Often Partisan

Blues Convincingly Win First Friendly

Birmingham City were 3-1 victors in their first pre-season friendly against Solihull Moors at the Automated Technology Group Stadium last night. A brace from Clayton Donaldson and a close range finish from Diego Fabbrini in the first half took the game away from the hosts who replied in the second with a good finish from one of their seven trialists.

Blues fielded a team in each half and the difference showed markedly; the first half was all about neat passing and possession with Fabbrini the centrepiece of the attacking set up while the second half seemed to be all chasing long balls behind the Moors defence. There have been times when I’ve been less than impressed with our Italian attacking midfielder but Fabbrini showed his value last night; his skill at close quarters was unbelievable while his range of passing kept the home side guessing

Jonathan Grounds has clearly decided the potential signing of a left-back could be a problem for him and his place in the team, performing excellently in the first half including a beauty of a cross (has he been learning from TF?) for Donaldson’s first. On the other flank Josh Cogley linked up well with Viv Solomon-Otabor to give Blues a threat on both wings.

Donaldson had one of those weird games where he scored twice and did little else. He looked slow and lethargic at times and while his first goal was a good header he didn’t look like he knew much about the second, the ball striking him in the face before going in.

Blues looked smart in their new away kit but either the Adidas sizing is unforgiving or Paul Caddis has had a bit too much of a good time away in the off season, as he looked to be carrying a few extra pounds. The Scot, like many in the second half didn’t have the greatest of games and one has to wonder if Gary Rowett is looking at players like Dwight Tiendalli to make sure Caddis knows he is not undroppable.

Nicolai Brock-Madsen struggled to fit into an unfamiliar right wing position and can be forgiven for not contributing much; however James Vaughan again struggled up top, missing four chances to open his account (in some small way) in a Blues shirt. I tweeted at the time a straw poll about who would score first in a Blues shirt thinking not just that half but ahead to the season. It’s painfully obvious why Rowett is chasing a striker because after Donaldson Blues are really struggling right now.

As has been said in the past, nothing really counts until “the real ball” comes out; I’m sure the bumper 1,912 crowd enjoyed the game but there are still concerns there among the team that changes need to be made so that Blues can compete. With 24 days until the season opener it’s imperative Blues get on with their transfer business.

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58 Responses to “Blues Convincingly Win First Friendly”

  • David L says:

    We’ve an Italian international. Playing against a team 4(?) divisions below us he showed what skill and incisive play he is capable of.

    Can the team engineer him the space and time to do this in a ‘real’ game? I don’t want to see him scrapping and battling for the ball – that’s not his strength. Get the hod carriers to bring the bricks and we’ve a craftsman to build some quality.

    Desperately need quality/new blood/something different up front centrally.

    I know you keep saying Hale isn’t up to it – but how old was TF when he made a monkey out of Ron Atkinson/Oxford United? Yes I know such special players only come along occasionally – but it’s been 40 + years since TF, so maybe it’s time to find out. If we don’t try Hale now in these games, when will we?

    • mark says:

      He not good enough according to GR…lets hope the defense is better than last year…nope

  • edd77 says:

    I think Fabbrini will be better this season with Tesche in the team they seemed to work well on the loan spell they had together

  • mark says:

    well well little Bournemouth splashed out 15 mil on a player who graced our turf JI…i wonder where our 10 mil is?…They are probably keeping firmly in their pocket i guess…

  • mark says:

    1-3 win against a team who really we should be whipped 6-0 or 7 nil…i pass on commenting on this match.

    • almajir says:

      Were you at the game?

      • mark says:

        no but very close friends did, and your point is! Instead i watch your commentary attempting to be AW. i don’t like wasting money on friendly i prefer the really stuff like 6th August at home to Cardiff how about you?, we won 3-0 last year at Nuneaton was that convincing?

