Blues 1 – Wycombe 2
Wednesday, November 4th 2020
Blues got what they deserved, as did Wycombe, after a dreadful second half display from the home team at St Andrews.
All the momentum built up through wins, luckily against Huddersfield and more deserved against Preston, came to a juddering halt as the Chairboys turned the game on its its head in the second period.
And it was all going so nicely. A few scares from dead-balls and balls pumped up to the Beast aside, after a rocky start Blues took control and played some of the best stuff they’ve produced all season.
Everything seemed to be going through San Jose who oozed class and made you wonder what he was doing on a cold Wednesday night in Birmingham playing against Wycombe Wanderers. He could surely still hold his own in a higher division.
A corner won after more prompting by San Jose on 39 paid dividends. A quality ball into the box from the impressive Bela begged for a big centre half to muscle his way on to it and Roberts duly obliged.
No more that Blues deserved and as we went in at half time you felt if they could keep this up then it was a matter of how many.
They couldn’t keep this up.
Far from it. Much like the Huddersfield game last week, they allowed the opposition to gain control of the game straight from the second half kick off. And they never got that control back. Blues just stopped playing through midfield and their passing out of defence started to get sloppy. To be fair, part of the reason was the pressure that Wycombe bought to bear on Blues, but most of the wounds were self-inflicted.
Wycombe’s equaliser came as no surprise to seasoned Blues watchers. Wycombe’s substitutes had added to their momentum and one of them, Onyedinma, drove into the box, let fly and saw the shot deflect off Kashket into the net. As deflating as it was inevitble.
But it wasn’t over. Despite McGree adding a bit more pep to Blues’ lacklustre second half attacking showing, it always felt as if there was only one side who were going to win it.
And so it came to pass.
Amongst his excellent shot stopping, in the last few games Etheridge has shown an alarming tendency to flap at balls coming into the box. We were made to pay for it big time here as Wycombe hoisted one into the box in the first minute of added-on time, Etheridge chased and flapped, the defence got in a tiz, failed to clear, the ball came back in and Pedersen headed onto his own net. Comical, if I had a sense of humour about those kind of things – which I don’t.
So Blues proved tonight that they are far from the finished article, as that old acquaintance, the home defeat against the bottom club, reared its ugly head again.
Etheridge – 5
Can’t escape the fact that his mistake cost us the match. Proved to be a great shot-stopper since he joined us, but that mistake’s been brewing for a while. Work to with the new goalkeeping coach on when to come and when to stay at home.
Colin – 6
Good in the first half both defensively and offensively, but like his defensive colleagues went ragged after the break and his poor clearances contributed to Wycombe taking control in the second period.
Pedersen – 6
Still doesn’t get enough quality into the box for me when he goes forward.
Roberts – 7
Extra point for the goal, but his growing inability to deal with Akenfenwa was part of the problem after the break.
Dean – 7
Playing with great confidence at the moment as shown by his increasing ability to bring the ball out of defence and run with it, rather than just hoofing it
San Jose – 7
Absolute class in the first half, dictating the play in a way not seen since Barry Ferguson. Pretty anonymous after the break as Blues stopped doing one of the main things that bought them success in the first period – give him the ball.
Sunjic – 6
Typical battling performance, snapping around midfield along with the customary booking, this time for handball. Still think he could be a more progressive passer than he’s showing at the moment.
Gardner – 6
Don’t think the number 10 role suits his best qualities. Gary’s better went he’s coming from deeper, either running forward wit the ball or arriving late in the box to get on the end of a cross.
Sanchez – 5
Appears to have suddenly run out of steam. From being one of our best performers at the start of the seasons he’s now barely contributing. Need to keep rotating the wingers as Bela has the same problem with stamina.
Bela – 7
Much more lively after his recent rest. still tends to drift in and out of games, though and his best work was, like most of the team, in the first half.
Jukey – 6
It’s all about the service with Jukey. His prowess in the air is mainly in the box, rather than with his back to goal. He’s better holding it up on the floor, bringing others into the game or winning fouls. The big lump forward to Jutkiewicz is a sure sing things aren’t going well.
Blues 1 – Wycombe 2