Often Partisan

Winning ugly is still winning – Cardiff Reflections

Birmingham City recorded their first victory at home for two months with a slightly fortuitous 1-0 win over Cardiff City thanks to a Paul Caddis penalty.

I’m going to make a confession here. I left the ground last night feeling a little bit frustrated because I didn’t think Blues had deserved the three points and I didn’t think that we had played that well; coupled with my loathing of the whole “Mad Friday” thing I could have written a somewhat angsty and scathing match report. However, on hearing this morning that the old gentleman I saw carried out of the Main Stand during the game had died I realised that I personally need some perspective; football is just a game and Christmas is just a day. There is no point feeling angst over either.

Rowett confirmed in the post-match interview on the pitch that Blues were lucky to get the penalty they did; the ball hit Matt Connolly square in the face rather than his outstretched hand and as such the ref didn’t make the right decision. However, Blues were denied probably at least one penalty when both Shane Lowry and Michael Morrison were bundled over in the box at a corner and so I think it kinda evens out.

It was a tough debut for Lowry; called into the team cos of injury to Jonathan Grounds he struggled somewhat up against Sammy Ameobi and I think his performance may have given Blues fans a little food for thought on the qualities Grounds brings to the team. There have been rumours Blues are looking at a left-back on forums with Danny Fox’s name mentioned – I haven’t heard anything myself but I wouldn’t be surprised if Blues did bring someone in as I think Mitch Hancox’s career with Blues is pretty much done and it seems evident Lowry just isn’t good enough.

James Vaughan looked fairly sprightly in attack and although he has yet to break his duck I thought he offered Blues a good outlet. Both Gray and Maghoma supported him manfully and although Toral struggled a bit I thought Blues offered much more going forwards than they did against Huddersfield. Gleeson and Kieftenbeld had much better games in the middle and while Blues might have been lucky to win they certainly didn’t deserve to lose.

If Wes Thomas and Lee Novak truly have been frozen out of Rowett’s plans then I’d like to see us take on James Vaughan permanently; when fit he looks to have the sort of quality we need and I think his family connections mean he has extra incentive to play well for us. It does seem that Nicolai Brock-Madsen is going to struggle to make the grade however; he’s slipped out of the picture somewhat with Greg Halford preferred to him up front late on against Preston and I hope that Blues could maybe bring in another striker to allow the Dane a loan spell getting first team action in League One to acclimatise him further to the game.

It was a good three points to win last night and while Blues are just out of the playoff picture at the moment there is plenty of time to make the charge for the top six. If Blues are to do that they will need to grind out the ugly wins and last night proved that they can – there is reason to be positive.

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103 Responses to “Winning ugly is still winning – Cardiff Reflections”

  • Bluesfan says:

    Well said

  • Dave Mann says:

    Winning ugly is better than drawing heroicly any day of the week … One thing I can guarantee is that if we win at Sheffield Wednesday it will not be ugly but utterly deserved. Kro

  • rhees says:

    Was a poor performance no doubt, and if you can play poorly against a good team and get three pts it is a good sign. Remember we played much better against Middlesbrough and Preston and only came away with draws.

  • rhees says:

    And sort god bless the gentleman carried out who passed away, thoughts to his family kro my blue nose brother.

  • Lich Blues says:

    The performance was not brilliant last night but much better than what we have witnessed at St Andrews for quite a while now.

    I still think for us to be competing like this with the injuries and limited squad we have is wonderful. I’ll take an ugly win anytime over playing well and getting nowt.

    If we can through the Christmas period still around the play off pack we have a chance of making a charge. I agree Dan we should sign Vaughan in January if possible. At Preston I though he played really well. Winning so many headers but there was no one close enough to pick up the knock downs. Mmmm a certain Mr Donaldson would be great at that.

    KRO.

  • Robin says:

    Firstly my thoughts are with the Gentleman who sadly passed away ,it certainly puts football into perspective.
    Yes I wasn’t happy with the performance & Lowry especially he is shocking ,but waking up this morning & listening to Gary’s comments he talks so much sense he knows what we are & where were goin….& Jan transfer market might be interesting KRO

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Vaughan is perfect for us. Gives us good options when Donaldson is fit. I thought we were a lot better last night than in the few previous home games and as for the penalty that wasn’t – who cares. I thought Lowry did ok on his debut given he was up against their best player Ameobi. Morrison and Spector were solid and what a great save late on to secure the win. I still think Caddis is better than Eardley and if we do get a penalty it’s a guaranteed goal.