    • Waycoolblue says:

      I was there and no we should not have been beating them 6/7-0 to be fear the mores where solid defensively and will not concede to many goals if they play like that in their league games. We won the midfield battle. And that won us the fist half but with a different midfield in the second half we lost the midfield battle. And that lost us the second half.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      If we had played the second half with the first half team and had wanted to humiliate SM we’d have got six or seven

  • Stan Moye says:

    I’m one of the frustrated fans who’d like to see a bit more transfer activity. It’s quite clear the squad needs beefing up. Whilst l’m not advocating making a signing for a signings sake, surely the powers that be must realise the inactivity effects season and match ticket sales, and can cause dispondancy within the ranks. It does not help that the likes of the Vile have made what appear to be decent signings. So please GR and Co give us something to enthuse us loyal Bluenoses.

  • Dave Mann says:

    That’s a good assessment of the game Dan and a game of two halves it trully was .. Now looking forward to forest green Saturday . KRO… I only saw 2 Moors fans there by the way ! :-)

    • Istanblue says:

      I was standing in a group of four so you can’t have been looking that hard!

      To be fair, a large proportion of Moors’ support are also Blues and watch both teams where possible. Plus, you’d have to be a real loser to want to sing (and indeed let off smoke bombs…) at a non-league friendly.

      The first half was good to watch. The second was a bit meh. Stefan Moore came very close to scoring for Solihull, which would’ve been funny. It’d probably be the highlight of his career!

      • Dave Mann says:

        It was a girl letting the smoke bombs off Istanblue and she got chased by the stewards , absolute idiot but it was funny when she shoved past us to try and run away .. Sorry mate we’re make that 6 moors fans :-) KRO

  • royinamillion says:

    Come on guys this is a pre season friendly and we all know they are no guide to league form. I remember not so long ago we were winning all our pre season games when Clarke was manager and we all know what happened that season. We are not going to see anyone coming who will be an automatic goal machine so let’s be patient not panic and see what happens in the first few games. We were 3 goals up in the first half before the team was changed so doesn’t that answer a few questions on the capability of the Tersche, Fabrinni Donaldson combination. By the way did anyone notice the similarity between Donaldson and the Portuguese goal scorer?

    • Dave Mann says:

      Yes . KRO

    • jonno11blue says:

      Sorry, “be patient and see what happens in the first few games” no the new players should be signed before the season starts, in fact they should be on board before preseason so they can get to know their new team mates. If we lose the first 3/4 matches we could end up fighting at the wrong end of the table. If I was a neutral last night I wouldn’t be wasting my money going to watch them. In fact be interesting to know how many season tickets they have sold

  • Waycoolblue says:

    I enjoyed the game we won the first half convincingly 3-0. But we lost the second half 1-0 . James Vaughan looked disinterested to me I hope we get a new striker soon but we need 2 and get rid of Vaughan He as no desire. Brock-Madsen should not have been out wide he just looked clumsy there .
    Fabbrini stood out and he did make monkeys out of their players at times. Grounds showed that all the things he as been lacking are there and if he can play like that in a friendly he should in the games that matter.

  • It’s obvious that we still need more players after last night’s showing in the second half .over to you Gary ….

  • Andrew says:

    If we start the season with those players(more than likely) we wont finish higher than last season, more like about 6 places lower than we did last

    • mark says:

      someone listening good day to you.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Been saying it since end of the season . KRO

      • Bluey says:

        And some of us were saying it well before that Dave. I said we were over achieving last season with no chance of the play-offs (proved correct) and this coming season we`ll be lucky to be top half. We simply haven`t the clout to compete.

        • Dave Mann says:

          As it stands I have to agree. KRO

          • Bluey says:

            Bloody frustrating innit? Even when TTA take over, the money we receive from them is relatively small compared with some. This is why i was hoping for owners who wanted success for the club rather than use us an investment vehicle to make a quick buck. Sadly i think we`ll be treading water for quite a while.

          • almajir says:

            In other words, you want an owner with bottomless pockets ready to throw money at the club with no care for the return?

  • mark says:

    Hooray Sam for england

  • KC says:

    Thanks for the report Dan. Unfortunately I could not make it last night but it seems from your report and all the comments that the good and the bad were there to see as usual.
    See Shinnie was not mentioned !

