Often Partisan

Saving the Best Until Last – Reading Reflections

Here are my reflections on the Birmingham City v Reading game.

1) Saving the best until last

It’s easy enough to say “Reading were on the beach” or some other similar cliché but the fact was Blues played bloody well. Not only did they beat the title-winners, but they did so comprehensively. Despite clearing three off the line and saving a penalty Blues looked comfortable and the last twenty minutes was at times brilliant – flowing passing moves pulling the Reading team one way or the other, toying with their defence to create an opening. And all this despite not having the two highest scorers out on the pitch at kick off, and losing the third highest scorer within 19 minutes.

2) Redmond and Townsend

Nathan Redmond was awarded the man of the match award at the ground but it could have easily gone to the on-loan Spurs winger. Andros showed why he is rated so highly with some excellent runs, some neat dribbling and skills to get away from defenders and some decent crosses. Whilst Nathan did that he also showed something that proves his progression this season – he was strong, holding off defenders and not allowing them to bully him off the ball. I like him a lot in the middle and I think it gave him more freedom to express himself – and if he can do that without worrying about some hulking centre back stomping on him because he can hold them off then his promise just ratchets up another notch.

3) Gomis

It was one of the shortest midfield duels I’ve ever seen; Morgaro Gomis and Jay Tabb going at each other like jockeys scrapping after a tough race. However short in stature Gomis may be, he was like a lion in the middle and once again he impressed me with his work rate, his tackling and passing. The lob over the top for Redmond to run onto for the first goal was just class; it was perfectly weighted for Nathan to run on to and caught the Royal backline off guard. With his compatriot Guirane N’Daw looking a bit off-colour at times Gomis has to be on his game to ensure that the midfield didn’t get over-run, and he stuck to that manfully.

4) Rooney

I feel for Rooney sometimes; he’s only been a bit-part player at times yet has a one in four record in all competitions for the team. He’s never moaned, always tried his hardest when he’s come on and he’s scored some good goals. At the supporters club forum on Tuesday Rooney was spoken about in glowing terms by Steven Caldwell for his work ethic – often the first one into training, and one who works hard afterwards on things – and I was delighted to see him take his chance. He played well; linked up really well with Redmond and gave us the attacking thrust we seemed to be missing at the start with Zigic.

5) A Clean Sheet!

I thought the defence played well, and deserved to have a clean sheet to their names – but it didn’t come easily. Two off the line from Pablo Ibanez, one from Curtis Davies and a pen saved from Colin Doyle show that it wasn’t an easy day for the backline boys. However, I thought that they played well – Pablo in particular seems to have grown into the team and he can’t have picked a better time to hit form. I have to admit, I didn’t think Reading would score that pen; it was the fifth they’ve not scored this season and the fourth penalty save from five for Doyle. It bodes well for the playoffs.

6) The Fans

I wanted to mention quickly how much I enjoyed today’s game; I feared that there would be a massive backlash against the board because of the delayed accounts but barring one rendition of the “Carson song” about half way through the first half, there was nothing of that. Instead the fans got behind the team, sang loudly and proudly – and the slow rousing chorus of “Keep Right On” was just glorious.

Blues go into the playoffs unbeaten in nine – five of them wins – and with a team that is scoring goals, has confidence and good spirit. I believe we can do it, I hope we can do it – let’s see if we do do it.

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  • onlyme

    Great result today, thought we played really well, Nathan , Thats the strongest ive ever seen him, so glad he has shown us that side of his game , a big shout for Murphy , I thought he could have been MOTM easily, but ithe team as a whole played really well, Momentumn is key, and if we play no worser than today over the next 3 games, we should be going up….
    Well done to the team, Im extremely proud, no matter what happens next…What a great season we have been dished up.

    KRO…

  • Bluenosejohn

    Good to see our fans give Reading due applause before and after the game for winning the title and all credit to Chris Hughton for his comments about them and for giving Reading a few minutes after the game on their own on the pitch to celebrate before Blues made their entrance. A few of the opposition fans stayed longer than they had to and clapped Blues. Good luck to Reading next year ( providing they are not staying up at our expense!) KRO

  • http://OP BowThai

    Spot on with all your points.What a great result for our players,mgt team,fans….and Peter Pan(im sure they will release the results in May!) .CH put out,i thought, a super line up,saving players where needed.A truely great day/night for me spoilt only by the feeble Baggies!! Saving the best until last OP,not yet!!!!KRO

  • skareggae72

    We have not seen much of Doyle at BCFC,but when he does play he seems to have a knack of saving penalties,which must be a good omen for what lies ahead,KRO.

