Nothing less than three points for Blues was the message going into the game at Oakwell against Barnsley, who aren’t exactly playing well themselves.
A few surprising changes to the Birmingham team made by Steve Cotterill which saw David Cotterill starting and Sam Gallagher getting a place in the starting lineup and David Davis been given the armband as Michael Morrison was out.
It was an early start for the home side who added to Blues’ woes because in the first few minutes Leicester loanee Harvey Barnes opened up his body to thread it through to Tom Bradshaw who tapped in from less than 4 yards to give Paul Heckingbottom’s team the lead very early on, which looked to have damaged the Blues players; I mean they don’t have much confidence as it is, bad enough going 1-0 behind within five minutes against Barnsley where a point should have at least been nailed on.
With Isaac Vassell out injured for most of the season, Blues started without Che Adams and played a two up front formation with Gallagher partnering Luke’s Jutkiewicz, and the height of those two forwards was to hopefully, from a Birmingham perspective, going to try and damage the home team, but from start to finish that failed. The two Barnsley players I mentioned earlier in the goal, well they were the main threats to the blues defence – Barnes & Bradshaw.
Cotterill seemed to be the only threatening player in the visiting side, if there was one. Marc Roberts returned to play against his former employers and it didn’t go according to plan as he and Harlee Dean seemed to be getting frustrated by every second ball they were winning; which was what happened against Millwall back a couple of weeks ago. The first half ended with the home side in the driving seat but it wasn’t what Blues wanted and it’s something Birmingham are getting used to now, losing games and the poor form looked set to continue as the sides went into the second period of play.
A couple of Blues chances did shed a slight bit of light, with attempts by Jutkiewitz and Jota making their way through, but the short period of Birmingham pressure lasted a short while because when Crystal Palace loanee Ezekiel Fryers and his Barnsley teammates were awarded a free kick near the start of the second half, Fryers made the most of it by putting it in the back of the net direct from the kick into the bottom left corner, which put the final nail in Blues’s coffin. From then on in, Blues had fewer chances and the game had already been called a Barnsley win. Nothing else was that fascinating to write about after the second Barnsley goal, but what I could tell you is Jermaine Boga did come on to replace Jutkiewicz to try and add a bit of a spark which hadn’t been there all game, but he didn’t even touch the ball more than 5 times which summed up the game for blues and the season so far.
There is definitely something up in the dressing room, doesn’t matter in my opinion whether the Pep Guardiola was the manager, or as it were Steve Cotterill, there is clearly something wrong and it’s been wrong ever since Gary Rowett was shown the door. There is no point sugar coating it and saying “oh well next game Blues might be able to get something” because it’s the same week after week at the moment and it does not seem to be settling and not even getting any better. I wouldn’t personally be surprised if Cotterill either walks or gets sacked because at this moment in time, the team is in a hole that they cannot get out of.
RB Yiadom , CB MacDonald , CB Lindsay , LB Fryers
RM Isgrove , CM Moncur , CM Potts , LM Barnes
RB Nsue , CB Roberts , CB Dean , LB Grounds
CDM Davis , CDM Kieftenbeld
RW Cotterill , CAM Jota , LW Gallagher
Possession – Barnsley; 51% , Blues; 49
Shots – Barnsley; 17 , Blues; 10
Shots on target – Barnsley; 6 , Blues; 3
Corners – Barnsley; 8 , Blues; 2
Fouls – Barnsley; 7 , Blues; 13
Yellow cards – Barnsley; 0 , Blues; 2