Often Partisan

Queues but no goals: Hereford Utd v Birmingham City friendly review

Here are my reflections on Birmingham City’s 0-0 draw with Hereford Utd in yesterday’s friendly at Edgar Street:

1) The Good

Whilst it wasn’t the most exciting game I’ve been to, it would be churlish not to look at the players who had a good performance. Chris Burke in particular looked very good on the right flank; regularly getting past the left back and looking to get balls into the box from the byeline. He’s got a bit of pace about him, and I think should the rumours about Stephen Carr departing for our lupine friends in dingle country not be true, they could build as good a partnership as the one our Irish right back enjoyed with Seb Larsson.

Whilst he didn’t score, I also liked the look of Adam Rooney. He reminds me of Iain Dowie; not the most elegant of players but the kind of bloke who isn’t afraid to put his head in where it hurts and poach goals in the eighteen yard box. He seems to have a good level of anticipation, and if we can play to his strengths by getting the ball “into the mixer”, I think Rooney could benefit.

Of the youngsters who got a game, Akwasi Asante showed what he can do with one very good bustling run full of pace and power; he didn’t really beat players so much as steamroller through them and I suspect against tiring legs he may be a good battering ram to use off the subs bench. Redmond only got three minutes but the one run he did have showed his turn of pace, and the cross should really have been buried by Michel.

On the subject of Michel, I’m confused by people who thought he looked good as a “second striker”. Granted, as a midfielder he has a fine range of passing and he showed that today with some delightful stuff in the second half, really linking up well with Jordon Mutch; however he’s not a goalscoring type I think and if we’re reduced to playing 4-4-1-1 because of injury I think we need to try someone else behind the front man.

2) The Bad

It’s true that you cannot read much into friendly results; it is all about fitness and getting players up to speed but one thing that does frighten me is our genuine lack of penetration in the final third. For instance, in the first half we won the ball in the Hereford half, and had a bit of a break on. We didn’t lose possession, but Hereford got back in numbers, and whilst we passed it around the eighteen yard area there were a string of Hereford players across the edge of the area, and we just couldn’t break through. What it needed was a player to drop a yard or two off his marker and then make a run between the Hereford defenders to give someone a chance to get the ball into or near the box; what happened was we ended up losing the ball after a load of sideways passes.

Rooney was isolated in the area too often as well; if a ball is crossed in well from the wings (and we did manage it a few times), then it’s better for us if more than one player attacks it against three defenders and the keeper. It was all too reminiscent of last season, and I hope Hughton is able to tinker with the team enough to instil confidence in the team to gamble and make those forward runs.

3) The Ugly

Apparently Hereford only expected 200-300 Blues fans, 500 maximum to turn up. As it turned out, it was closer to 2000 with a number of fans locked out after the stewards decided they couldn’t let any more in. The attendance was 2.800, and there was easily room to allow in at least a few hundred more Blues fans; yes, they’d have got in after kick off but I’m sure many would have preferred that to being turned away.

Predictably, the locking of the gates encouraged some Blues fans to get on the roof of one stand, and another small bunch to rush one of the gates to get into a home end. There was a feeling within the ground that it could turn ugly outside (although that never materialised), and I’m thankful that the stewards (who did the best they could with little to no backup from their Safety Officer) weren’t overly called into action by rampaging fans.

I also should give mention to the few Bluenoses (including a certain @connorcam) giving it large in the home end in the second half to the bemused glances of the Hereford fans; although singing “Shit Ground, No Fans” when you’re surrounded by home supporters isn’t the smartest thing to do. Thankfully, no harm done.

What have we learnt from today? Well, there is a lot of work to be done tactically still; some of our new signings look useful and Blues fans are still continuing to back the team despite financial worries from the board, player departures and the best efforts of incompetent safety officers. A good day out, in truth.

photos courtesy of B5B

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10 Responses to “Queues but no goals: Hereford Utd v Birmingham City friendly review”

  • paul edgerton says:

    What really is the point of shouting ‘shit ground, no fans’ in the middle of your opponents end? Boorish behaviour at it’s worst and the type of Blues fan we really could do without. Not big and not clever. Still, I suppose his mates thought he was great.

  • Michael Squires says:

    Truth be told, I was very disappointed with some of our so-called fans yesterday. The behavior of a group of them in the Cargill Stand was unbelievable as well as unnecessary. Why? The Hereford fans I came across were friendly and welcoming and I thought the stewarding was very low key given the fact that they were clearly shocked at the number of Blues fans present. Admittedly, locking some fans out was not a good idea (and they also ran out of food and programmes) but none of this justifies the bahaviour I saw. Thank goodness most of the Blues fans were great.

  • kimberley blue says:

    Agree with all points raised except the stewards did not seem to have a clue where to send us . I was moved into 4 different turnstile queues.
    Concerned that Curtis Davies keeps going to ground too early ( or he just keep falling over)
    Other than that nice day out in the sun

  • Chris Quinn says:

    Go on, Connor!

  • hammy says:

    what about gomez????

    a very good performance, and, at last a central mid player who wants to keep it on the deck…..

    apart from a few 2nd half touches, we (5) all thought michel was woefull….

    and how good is stephen carr????…….weve just gotta keep this guy……..

    we were also pleased with burke and davies who i personally think will be superb next season….

    how fahey ever made pro baffles me…..

  • Jon Herrador says:

    Always really enjoy your Blogs OP,first Class ! but I nearly choked on my corn flakes when you compared our Rooney to Iain Dowie….Please NO….Dowie was one of the worst centre forwards ever to grace a football pitch….words that are often spilled out by West Ham and Palace fans.From what I have seen so far,I think Rooney will be goal scorer for us next season who is comfortable on the ball….something Iain Dowie has never been for most teams he has played for.

    KRO

  • hammy says:

    sorry…GOMIS….my mistake…..

    • almajir says:

      I heard a few people at Hereford calling him Gomez, and it’s a personal pet peeve when people can’t get player’s names right.

      • hammy says:

        personally, i couldnt give a toss how people pronounce or write the players names….

        its how they play and their commitment that counts……..

        and gomis was the highlight of saturday for me…..he’s gonna be our best player this season i feel…..

        KRO…..


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