POST MATCH RAMBLE: Birmingham City -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Birmingham City -v- Wednesday

Never having been to St Andrews before I take my usual look at Google Maps, try and see a side street within fifteen minutes walk of the ground, set TomTom for there and Go!

I left myself plenty of time to get to the ground, soak in whatever atmosphere was available, many on here having been less than complimentary about it, have a look around and, hopefully, enjoy the match.

All was going swimmingly until about a mile from the exit from the M42 when it all ground to a complete and utter halt and the 75 minutes or so of relaxed pre-match time turned into a frustrating “bollocks, I’ll miss kick off at this rate” 40 minutes or so. But, I did get to my selected parking spot, which turned out to be a good ‘un, parked up and started my walk down the Coventry Road to the ground.

I loved the complete multicultural diversity on offer, the shops, the restaurants, many of which sending fabulous aromas out into the street, the whole feel of it. Notwithstanding all the fantastic options I actually ended up going into a Morrisons right next to the ground for a quick pee and also to pick up a couple of ‘Chicken and Bacon’ slices. If Trade Puzzle PigDescriptions people are reading this, please have a word with William and his sons as those slices had never even met a pig, let alone had part of one put into them, and there wasn’t much more chicken, either !

So, ‘Hardly any Chicken and Even Less Bacon’ slices in hand I’m given a pat down by BCFC security (who tells everyone in a very loud voice “poys, hees got poys”) and into the stand.

I worked on the basis that at just about every away game the seat number on the ticket is completely meaningless as Wednesday fans, and usually the stewards, ignore them and just wandered into the stand. Steward tells me, politely, to be fair, that I’m nowhere near my seat and yes, they are putting people in the correct seat. Find that, couple of (no doubt piss poor) snaps on the phone and eat the culinary delights of two ‘Hardly any Chicken and Even Less Bacon’ slices before kick off.

I was quite happy with the Team Sheet, probably our best starting line-up until Lee is back, and I hope that’s soon, and I took some hope from the fact that I was blissfully ignorant of most of the names on the Birmingham teamsheet, normally there’s at least one player that I think has the capability, or at least potential, to be a problem to us…not tonight!

Wednesday were attacking the far end in the first half and for the first few minutes that’s where they were camped as we put Birmingham under some early pressure. In truth there were few opportunities that caused them too many problems apart from one glorious first-time volley from Nuhiu that flashed, from our distant viewpoint, just wide of the post.

Semedo Birmingham

A dull and even first half

After that the game started to become a bit more even and we rode our luck as we were exposed down our right and Caddis hit the post with Westwood, for once, beaten all ends up.

Those two chances were the main highlight of what, in my opinion, shared with a few around me, then descended into a pretty drab first half. Rather worryingly a few players seemed to be having an ‘off’ night, for me Coke was especially guilty of this but Semedo, Maguire, Maghoma and, to a degree, Palmer all seemed slightly off the pace and also short of touch. Fortunately Brum were no better but at least they seemed to want the second ball more than we did. A 0-0 half time scoreline summed it up and I half expected Gray to make at least one change for the second half.

He didn’t though, and the same 11 started. But he’d obviously said something to them at half time as this was a different Wednesday. They were ‘on it’ from the word go, chasing, harrying, wanting the ball, not allowing Brum the time they’d had in the first half and actually playing some pretty good football that was pleasing to watch. Just a few minutes in and the the tables were turned on the first half as Moghoma hit the post this time, certainly promising.

Gray decided to ring the changes mid way through the half with Coke, who, to be fair I thought had improved a bit, being replaced by Drenthe to give a bit more of an attacking edge to the midfield. Initial impressions are that he’s quick, has very good footwork, definitely doesn’t lack confidence or self-belief but needs to put an end-product on all that a little more frequently. Very exciting to watch but I just hope frustration with him doesn’t set in. Not the first time that that’s been written about an Owls number 11, is it !

