DEFEAT snatched from the jaws of victory…. *sigh*
Somehow Boro contrived to a lose 3-2 at Birmingham after twice leading.
Three collosal cock-ups cost precious points after what had been as dominant a first half as you are likely to see this weekend. Bikey finally got caught out after riding his luck with high risk tackles week in, week out, Steeley developed Brad Jones aerial flappy wrist syndrome for the second in a rare lapse of concentration then Josh McEachran, good going forward but who struggled when under the cosh, played a sloppy stray sqyuare ball and got punished. By Marlon King, naturally.
Boro were in command op but failed to make it count, then lost their rhythm, lost their composure and finally lost any semblance of a grip on the game against a limited and demoralised side suddenly galvanised by the gifts.
I still can’t believe we came away empty handed. Neither can Lee Clark. He was gleeful in his post match comments knowing he had wriggled off the hook : in the first half with Boro a goal up and ripping his side open the fan unfurled a ‘Clark Out’ banner and it raised the first cheer of the night from the home fans.
Had Boro got a second then, or had they seen out half-time without conceding that penalty Birmingham would have been booed off and the atmosphere – already tense – would have weighed heavily on a team that looked as poor as we’ve seen this term. Instead they went in somehow alive and level after being taken apart.
After that the game slowly swung against Boro. They scored a second – the scrappiest goal so far this season that featured two flaps at a loose ball on the ground by the keeper plus an ankle high attempted header by defender Ibanez before Scott McDonald dug it out and stabbed it home – but then conceded the pivotal second very quickly.
Again, if they had held out then – hoofed it clear in the scramble at the edge of the box, closed down Elliott to prevent the lob, Steele got a decent fist on it – and tightened up for five or 10 minutes it would have been job done.
As it was that goal gave Birmingham a massive list, they piled forward and Boro wilted.
The result and the transformation in the respective shapes, attitudes and tempo by the end was almost unimaginable 44 minutes in. Boro were so much on top in a one sided match it was embarrassing. The localpress lads couldn’t believe how dominant Boro were (although they were keen to stress that City are routinely awful).
That’s the Championship for you. If you don’t score goals when you are on top (McDonald opted to try a fancy chip when through one-one-one when a low drilled effort on target would do and Jutkiewicz again squirted headers everywhere but the goal) then you run the risk of letting teams off the hook – and if you can’t defend when under pressure then you are going to get caught.
Stiil, its no disaster. Boro are well placed and have a trip to basement boys Peterborough up next. What could possibly go wrong?