  • Big Al says:

    Spot on in terms of perspective. We lost a member of the Blues family last night. RIP.

  • bluenose68 says:

    A fortuitous three points … but playing relatively badly and winning is not a bad thing in this league. I thought Sky Man of the Match Tony Watt played really well … gave us loads of problems but Morrison was immense at the back. Watt is on loan from Charlton until mid-Jan, and media talk mentions a fee of 500k-1m, if they decide to offload him. Probably too steep for us in our present situation. Not really a target man either … likes to drop deep and run at defenders … so would not fit into GR’s current preferred formation, but I think we do need different attacking options going into the second half of the season.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Another poor home performance where again we couldn’t string together more than 2 passes to a blue shirt. The distribution from the the back four could only described as up and under.
    In spite of that I thought Vaughan showed Premier League standard in a lot of his play.If he had any thing like good service from the midfield he would have certainly scored a debut goal.
    Lowry played his first match and looked off the pace, but that was only to be expected.
    Although we kept a clean sheet I still think Spector isn’t strong enough to play centre back and trying Halford there may be the answer. Caddis again showed defensive frailties I think Spector should play there if Eardley’s injured.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I actually think Eardley has done well since he came back, it’s just a shame he’s so injury prone. We looked more solid down the right since he replaced Caddis.

    • atko says:

      Agreed Staff, I do rate Eardsley. I think defensively we are better with him but we lose Caddis ability to push forward and put in telling crosses
      For me, some of our best balls into the box have come from Caddis after Cotterill.

  • Dave Mann says:

    He has done well but glad he went off otherwise Caddis wouldn’t have been on to take the penalty and I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to score it so a bit of luck me thinks . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Toral for me .. Vaughan , Gray not so sure . Kro

  • Marky mark says:

    I don’t think it was a case of blues playing poor, more a case of Cardiff being a decent team who gave us a real test last night, some fans seem to think we should be rolling teams over at a canter well it ain’t gonna happen. Cardiff recently dropped out the premier league and have a far stronger squad than us, I thought it was a great win.

    To early to judge Lowry, didn’t look great but clearly not match fit, shame about Eardley I really like him.

  • Dave Mann says:

    To be fair Marky mark I don’t think many of us thought we were going to just roll over Cardiff at a canter because we’re the educated ones who know that current home form suggests otherwise , they were better than us if Ime being bluntly honest but we won 1-0 and that’s all that matters and your right in saying it was a great win .. Most teams in the top half of this league have so called better squads than us but it’s more than just that .. Just look at mourinho !! Kro

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    A good 3 points in the sense that it keeps us in touch of the playoff spots whilst we’re trying to get injured players back and whilst we’re waiting for the transfer window to open.
    The central midfield pair are struggling to assert themselves in games especially at home and we need some quality there via the window if we’re going to push on in the new year.

  • Mitchell says:

    Calming down after the win,I have turned my attention on GR sky interview after the game. Surprised to hear him say that any additions n January will be loans or free transfers. I was under the impression that ‘we will be in a strong position to strengthen’ and ‘can’t wait for the window to open’ indicated more than just freebies or loans. Perhaps those areas have some gems.

    • Marky mark says:

      Mitchell, loans and freebies still cost money we missed out on decent loans because we hadn’t the money in the last window, this time should be different.

      But I agree would much prefer to buy some young quality players of our own, trouble is none of us know what we have to spend.

      • paul whittaker says:

        Marky , we don,t to know how much money we have and neither do the teams GR might want to purchase off. If it were common knowledge then prices would be adjusted by the sellers

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      He means the quality of the loans he can get with regard to the wages he can pay.He clearly has more funds available to go after Tesche/Fabrini type quality and it can’t come soon enough for me.

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        I wouldn’t mind having a bet GR will go back for Tesche again.

        • Dave Mann says:

          It’s a certainty if last nights conversation after the game about Tesche from Rowett is to be believed about the quality he brought . Kro

        • almajir says:

          Tesche isn’t fit enough at the moment.

          • Hillfield Blues says:

            He’s been on the bench at Forest for weeks and even if he came in and we built up his match fitness over a few weeks it’s got to be better than watching Kieftenbild and Gleeson giving the ball away time after time.

