Birmingham City 1 – Nottingham Forest 1
Wednesday, April 21 2021
Won’t detain you long with a instantly forgettable game where Blues had two points snatched away from them by a dubious penalty decision by a ref who made up seven minutes of injury time in a second half of very few stoppages.
Change of shape and personnel as Bowyer chose to try and take the game to Forest with a 4-4-2. Wide men Bela and Sanchez came in for wing back Seddon and No 10 McGree, with Hogan also returning up top in place Leko.
The idea might have been to take the game to Forest but the reality was different as both teams were becalmed in a bout of aimless running around for the majority of the first half. Blues forwards were conspicuous by their absence, all five of them as Leko came on midway through the half to replace Hogan who was troubled by his back again.
A couple of incidents just before the break saved this from being the worst half of football witnessed at St Andrews this season, and there have been a few contenders for that title. Within a minute Jukey headed straight at Samba from a Sanchez corner and Yeates crashed one against Etheridge’s crossbar after good work from Taylor. And that was it for the half from hell.
Blues came out of blocks with much more purpose after the break with Sanchez’s shot well saved by Samba.
Blues kept the pressure up and a minute later took took the lead. A Gardner shot took a deflection for a corner. From the kick Sanchez landed one on Roberts’s head and the big centre half firmly planted the ball in the back of the net.
The rest of the half belonged to Blues against a pretty poor Forest side, particularly going forward where they created nothing of their own. Their big chance was handed to them on a plate with Roberts’s mistimed back header falling well short of Etheridge. Luckily for Blues, Taylor made a complete hash of it and, to rub salt into the wounds, got himself injured and substituted in the process.
Blues had a number of opportunities to put the game to bed but seemed intent on shooting and heading straight at Samba where it often seemed easier to score.
Nevertheless, Blues were still looking comfortable and good value for the win when Mr Simpson found seven minutes of injury time from somewhere.
As time ticked on Forest forced a corner, which Cafu, no not that one, swung in alarmingly to the near post to be cleared by Blues for another corner. The ball eventually came back into the box and after Etheridge had got hold of the ball, Jukey was alleged to have come in late on McKenna – didn’t see it myself.
Despite Etheridge’s valiant attempt, Grabban slotted away the resulting spot kick and Blues were denied at the last.
No biggie as Blues find themselves a reasonably comfortable 10 points clear of the drop zone, but mildly irritating to have to give up our clean sheet and winning home run in such a manner.
Despite a much better second half performance which merited the win, this was not a great Blues performance against a lacklustre Forest side. Bela and Sanchez disappointed on their return to the team and many of the other players were anonymous. And while I’m a man of infinite patience Leko, at the moment, is trying it to its limit.
MoM – Marc Roberts – goalscoring centre backs are us. Good solid display, apart form the one slip, on top of his goal.