  • zxcv says:

    What the hell has it got to do with the price of fish if Mark was at the match or not ?. Won 3-1 convincingly ? its bloody Solihull Moors fgs with SEVEN trialists at that, and we end up losing the second half 1-0. wow Can`t wait for the season now after that.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Oh NO!!! It’s a disaster!!We lost the second half 1-0,we’re going to get relegated,SACK GR!!! Panic panic panic!!……..Bloody unbelievable.

  • Steve in Yorkshire says:

    Come off it, it’s a friendly! They are further down the line in terms of training due to when their season starts, it’s just about fitness and ideas about shape. Sounds like we had decent shape and created quite a bit and all players got 45 mins. You can’t read too much into the scoreline; nothing matters till August. Stop stressing!

  • Mitchell says:

    Formation is the key with two decent strikers. Incredible how managers try to complex the matter. GR only needs to fill two positions and then hump the ball in for them.We have enough wide men to achieve this. Donaldson out of the picture must surely be the way forward-not his fault at all-but the laboured single big man up front with his back to the opposite goal trying the flick on’s is outdated and futile.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’ve never liked one up front and never will. I don’t think it’s at all attractive to watch. Unfortunately, it seems to be the in-thing these days. But, it is what it is, we just have to accept it… untill the next fad comes along.

      • zxcv says:

        Or the next Manager.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Trouble is, when one has a bit of success with a system, most of the rest follow like sheep. It’s always refreshing to see a manager with his own philosophy.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think pre-season friendlies are anything to get worked up about. They’re a means to an end, a way to get match fit, that’s all. You learn bugger all playing two different teams in a match.. except that the disruption f**ks with the continuity.

    If you have to learn anything about the players, play a different team in different games, but ffs sake, give them the 90 full minutes. Of the players who have been here the last season or two, Rowett and his team should know everything they need to know about each and every one already.

    • zxcv says:

      I agree 100%. Also what do we learn playing such teams ? (with respect to them) Why can’t we be playing teams that will seriously test us or at least teams equal to us ? I do not give a sh@t about the result its meaningless, far better be it to find our weaknesses now fgs.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        This is something I’ve never understood. Surely better teams would give us a better work out? Play a non-league team first, to blow away the cobwebs, then up the standard of opposition for the rest.

        One thing Rowett could learn from the friendlies, is how to use substitutes. A lot of his changes last season were baffling to say the least.

  • Steve in Yorkshire says:

    I don’t agree that managers try to make things more complex; most teams play 4-2-3-1 now so if you don’t match up the midfield you are at a disadvantage. if you don’t dominate the midfield or at least compete, the other team are more likely to get chances and get near your goal, you are also less likely to get near their goal.

    As you say, yes you could just lump it forward, but two top strikers aren’t easy to come by and you still have to worry about when the opposition have the ball!

  • Littleblue says:

    Mark I wasn’t at the game but if you don’t realise friendlys are for fitness and shape and so forth you know nothing about football. And I take it you also don’t realise what’s happened to the club for the last 5 years under panniers an yeung. While I say it again I’m not saying Gary is the best manager ever but judge him when he gets real money ie a chunk of the 10mil hopefully in January. In the the meantime mark try an be a bit more poser Tiverton.

    • Tony says:

      Littleblue you obviously do not know Mark, the only time he was positive was when that hapless disaster Clark was manager. He loved him totally and utterly, since he has been err relieved of his duties he does not want Birmingham City fc to prosper in any way. Understandable really he has lost his job .

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Even if GR continues with the same kind of formation this season I think things will be different.The main reason it was so hit and miss especially towards the end of last season was because the midfield wasn’t strong enough and although Gleeson and Davis are honest workers they are incapable of retaining the ball well enough and are too inconsistent.Tesche is a big step up in class and will find Fabrini in more space with his possession and passing.A good left sided midfielder/winger with some pace to properly replace the threat we carried when we had Dimi and I can see us taking shape across our midfield.

