It was another cold one with a dusting of snow overnight that was nevertheless thawing into a dank soft mush on the ground. It was the sort of morning my late Welsh Terrier, Dilys used to love and it still feels strange on a Saturday morning early doors that she’s not round my feet badgering me for an early stroll. It is early on a Saturday that I miss her most. The time seemed to fly by before it was time to set off for the station for my trip to Coventry via Reading. Will was intending to drive up for this game as he knows a couple of Canaries supporters who wanted to go but late in the week they pulled out and as Will then had a hen pecking at his head at home he cried off too! I think he managed to wring out the concession of the Fulham game and the evening match after that in exchange for child minding duty so I suppose it’s not all bad.
I arrived at Coventry at about 12.25 where Chris was there to pick me up. We went back to the pub for a quick pint before setting off for St Andrews with little Jack in tow. I have to confess that I was hoping rather than expecting us to get a positive result against Norwich and it was a pity that Michael Morrison had picked up such an unfortunate injury in the last game in midweek at Sheffield Wednesday and we can only hope that he will recover quickly and be back soon since he has been a rock in our defence since his arrival. The good news was the return of fit again Jonathan Spector who by all accounts played really well at Hillsborough having come on for the stricken centre-back. It remained to be seen how well the pairing of Spector and Robinson would cope with Cameron Jerome who whatever his detractors say is quick and strong and a real handful if on song. There was also the little matter of the returning Nathan Redmond whose pace could also pose problems.
When the line ups were announced Jerome wasn’t playing but was on the subs bench. There is little to say about this game of a positive slant. It reminded me of this fixture played one Tuesday night in 2006 when the Canaries won 1-0 in one of the most truly awful matches it has ever been my misfortune to witness. This game was nowhere near as dire as that one but it wasn’t great nevertheless. Neither team deserved anything other than nil out of this and they were lucky to achieve that. Norwich had by far the majority of the possession but did very little with it. Much has to be down to Blues’ organisation defensively but the same goes for the visitors when they lost it. Blues simply lacked the movement and guile to break down a densely packed defensive line and the result was a snore draw. I can only remember Randolph making one decent save in the first half from Nathan Redmond’s rasping 30 yards drive on 35 minutes. They had two other half chances, both speculative volleys which went high and handsome on both occasions. Blues two best chances were in the second half when Dyer following a mazy run was thwarted by a fine save by Ruddy only two minutes after the break and near the end, substitute Nikola Zigic headed down into the path of Shinnie who just couldn’t quite bring the ball under sufficient control to shoot for what would surely have been the winner with only two minutes left. Norwich for their part came close when Caddis was on hand to head off the line an attempt from a corner by Martin on 74 minutes but realistically there was little danger. That folks was all she wrote! On to the next one, another point on the board.
The Good: the company of Chris and little Jack and the beef casserole from The Cookhouse which on such a cold day was most welcome.
The Bad: The cold blustery conditions which did nothing to improve the spectacle. It was a very chilly one and that’s no lie. The game which wasn’t the best.
The Ugly: The journey home. I caught the 18.25 at Coventry having been dropped off by Chris and there had been a landslip between Leamington Spa and Banbury. This meant a bus from Leamington to Banbury, late train to Reading, missed connection there and very late home; over two hours of my life that I’m never getting back!
Birmingham City: Darren Randolph 7, Paul Caddis 7, Jonathan Spector 7, Paul Robinson 6, Jonathan Grounds 7, Stephen Gleeson 6, David Davies 6, Lloyd Dyer 7 (Andrew Shinnie 67, 6) Demarai Gray 6, David Cotterill 6 Clayton Donaldson 6 (Nikola Zigic 77, 6)
Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Callum Reilly, Wes Thomas, Mitch Hancox, Lee Novak.
Norwich City: John Ruddy 7, Steven Whittaker 6, Bradley Johnson 6, Sebastien Bassong 6, Russell Martin 7, Alexander Tettey 7, Nathan Redmond 6, Wes Hoolahan 7 (Gary Hooper 88, N/A) Elliott Bennett 6 (Josh Murphy 75, 6) Lewis Grabban 6, Martin Olsson 6.
Subs not used: Javier Garrido, Michael Turner, Declan Rudd, Kyle Lafferty.
Bookings: Redmond, Tettey.
Referee: Darren Handley 6: Non descript performance although that was hardly the man in the middle’s fault. He had little to make meaningful decisions on and his part was in keeping with the match.
Attendance: 17,835 (2,602 away fans)