        • chris says:

          hope so as he’s on the bench each week for forest and even started versus Blackburn last Monday

    • almajir says:

      Why were you?

      You know we have to pay wages to loans and free transfers don’t you? The difference in quality when you can offer say 10k-20k per week over 3k-5k is what it’s about…

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I bet GR wishes instead of spending the £400k transfer fee to get Brock-Madson permanently he had instead used it to pay the wages to get a real quality season long loan for someone like James Wilson. Vaughan is only an emergency loan I believe so I would think he will be one of those we go for in January so he is with us for the rest of the season. Assuming that leaves two I would go for Tesche and a left back. If it takes a few weeks to get Tesche up to full fitness so be it as long as he is injury free. I think Spector has done better than he gets credit for and if we get a proper left back Grounds is also an option at centre back.

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        A central midfield overhaul is where I would start with 2 proven replacements for Gleeson and Kieftenbild.Yes the defence needs looking at but its that area that I would throw my budget at if I were GR

        • BhamCityJulian says:

          Replace Kieftenbeld? Gary brought him in to play alongside Tesche. That might come to fruition in January.

  • Marky mark says:

    On our day we can beat anyone in this league, there’s only two teams I’ve seen this season who
    I would say are to good for us Derby and Hull and one of them couldn’t beat us.

    We can grab that sixth spot I’m sure, just a bit of luck and some canny January signings by GR.

    I’m a believer keep the faith. Kro

    • Mitchell says:

      Agree with that after just watchng Brighton. Both Brighton and ourselves very comparable. Key to our upping a gear is the window. For me the importance of getting the following ‘gaps’ is the key.

      Kusczak
      Caddis Morrison —— Grounds
      Gleeson. ——–
      Gray ——- Maghoma or Cotterill
      Donaldson.
      Subs: MK,Davis,Toral,Spector,Vaughan,VSO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As others have said, it’s more down to the wages you can offer. I don’t think paying a fee means you’ll automatically get good players.

    On a side note, I notice that Chelsea are 2-0 up in the first 13 minutes of their first game after Mourhino has gone. Overpaid tossers!

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      They’re all a disgrace and got him the sack by downing tools cos he sacked the doctor.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        And that my friend, is shortchanging the fans who have paid good money (a lot of it) to watch them. A disgrace to the game.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        True but the way he treated that doctor was a disgrace and nothing short of bullying. If I saw a senior manager at work treat a colleague like that I would lose respect for them. I’m not saying that’s an excuse for the way they have performed compared to what they are paid but they are human and emotions run deep when bullying is involved.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Have to agree with that. There was no need for it.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            Especially as the ref called her on to treat an injured Chelsea player and she had no choice but to come on. I never really understood why he did what he did.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          Agree with that and there’s no room for bullying in any walk of life.Ive always liked Mourhino but there is that distasteful side to him that comes out now and again.As far as the players are concerned they’re very lucky people getting payed between 1-2 hundred K a week to do a job and should be professional enough to do it despite their feelings.

        • chris says:

          Shirley, i’m glad he did what he did as that has shown most of us what he is really like and gives us a clue to what he must be like behind the scenes to deal with as well as his bleating about ref’s every week while he ignores all the many occasions they got the dodgy decisions.
          The real issue above all that is the useless UK press who were glued to his backside every week and ignoring so many other great managers with something decent to say in all the Leagues.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Can’t disagree with any of that. Concerning the players though, they’re professional footballers being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds per week and they have a duty to give 100% for the paying public. Could they stand up and honestly say they’ve done that this season?

          • Tony says:

            Chris the ends justify the means, he is the best at what he does.

  • Dave Mann says:

    And that my friends is player power , the manager is nothing without the support of his players and that includes mourinho .. Would appreciate it Dan if you would drop the Bromsgrove mourinho that you associate with Rowett .. Doesent seem right now does it ? Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Banking on the Toon beating the Vile tonight, to put them 11 points adrift at the bottom. :)

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      If Newcastle beat Villa it would make them 13 points adrift mate.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        17th Norwich 17 points

        20th A Villa 6 points

        I make that 11 points diff mate. ;)

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          Sorry mate your right,I was looking at the diff between Villa and Toon.It is just the 11 points then….!!

