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Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Saturday 25th November.

Here I am again on the sun drenched shores of the Eastern Mediterranean missing the rain like a hole in the head, but once again prepared to sit on a chilly balcony to monitor Town’s progress. What a fool! I was so cold last week after the QPR match (it made me feel as though I was really there!) that this week I will wear my jeans and a jacket instead of shorts and T-shirt. I must look a bit of a pillock, but these things just have to be done.

This week I had to sit though a full match commentary of Everton v Chelsea, which was exciting (not), and the 2 first half updates did not bring very good news with Birmingham taking a 2-goal lead. This was disappointing although not particularly unexpected, but what was unexpected was Town pulling a goal back in the early part of the second half. I strained my ears due to the poor reception conditions hoping for news of a second but it was not to be. Last weeks performance must have been a flash in the pan and I would need a couple of pints of Keo to numb the pain. As with last week’s game, the report below was written posthumously.

The side was very much as the one which performed so well against QPR last week, with the exception of the returning Chris Lucketti displacing Kevin Gray who was named as one of the substitutes alongside Kenny Irons back from illness (again?). Craig Armstrong continued his midfield role to try to give Town some more bite, and Lou Macari seems to think that this is his best position.

Continuing where they left of in West London last week Town began very brightly, showing plenty of industry and Martin Smith hit the post in the 4th minute as they caught Birmingham flat footed. Birmingham’s impressive home record was tested on a number of occasions in the opening period as the front line of Baldry, Smith and Gallen all went close. Many of our woes this season have stemmed from our inability to actually convert the chances we are creating and once again it was our failing. Nico Vaesen wasn’t entirely a spectator, but when Birmingham scored the opener it was against the run of play.

Having dealt with earlier efforts from Johnson and Grainger, Vaesen was finally beaten by Australian Stan Lazaridis in the 25th minute. A through ball from former Town target (?) Nicky Eaden caused hesitation in the defence, and Nico seemed to be caught out as the ball slowed up on the drenched playing surface and Lazaridis slotted the ball home. A couple of weeks ago Town would have fallen like a pack of cards, but Macari and Jordan see to have instilled a sense of self belief and they immediately went in search of an equaliser.

Martin Smith had a header saved by keeper Bennett almost straight from the restart, and they continued to press as further chances were created for both Smith and Gallen, but once again the imminent half time whistle proved to be their downfall. So many times this season Town have conceded around the half time interval, and perhaps they should take up one of the Rugby codes and take their half-time cuppa 5 minutes earlier. Former Halifax and Fulham striker Geoff Horsfield managed to escape the attentions of Jon Dyson long enough to make room to shoot for goal as Chris Lucketti and Nico Vaesen slid in to dispossess him.

To their credit they returned to the field in positive mood for the second half and could have halved the deficit in the first few minutes. Fast improving Simon Baldry blazed over from just 6 yards from a Kevin Gallen pass, when it seemed easier to score. Town continued to boss the second half and received some reward from an unlikely source on the hour mark.

Kevin Gallen played a sweet ball through to the overlapping Simon Baldry whose low cross was met by team captain Craig Armstrong. Town’s newly converted midfield had raced 40 yards to convert his effort, and is hardly noted for his goal scoring prowess, his only other goal coming a couple of years ago soon after arriving at the McAlpine (I think). With busy Town outworking the home side at least a point looked possible as Birmingham failed to produce a single on target effort in the second half.

Baldry, Gorré and Irons all had late efforts which came to nothing, and more or less at the death Martin Smith could have secured a draw when he was one on one with keeper Ian Bennett but lost control of the ball and the chance evaporated.

It seems to have been another performance full of promise, yet once again (I always seem to say this) yielding nothing tangible on the points front. The new management do seem to have upped the workrate that is so vital if we want to start winning again, and the last two performances seem to have had all of the right ingredients apart from the vital win. One or two weaker links seem to have been weeded out, and despite the fact that we continue to lose ground on the teams above us I feel strangely positive – although a sum total of 8 points probably still leaves us too much to do to escape the drop. We have a busy December with 2 home games next followed by 3 away and then 2 more home fixtures. If we are still in the same position in the league at the turn of the year we really are up the creek without a paddle!

Birmingham City 2 (Lazaridis 25, Horsfield 44)

TOWN 1 (Armstrong 60)

Position in table – 24th

Town – Vaesen; Jenkins; Kozluk (Irons 87); Armstrong; Dyson; Lucketti; Baldry; Holland (Gorré 84); Gallen; Smith; Thornley (Facey 79). Subs not used – Margetson; Gray.

Birmingham City – Bennett; Edghill (Burchill 52); Purse; M Johnson; Grainger; Eaden; O’Connor; Hughes; Adebola (Sonner 52); Horsfield; Lazaridis (Burrows 86). Subs not used – Poole; A Johnson.

Referee – Scott Mathieson (Stockport). Attendance 22,120



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

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