  • Qatarblue

    I don’t know if people remember but Doyle was definitely amongst the heroes when Blues got promoted previously.
    I remember particularly the Wolves match at Molineaux when Bentner scored the bullet header winner – Doyle was magnificant that day. It was only a red card when Bellamy did a professional dive at Stans that put him out of the team when we were back in the Prem – then Taylor just nailed the goalies shirt on his back after that.
    Doyle def under rated was great in Europe and steps upto the mark when ever required. Hope that we do not lose him to Ipswich as rumoured – his best is yet to come.

    • Steve-0

      Bendtner got the second, jerome got the winner. Doyle saved a pen at 3-2.

  • Trevorandkennyaremagic

    The man of the match could have been chosen from a number of blues players. Murphy, Redmond, Gomis and Townsend in particular. I thought the team had more pace and kept the ball better than recent games. Perhaps we are better without Zigic where we stop lumping it forward! Surely
    Hughton will not drop Gomis and Redmond for the play off games now. I agree about the slow rendition of KRO. So much better than the usual ‘Keep right on TILL the end of the road I hear most weeks.

  • JohnR

    Best home game of the season by far. Not going with all this praise for Reading tho’. Thought they were poor and very physical. The referee was also poor like many we’ve had at Stan’s this season.

  • Blueboy88

    If somebody wanted to buy BCFC now , could they ?
    With the shares suspended & CY’s assets frozen ?

    • almajir

      Yes

      • Blueboy88

        If shares are suspended on the London Stock Exchange, nobody can buy or sell them ,
        is that not the case on the HK stock exchange ?

        • almajir

          Shares in BIHL are suspended.

          However, that doesn’t stop BCFC (which is a subsidiary) being sold to someone else.

          • Blueboy88

            Excellent – All we need now is a fit for purpose buyer….

  • bluenose08

    Spot on with your summing up. About colin doyle i have always been a big fan of his so what happens when myhill who s done a good job goes back to wba and foster who is bound to be sold. So if we let colin join ipswich which is rumoured in the press that just leaves butland and there are a few premier clubs interested in him so i say get colin on a new deal now as he his a good loyal servant to the club who enjoys playing for blues and it would save the club money by not having to bring a new keeper in !
    Looking forward to the play-offs now and whatever happens its been a great season and the football
    has been outstanding.
    k.r.o.

  • Iggy

    I do indeed remember the Wolves 2007 game, Qatarblue. Bentner’s bullet header was in fact the equaliser, with Jerome scoring the winner running down the left wing, cutting in and finishing with a cross shot. Doyle did indeed save a penalty; Blues’ other scorer on the day being Andy Cole(! )

    I’d keep him in the team on Friday, but is there any news on Myhill?

    • NooBloo

      Myhill wont play again before the end of season, he has damaged thumb

  • Carl

    Surprised no one has mentioned Elliot. Some wonderful vision and passing. Shame he fluffed his lines for the last pen

  • NooBloo

    whilst all other Blues fans were watching us whip the Champions. I had the pleasure of watching our semi final opponents in the play offs and to be honest, they aint all that much to write home about. They should have been 3-0 down in the first 20 minutes. They had only 2 on target the whole 90 minutes. Admittedly they scored with both but they could and should have concedded another 4 in the 2nd half. So all in all, I am very optimistic

  • DoctorD

    May I congratulate the team, no matter what happens in the playoffs, on a fantastic season.

  • Oldbluenose

    I am NOT being pessimistic at all, but assuming that it’s possible to miss out in the play-offs, What, if any, Financial reward to we recieve from our 4th, placing towards next season,??.
    In the Premiership, End of season places bring financial rewards, — Does that appertain in the Championship,?.

  • surreybluenose

    I might have temporary amnesia bu I don’t remember an offside in yesterday’s game. Any way of confirming this?

  • DoctorD

    Good question mate – impossible to find on the Football League website but this is the best I can do:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_winners_prize_money_for_the_coca_cola_championship_league

    Seems like £50k to the winners and £25k for the runner’s up but don’t quote me on that.

  • Oldbluenose

    Well now, Doctor D, It looks as though we get nowt for 4th,!!. We shall just have to beat, Blackpool, then whoever is left from W/ham–Cardiff, — Gain promotion and earn ourselves a slice of the ” fat-cats ” Cash that is slopping around in the Premier Vaults, !!!.

  • Wingman Blue

    Good manager, good team, good support…and a big thank you to McJudas for jumping ship!

  • Steve-0

    Losers traditionally get the gate receipts from the final.

  • Paulo

    That slow ‘original’ version of Keep Right On simply topped off the entire day! ..another top shift put in by all.

    BCFC

  • jazzzy786

    At last we are playing Redmond in the hole and not at left wing. I’ve been screaming for this for most of the season it seems. With Burke on the right and Townsend on the left we have a very pacy team that very few championship teams could live with. Great win over the ‘best’ team in the league and going into the playoffs on good form.

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