        • Shirley Blue says:

          You are quite correct Staffs. Newcastle are 1-0 up so would go above Norwich who are on 17 points if they win. Last time I looked on Sky it was absolutely pissing it down so let’s hope the pitch doesn’t get waterlogged. They are not going to escape this time. I work with a lot of Villa fans and every single one of them thinks they are dead and buried already much to my amusement.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I think they have to start winning games very soon if they’re going to stand a chance. It’s not insurmountable yet… but it’s getting mighty close.

    • Texas Pete says:

      I would rather we played them in the prem than the championship.

  • Texas Pete says:

    The game yesterday reminded me of the first game under Rowett against. The aim was work rate and zero goals against.
    Looking at Goal differences,it is goal power that is needed and we still dont have it. Maybe Vaughan and Donaldson can do it, but I have big doubts. We need someone who we pay money for that can finish. If that is IF they get the pass. I trust Rowett to provide those two keys in order to be able to combat the other team winning by a single goal.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Only way I can see Donaldson and Vaughan in the same team, is if Vaughan plays on the left.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        I think if he could get a really quality central midfield player in like Tesche he would think about going two up front. Vaughan and Toral pretty much played as a two last night. Toral isn’t a genuine number 10 more of a second striker so it wouldn’t be that much of a change. I think Donaldson and Vaughan would give us a lot of mobility up front and they would be a great first line of defence harassing defenders with their pace and movement. We would get a lot more possession with two up front.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I’ve said more or less the same thing before. The only way to change our style, is to bring in the players to change it. We don’t, at present, have the players to do that.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            All about having the right players to do it. Donaldson and Vaughan are good enough to know when one of them needs to drop off and help the midfield. Needs two tactically astute central midfielders as well.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I was going to say similar myself. Our central midfield is pi$$ weak, whichever two you put in there, I’m not sure the likes of Tesche would be enough tbh. I think we’d have to completely change the central two if we’re going to play with two up front.

    • chris says:

      not all my focus is on the front main striker, we also need more goals from the midfield and especially the wingers.
      Ross McCormack striker/winger Fulham 12
      Nick Blackman Reading Alan Judge Brentford 10
      Tom Ince Derby County 7
      Fernando Forestieri Sheffield Wednesday 6

  • Blue Steve says:

    Wes Thomas will be back in January as his loan expires then. It seems that what with injury and form Swindon will be sending him back. Maybe he could be an option bit I doubt it.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The main reason he’s being left out of the squad, I think, is because Swindon have 8 loan players and you can only have so many in the matchday squad.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Even if Swindon send him back I think he would just be loaned out to someone else if GR can get Vaughan in for the rest of the season. Vaughan is a class above Wes.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        To be brutally honest, I can’t see any of the loaned out players having a future at the club. They may as well sort something out for themselves. Burton might take Duffy, he’s had a good season so far.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Villa have just equalised annoyingly.

  • paul whittaker says:

    remember the vile only scraped a draw with a team 4th from bottom

  • paule says:

    The weather today made Villa’s game a leveller Newcastle 2nd half didn’t play well but still created the better chances!! Blues on the other hand were lucky to get 3 points but I don’t care a wins a win Kro.

  • chris says:

    people slating Lowry have to compare him as a League One player from Orient with only one Championship game versus his foe on Friday in Ameobi who is a Premier League player from Newcastle Utd with 17 Championship starts

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Read the words of Gary Rowett in the BM this morning, talking about selecting Lowry at left back.. and this bit caught my eye.

    “But whatever we did it was somebody out of position and until January we are not going to be able to solve that but he came in worked hard and contributed to our win.”

    Sounds as though they might have a left back earmarked for the transfer window?

  • Mitchell says:

    Well spotted Staffs.It is now 100% that GR has Left back a priority, perhaps Grounds being prepared to partner Morrison. Makes sense.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Tbh, we’ve needed a new left back since Rowett came in and made it obvious that Hancox didn’t fit the bill. I think that, apart from defensive duties, we need the same attacking threat down the left that we have with Caddis.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Bringing in a left back and putting Grounds at centre half could be the fit we need so be interesting to see what our manager does there … I also think that there’s no reason what so ever that Donsldson can’t play alongside Vaughan in a forward two or as the number ten that plays off him , Rowett said after the Cardiff game that he’s pretty much sticking with is trusted formation so maybe Vaughan will after play that role at ten if he’s to stay in the team but then what happens with Toral who for me is propably our classiest player .. with new signings coming in competition for places will be looking good for us and our chances of top six still very much alive , bring it on ! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      There’s no doubt that Toral has something, but for me, he blows too hot and cold. Also, as Rowett said himself, Toral should be in double figures for goals by now. Whoever plays up front, they need more support from the No.10… playing 15-20 yards away isn’t going to get us very far. We have no one running onto knock-downs atm.

