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The Return of the Feelgood Factor – Forest Review
Here are my reflections on the match between Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest at St Andrews.
A Good Result And A Good Performance
It made a nice change – to walk out of the ground having seen Blues play well throughout a game and pick up three points. Throw in the first back to back wins of the season, a pantomime villan in Big Eck and the only disappointment was that Blues threw away what would have been only their fifth clean sheet of the season with an iffy penalty at the end.
Make no mistake – this was a very good performance. The defence appeared strong and resolute; the midfield combative and creative and the front line caused the Forest defence problems throughout the game with only a lack of composure when shooting denying Wes Thomas a debut goal. Indeed, Marlon King could have had a couple, Nathan Redmond could have scored – it could have been a veritable thrashing but for a little bit more confidence when pulling the trigger.
Chris Burke will get most of the plaudits for this performance – particularly as it looked for a while that he would be playing in Forest Red this month but I think Wade Elliott deserves a big mention. I’ve been critical of Wade in past weeks so it’s only fair I hand out the praise when it’s deserved – and it really was today. Elliott kept the midfield ticking, playing nice passes and keeping possession moving, giving Blues attacking impetus in the middle of the park. I did wonder about Wade starting in the middle and I’m glad that he proved Clark right and me wrong.
Look What You Could Have Won
Today the 2011-2 vintage Chris Burke was back in the building. Taking the man on, whipping in the crosses and showing the strikers how it’s done with an absolutely sublime finish just before half-time. It’s slightly disingenuous to say that Burke would definitely have gone to Forest had a bid been accepted – after all, it might be that he needs glasses too – but I am glad that we’ve held on to the Scot because on this form he will help push up the table, no question.
Redmond came on for the slightly ineffective Hall and showed today glimpses of his former self. Okay, he hit a shot wide on his wrong foot but he was taking on (and beating) the full back continuously, giving us an attacking outlet that meant Blues looked dangerous every single time on the counter. The second goal came about from some more trickery – and having learnt that his left foot isn’t that trusty Redmond instead took the ball to the byline and pulled the ball back beautifully for the onrushing Burke. This is the kind of play that made him a sensation last year and more of this will be most welcome.
I was curious as to how the whole move and loan back thing would affect Jack; would his mind be elsewhere or would he be on the ball. Well, today he was on the ball. Some great shot-stopping as normal but combined with a lot more confidence and command in the box – it’s just a shame that we gave away a pen and denied him a clean sheet he richly deserved. Whilst some might feel the deal to sell Jack was a bit low we’ll really need him for the next six months and that alone might make it worthwhile to us.
For the first time in a while, I feel enthused and forward-looking about Blues. The uncertainty of the transfer window over, some good play at home and back to back wins have pushed us up the table somewhat. Whilst the playoffs are probably out of reach more of this will at least bring some of the feelgood factor back and maybe make Blues a more attractive proposition to purchase.