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A Lucky Point – Brighton Reflections
Here are my reflections on the Blues v Brighton game at St Andrews
A Lucky Point
It took a goalkeeping mistake of villa-esque proportions to gift Blues a point that they scarcely deserved. I’ve seen that Lee Clark thought we deserved more but I can’t agree – if anything I think he’s lucky that people were either too cold, too bored or too apathetic to sing for his head because for long periods Blues looked dire.
It didn’t even have to be that way. To pick a team without a recognised striker when you’ve only got a non-contract player and a 17-year-old first year scholar available is one thing – to do so when you’ve got £80,000 a week’s worth of talent sat on the bench is unforgivable really. Blues lacked an outlet up top – Redmond and Hall ran about gamely but neither can hold the ball effectively to take pressure off the defence and consequently the ball just kept coming back.
I know this won’t be a popular opinion but quite frankly I thought we missed Hayden Mullins today. Callum Reilly chased about but is still just a 19-year-old rookie with all the limitations and nerves that brings and Morgaro Gomis once again looked poor. Brighton went over us, around us and through us and on another day would have racked up a few goals because Blues really were that powderpuff in midfield. Throw into the equation Chris “Can’t tackle, won’t tackle” Burke who admittedly looked okay going forwards but did nothing off the ball and Wade Elliott who drifted so far infield from the left flank so often that the Brighton right-winger developed agoraphobia… well, you get the picture.
One day, I suspect Butland will be a great keeper. Unfortunately for us it’s not right now – whilst he made a world-class save at the end to deny Brighton snatching victory back his command of the area today was just poor. I feel for the lad – he’s 19 and still developing, still ironing out the kinks in his game and yet he’s caught up in a relegation scrap with a defence in front of him that seem intent on making his life as hard as possible. He’s got a difficult burden on those young shoulders and I don’t think Blues will be offered anywhere near what they want for him because he’s just not quite ready yet.
I think it speaks volumes when within 40 seconds of coming on he’s won two flicks and a corner and got us on the front foot attacking wise. He’s not always the most graceful of footballers but he gave the Brighton defence a lot more to think about and gave us an outlet to look for – giving the defence at least a moment to catch their breath after hoofing it fifty yards before having to defend again. Yes, he was lucky to score but on the flip side how many other Blues players got into the position to be lucky? I think that a lot of luck is created by being in the right places and doing the right things and Zigic did that. He’s got a knack for important goals and that might be one of them as it got us another precious point.
All in all, a fairly poor game played in front of a fairly poor crowd with the end being a fairly poor result (taken into context of what we need). What worries me is that Blues fans seem resigned to the Blues not winning again – and thus instead of anger they’re just being apathetic (or worse not even attending) and that without the resignation of Clark or the Board Blues may well end up feeling resigned to relegation. It’s no longer about good performances, or “that little bit of luck” – Blues need to win games. Pure and simple.