  • Dave Mann says:

    That’s why with Donaldsons strength and work rate and vaughans pace just off him could definitely work in my opinion though as you say they must play close together and not 10 yards away from each other , I’ve got a sneaky that it could just work , just a feeling nothing else . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m old-fashioned, I don’t go for playing a midfielder up front with a striker. Give me a good old big ‘un and a little ‘un combo any day.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Re: January loans/signings 1/ Halford – rightsided cover for Caddis, Morrison plus general utility; a left back; Tesche or similar quality centre midfielder replacing Davis and challenging Gleeson; Vaughan or similar style second striker.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Rowett has hinted at about 3 signings. That’s possibly a left back and a striker (Vaughan) but what other position he thinks is a prority, I’ve no idea. Could be centre back (though I doubt that now,) a centre midfield, or a left midfield. Only time will tell.

  • Mitchell says:

    I look at Bournemouth and see goals coming from all areas. Not household names by any means-just players who shoot and hit the target regularly. We talk about a Tesche or Vaughan playing in that role or another and who will occupy number 10 etc. To me players like Caddis have to play each week as he forages upfield and offers us options-Davis has to play also as MK cannot pass most of the time. Francis,Arter,Pugh and Ritchie etc score goals even without Callum Wilson for Bournemouth. Donaldson,Vaughan,Toral,Gray will work tirelessly but cannot hit the net regularly. Priority to me is to get a Kevin Philips type in who can teach our current main first eleven the knack of scoring.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Our midfielders have contributed 10 league goals this season, but when you consider that our defence has scored 9 league goals, it doesn’t look so rosy. Add the fact that Donaldson has scored in only 3 games this season and Brock-Madsen and Vaughan have so far failed to register, then it’s evident that we need to perhaps buy in a few goals. Although, when you consider that none of the top 6 have scored more than 33 so far this season, we’re not that far behind on 27.

      • Mitchell says:

        Good point Staffs.- just that whoever seems to play as forward role-be it Don.Toral,BM,Thomas,Vaughan,Shinnie,Gray etc. nowt much happens. Never mind just heard on 5live that Premiership safety this year likely to be 41 points as opposed to 36/7 in last two seasons. Warm glow returning!

  • Dave Mann says:

    That looks to me like we have goals all through the team so if that’s the case then the strikers not scoring 15/20 goals a season is not the major concern , in the last three tough games against good opposition we’ve conceded one goal so tight at the back and we won’t have to score three goals a game to win . Kro

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Looks like a left back is coming in and Vaughan has become a must as well although I don’t see him as a Number 10 but an out and out striker who can run the channels much like Donaldson.
    Tesche or an equivelant in midfield is the one that is going to define how competitive we are in this window.

  • Dave Mann says:

    WWWW- Wallsal win, Watford to win, Wolves to win , West Ham to win ????.. Let’s see by six o’clock . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Watford still winning after an hour. Wolves losing 2-1 to Sheff Wed at half time. Wednesday need to win by 3 clear goals to go above us.

  • Dave Mann says:

    If they win by two staffs they go above us on goals scored . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    As long as we beat Sheffield Wednesday Boxing Day and Ipswich fail to win then we’re go up to 6th anyway so no problem on our away form .. Trust the dingles to me me down .. We won’t loose 4-1 at Hillsborough I can guarantee it .. Maybe the other way round .. Chilled as always . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Just had a quick browse on the Wolves forums… one poll had 77% wanting Jackett gone. On another, I read this:

      “He’s got to go before its too late .

      Watch Birmingham . Inferior squad , inferior team . Pass it comfortably , cooly and create chances.” :)

      • Dave Mann says:

        Sounds about right staffs , were comfortable with the ball , play it cool and create many chances away from home .. Never mind Xmas eve or Xmas day , I can’t wait for Boxing Day . :-) Kro

        • StaffsBlue says:

          All we’re short of really, Dave, is that cutting edge up front. Let’s face it, we should have blitzed more than just Fulham this season.

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    Lets hope Vaughan doesn’t start scoring until we have signed him permanently otherwise Huddersfield will only bump up the price.


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