For once the day broke to glorious sunshine. The year appeared to be getting off to a bright start and it was only to be hoped that the same would apply to Birmingham City FC although I wasn’t holding my breath! Nevertheless, intrepid soul that I am I boarded the train at Blackwater for my initial journey to Reading before changing for the onward leg to Coventry where Chris was waiting to pick me up. Languishing as we are near the bottom of the league, it was difficult to be optimistic against the newly named Red Devils riding high at the top. I’m afraid that they will always be the Bluebirds to me regardless of whether they deck themselves out in Santa Claus sportswear or not. I’m a great believer in tradition and hate to see it disposed of summarily but some feel it is progress and nothing the fans of Cardiff City or any other persuasion say or do is likely to make any difference. The only thing we could do to change things is not go but hell will freeze over before that happens; you only have to look at the ticket prices especially in the top flight but Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, White Hart Lane, the Etihad and the Emirates are packed out every week so I guess it is as my brother Trev says that we the fans are part of the problem.
The traffic was less than usual which meant we made good time and had time for a couple of pints in the Royal George before the game. We took in the end of the Baggies game against Fulham which they lost 1-2 but overall they’ve had a good season. We departed for our seats and the first thing I will say is Blues played pretty well considering we were reliant on teenagers for the most part again. Hayden Mullins strained a calf in the warm up so Callum Reilly had to come in for him to add to the fact that we started with Nathan Redmond and Ravel Morrison up front. Hall, Spector, Elliott played in midfield with Packwood, Caldwell, Davies and Robinson at the back.
Blues’ patched up team without a recognised striker on the pitch gave an excellent account of themselves especially in the first half when they proved to be the best team on show. Sadly as so often happens the better team doesn’t necessarily win the game and that proved to be the case here. Cardiff are an attritional side with no frills. There have been far better footballing teams at St Andrews this season but few that have numbed the spirits so much. They are undoubtedly well organised and defend well with all eleven men In front of the ball when they don’t have it and this resulted in the fact that they produced one single scoring opportunity which they took in the 41st minute when following a speculative shot from Craig Conway a fortuitous rebound off Jack Butland was gleefully tapped into the net by Joe Mason. This was scant justice for a spirited Birmingham side that deserved better. Cardiff had one or two opportunities in the second half as Blues chased the game but for a team with pretensions of winning the Championship this season, they are functional at best and a lot of strengthening will be required if as I believe they achieve promotion in May.
At the start of the second half Cardiff did have a goal bound effort from Conway cleared off the line by Davies and Bellamy almost secured the rebound as Blues hesitated but apart from that the Welsh club offered nothing despite their lofty position. I suspect a number of clubs will suffer a similar fate to luckless Blues this season and I am sure that Cardiff will carry on grinding out this kind of result as they are solid defensively, miserly when it comes to conceding goals and have enough to smash and grab as they did today; it does not make them a great side however and I cannot see them causing teams like Wigan, Fulham, Norwich and Sunderland sleepless nights. The better football came from Birmingham without a doubt but without a proper striker on the pitch it was always going to be a big ask of this very young and inexperienced team of mostly kids to overcome the league leaders. We failed to trouble Marshall in the Cardiff goal all afternoon and a shot rather than a pass or extra touch would not have gone amiss rather than trying to score the perfect goal.
The Good: the performance from the youngsters today. Sadly Blues need points though.
The Bad: The result. Blues didn’t deserve to lose this one.
The Ugly: our prospects now that January is here 🙁
Birmingham City: Jack Butland 6 Will Packwood 7 (Mitch Hancox 77, 6) Steven Cauldwell 6 Curtis Davies 6 Paul Robinson 7 Nathan Redmond 7 Ravel Morrison 7 Callum Reilly 6 (Morgaro Gomis 33, 7) Wade Elliott 7 (Jake Jervis 70, 6) Jonathan Spector 7 Rob Hall 7
Cardiff City: David Marshall 6 Matthew Connolly 7 Mark Hudson 7 Ben Turner 7 Simon Lappin 6 Craig Conway 7 Aron Gunnarsson 6 Craig Bellamy 6 Jordan Mutch (Don Cowie 55, 6) 6 Kim Bo Kyung 6 (Craig Noone 67, 6) Joe Mason 7 (Rudy Gestede 6)
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire) 7: The officials had a solid enough game. No real contentious issues.