Diego Fabbrini firing wide from close range when he should have done better. Talking of long range efforts and Charlton nearly scored one of their own before half-time, Darren Randolph making a flying save to stop Tony Watt’s swerving shot from thirty yards out.
After the game resumed following the interval, Blues continued to press. David Cotterill, who was a bit of a liability when in possession of the ball at times, had two goal bound efforts – one tamely struck into the arms of the diving Charlton keeper and a much more dangerous curling effort which went wide via the outside of the keeper’s left hand post after great work by Dimmy Gray. The Addicks did press; Randolph forced into two smart stops in quick succession when Igor Vetokele and the aforementioned Watt were through on goal, but Blues in the main were the team that looked much more likely to break the deadlock, and low and behold they did with ten minutes to go. Lloyd Dyer picking up the ball just past the halfway line, running straight for the left hand side of the penalty area and finishing really well into the far corner. A fantastic parting gift from a player who generally has failed to live up to the reputation he came to the club with, and he showed just what he thought about fans who had (wrongly in my opinion) been heckling him in recent games by running to the Tilton Road and Main Stand cupping his ears in celebration. And that really was that, Blues grabbed another three points and entered eleventh place in the table, the highest we’ve been in the league since May 2013.
So it was a good way to end the season, Blues getting a win and playing some of their finer football. I think the game summed up one of the big things that has gone right under Gary Rowett; we started a game well, and finished the game well. Previously we had got into the habit of starting the game like a team possessed, maybe even going a goal or two up, but consistently being pegged back or turned over as the game went on and our standards and levels of performance began to slip. Now the team’s game management is much better; we can finish a game as well as we start it, and that has been key to the good results we have got.
Following the final whistle came the obligatory season ending lap of appreciation of the fans by the players and management. Predictably, Gary Rowett received a rapturous reception and as did Nikola Zigic, whose second spell as a Blues player has been pretty muted but he is still the darling of the Blues fans though. Perhaps the most notable figure to be cheered was Robbo though; the target of stick from a sizeable from a minority of fans in the past few weeks or so, the chants of “Robbo, Robbo, Robbo” which rang around Stan’s showed that the majority of Blues fans greatly appreciate his contribution to Blues over the past few years, and that was great to see.
So another season at St. Andrew’s ends, and the last home game was far more enjoyable than it was this time last year. Roll on 2015-16.
Birmingham manager Gary Rowett:
“It was very important to come out in the last home game and put in a performance befitting the progress we have made.
“Some of our attacking play was very good and in the end it was fitting that Lloyd Dyer scored the only goal with a great finish. It shows what a fantastic player he is and the fine career he has had.”
Charlton manager Guy Luzon:
“It was really a poor performance. The way we played was not very good. We played without patience and over 90 minutes we deserved to lose.
“I think it was our worst performance since I joined the club. The object was to play positively and I didn’t like this kind of performance.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Spector, Morrison, Grounds; Davis, Tesche; Cotterill (Dyer 71′), Fabbrini (Thomas 80′), Gray; Donaldson
Subs not used: Doyle, Robinson, Gleeson, Shinnie, Arthur