  • Bluey says:

    What i want Dan are owners with more potential to invest in the playing side because unless they suddenly find more cash we are going to be treading water in the Championship for the time they`re with us. What i want is to be sure that new owners care about the club and show ambition rather than see us as a `quick earner` only to be sold off when they`re happy with their return. Of course i`m happy that CY, Pannu,etc are gone and i do believe TTA will put us on a more solid footing as it`s in their interests to see the club out of choppy waters.my point is i do not see us challenging for promotion under their guidance and i find that frustrating.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Bluey,it is what it is.Every club in the country with obvious exceptions want that sort of ownership.Lets just be thankful that at last we are free from the shackles of the Yeung era and have now got temporary owners who can guide the club back into a healthy situation and make us at least semi-competitive.Frustrating but let’s just take it one step at a time.

      • Bluey says:

        I agree with everything you`ve said. I do understand where we are and i am pleased we`ve made a step forward but is it so wrong to want the club i love to be ambitious and well-funded. Although TTA are likely to be a better bet than CY and his cronies i don`t see them making us a promotion force during their 2 years of tenure.Hope i`m wrong.

  • Littleblue says:

    Well Tony we can do without marks of this world imo. If rowett gets the one’s he wants I’m more than optimistic about the season ahead. And a little push with hopefully more funds in January bring it on! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Of course, it’s always frustrating when you see other clubs recruiting players left, right and centre, whilst we’re playing it cool… but Rowett cannot really be judged until that window closes. Then, we go with what we have until January. We’ll be under no illusions by then. I’m just sitting and waiting patiently until then.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I think Walsall away , Hibernian away and Roda at home for me are good friendlies and good tests above Solihull and Forest green so the opposition is improving during pre season so let’s enjoy the build up and the new signings to come and go from there , makes sense to me . KRO

  • like staffs I think one striker up front is counter productive to promotion,, all strikers have barren spells and if there is 2 strikers the one not getting goals can act as provider for the other so the team doesn’t suffer , reserve strikers are not as good as first team strikers , so I would go for two strikers that can make goals and score them . I am not in for disturbing the backbone of a Team even in friendly matches , and being as Morro and shots and kief and tesche and or gleeson , and fab and the Don need to gel they must be played together in all the preseason matches and in the same team .I hope we are not going to get players signed 5 minutes left of the transfer window as that is also counter productive to promotion ,as the new players need time to gel so that we can hit the boards running , ,KRO

  • MisterFrain says:

    New season upcoming, squad still to be finalised, ‘ interesting ‘ fixtures this time round: Newcastle, Burton, vile etc Same doom and gloom each pre-season, if we can’t be optimistic and patient now – we had to wait long enough for our 2011 success – when can we?

    FACT re pre-season: Newcastle, under Chris H, lost 6-0 at Orient, and then went on to win the Championship…I believe the presence of two of the relegated teams will provide the rest of us with extra motivation. Blues wearing Addidas went up under Jim Smith

    Bring it on & KRO

  • For me it’s not doom and gloom, to do well the club must act proffessional in everything it does , every little thing must be done to give us an edge , I am looking forward to the season more so if we get a few more players in ,

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Given the opposition you’d have expected Tesche and Fabbrini to be standouts and indeed they were. Donaldson disappointed; Davis was ordinary as per; VSO isn’t quite ready but we need to accept that we have to keep playing him in order to gain that experience. I was impressed by Cogley.

    That team with Morrison and Shotton, a new left back and a new centre forward, Kieftenbeld for Davis is a pretty decent starting XI even without Cotterill

  • Mitchell says:

    Walsall making Bradshaw available now will see him sign for a Champ.club any day now. We all know via Daniels comment that GR wants better. However I really hope that this doesn’t come back to bite us-as I see him with a Sheff. Wed.or similar good club doing well. Imo this player would give all bluenoses a lift and used along Donaldson could work. Problem is GR is cautious so we will never know.

  • Bluey says:

    Re Bradshaw i think we have to give GR benefit of the doubt. He has so little leeway financially that he has to be cautious when signing players. If he`s not sure about him then does he take a punt or try to find a player he feels more confident him. We must not forget he`s on a shoestring budget and cannot afford too many mistakes.


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