Stevie May Scores

Well deserved goal for hard working Stevie May

I have to say I’m very impressed with May’s workrate and his willingness to have a go. OK, it doesn’t always come off but he keeps trying, and trying. So, when it came to his goal I was delighted for him even though many of us thought that he’d overdone it, taken too long, blah blah blah and missed the chance. Not a bit of it, he made the chance for himself and put it away with aplomb and we went mental as he danced around the back of the goal getting his, richly deserved, adulation from us.

Having endured, sorry, watched, Wednesday for so many years I was desperate for us to get a second goal and kill the game off. Having watched Wednesday for so many years I should have known that would have been the easy option but, in truth, an equaliser would have been a travesty. It would also have meant that either Plamer, Mattock, Loovens or Lees would have to make a mistake big time and in the case of the latter two that would not have happened if they’d played all night and into this afternoon. They were immense and the best pairing there for years. I know many have said it before but getting Lees on a free from the White Shite was a masterstroke by Gray and Loovens just oozes class, composure, authority and leadership. Great stuff.

Nuhiu claps

HANDBALL!

Shortly after having received a yellow card for handball, see below, Nuhiu was replaced by Madine. To be honest I don’t follow Gray’s logic here as the big man had been a thorn in Brum’s side all night, winning a lot in the air, holding play up well and the, by now customary, sprinkling of good footwork (as in good footwork, Full Stop, not “for a big man” !). I’m not sure that Madine offers anything too different so unless it was precautionary as the ref was not the best, see below, it was an odd one. To be fair Madine didn’t do anything wrong but nor did he have a real impact on the game.

Unlike the next substitute, Helan. May went off to a standing ovation and Helan came on. First few touches and he’s made an impact, fast, direct, one-twos with Maguire and Maghoma and a real threat. He seems to enjoy the game so much, too.

By now, though, we’re late into the game and, Gloolees notwithstanding, I’m starting to have the “they’re going to equalize, I know it, they’re going to equalize” jitters as I always do, irrespective of how sensible or unnecessary that is.

Helan Scores

Thank you and goodnight

So, up steps Helan to put those to bed and empty the home stands. Lovely interplay on the edge of the box right in front of us, and as cool a finish as you could hope to see, the archetypal “impact substitution”. Bedlam in the stand around me as from a drab first half that I’d actually hoped would end early and have an extended half time interval to the hairs-up song catalogue that the Wednesday faithful deliver so passionately and so well.

We ask Stuart for a wave and get one, more bedlam.

The ref ends the game amid chants reminding Lee Clark that he has mastabatory tendencies and may well have more spare time to enjoy them very shortly. The players, once the formalities off shaking their defeated opponents hands are completed, come over and take their well-deserved (overall) applause and return the compliment.

Having told a Brum fan in Morrisons that I’d take a draw I was delighted to leave with all three points. I’m not deluded, Birmingham’s position in the league is appropriate based on this showing and they have a lot of work to do to change that. The win put us up to seventh, and me in heaven.

Seventh Heaven it is, then.

Birmingham Ground

Just another night in Birmingham

A few words about the supporters. Rightly or wrongly I had the impression that Birmingham were a ‘big club’. Based on last night I was wrong. The attendance was poor, their support very quiet and only audible sporadically. OK you don’t get any extra Championship points for outsinging people but the Owls fans there last night were great. Numerous, vociferous, witty (the sustained chorus of “Is There A Firedrill” as the home stands emptied rapidly was brilliant) and a credit to the club on nights like this.

A few words about the ref. Dreadful. Inconsistent. Poor. I could go on but you get my drift.

To book Nuhiu for catching the ball to stop play so that a teammate (Maguire ? May ?) who’d been sandwiched between, and left prone by, two players about 15 seconds previously, could get medical attention was petty at best and just plain stupid at worst

Quick walk back to the car after the match, no post-match natter with any Brummies as, to be honest, they all seemed to be looking at the pavement and not wanting to speak to each other, let alone me.

Multiple accidents and closures on the M40 meant I didn’t get home until 12:30 but, hey, a small price to pay for a midweek win.

I’ll be in The North on Saturday, ironically travelling from my home about 12 miles from our opponents ground, and hoping our home form matches our away form.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

Rob (Berkshire Owl)
Owls Alive
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Twitter: @OwlsAlive


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