Date:Monday March 9 2009
Back to back wins? You lie.
Back to back decent performances? Now that`s not even funny.
Whatever you may think, the fact of the matter is that Blues have won again and performed admirably in their quest to reach the Promised Land.
After the midweek win over Bristol City, it appeared that Mr Blue Sky was finally reappearing over St Andrews. The players had finally given a performance worthy of the name on Wednesday and the crowd had reacted. They were behind their team. There may have only been 16,700 fans at St Andrews but those who were there most definitely made themselves heard.
Both sides started the game full of confidence, and it was evident here as both sides created fantastic chances early on. Franck Queudrue sent across a scintillating ball but Southampton defender Saeijs just managed to get a boot on the ball, denying the waiting Cameron Jerome. The Saints immediately went down the other end and forced a corner which produced their best chance of the game. As Saints players surrounded Maik Taylor, Jason Euell headed the ball on and the ball looked destined for the back of the net before Stephen Carr saved the day with a clearance off the line.
After having close to 18 corners on Wednesday night, Blues have rediscovered their set piece mojo and this was clear for everyone to see as Franck Queudrue went close from a Larsson corner.
However, disaster struck, as Blues` injury curse returned to haunt them. Marcus Bent seemed to have pulled his hamstring after only 15 minutes and he was duly replaced by Carlos Costly (sigh). Costly was involved in the build up as Cameron Jerome muscled his way past the defender to find himself one-on-one with keeper Davis, but his shot was saved, and even though Lee Bowyer put the rebound away, the ref blew his whistle for a foul by Jerome.
Jerome was once again involved as the keeper raced out of his area to meet the striker but after having left the keeper in No Man`s Land, Jerome couldn`t capitalise on the mistake and the chance went begging. Moments later, a sumptuous cross from Sebastian Larsson was met with a bullet header courtesy of Keith Fahey which left Davis scrambling to his right to touch the ball around the post for yet another Blues corner.
Seb Larsson went close from a free kick (again), and Lee Carsley left the field for about 10 minutes to get himself stitched up after a collision with Jaidi, and all this happened before the clock had struck half three! With Carsley back on the field, Blues were more settled and Jerome went on a couple of fantastic runs, as he gave Chris Perry a day to forget. As the fourth official put up his board to inform the crowd of the 2 minutes to be added on, Cameron Jerome outpaced Perry and outmuscled left back Gillett before squaring the ball for Keith Fahey who calmly slotted the ball past Davis to put Blues 1-0 up.
The second half brought Blues numerous chances to extend their lead, but a combination of bad luck and poor decision making meant that the scoreline stayed the same. Jerome appeared to be pulled down by Chris Perry but referee Atkinson disagreed with 16,000 screaming Bluenoses.
Seb Larsson went close from a free kick (again!!!), and Costly went close before keeper Davis did well to deny Martin Taylor a chance to extend our advantage. Costly then went clear and had a perfect chance to shoot, but as the ball was on his right foot (and Costly does not have a right foot) he chose to square the ball to nobody and the chance went.
Scott Sinclair and Hameur Bouazza then came on for the goalscorer Fahey and the sensational Jerome. Sinclair then went on a fantastic run which resulted in a shot that was stopped only by the stanchion between the bar and post, but it did not matter as Blues ran out comfortable 1-0 victors.
It was another strong performance and a victory which was key given that Reading could only draw 2-2 away at Plymouth. Whilst Martin Taylor and Jaidi were outstanding at centre half, Lee Carsley was monumental in the middle of the park and Keith Fahey should his quality when in possession. However, the performances of Fantastic Franck, Super Seb, and C...Cameron were simply on another level. Franck Queudrue is quickly turning into a cult hero at the club and some of Seb Larsson`s distribution was brilliant.
However, for me, the pick of the three was Jerome. He carried on from where he left off on Wednesday with a scintillating performance as Perry and Gillett were never given a moments rest. Jerome outmuscled, outfought, and outpaced anyone who challenged him and news of his injury being nothing more but cramp was met with a huge sigh of relief from Blues fans everywhere who were no doubt despairing at the possibility of Carlos Costly being our only fit striker.
All in all, it was another strong performance and Blues look to be turning on the style at the perfect time. Blues have to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way, and this is a good start.
Date:Monday March 9 2009
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