The return of Gary Rowett and a sense that maybe Blues would be able to come up trumps in this matchup against the Rams from the East midlands.
Zola selected the same formation which has been for the last few games; 3-5-1-1. Derby knew the job on hand, it was a game they had to win to have any chance of reaching the playoffs and they started brightly. Link up play between Craig Bryson and Tom Ince bought a cross in which Jacob Butterfield sliced a shot straight onto the post and the ball then hit off the back of keeper Tomascz Kuszczak – that was declared as an own goal.
Derby began to control the game from there on in. Blues played well in fits & starts but there was nothing stepping stone for Blues to lay down a platform to score. David Davis was the glue holding the side together, creating chances here and there but still, Derby kept on crawling back taking advantage of our vulnerable defence.
Rowett didn’t get a reception in my opinion. The fans clapped when he came out the tunnel but not for long and it didn’t seem as if there was much applause for him, especially the fact not many fans are in favour if the Rams had drawn the game, they would have been on 60 points, the exact amount of points Blues finished on with him in charge for the two previous seasons.
Approaching half time and Derby still had us hanging by a thread. Small breaks from corners or goal kicks but as said, nothing really threatening towards the visitors.
Half time and it was 0-1 to Derby County. Not much for Blues to shout about but from the atmosphere in the crowd, I could imagine they thought there was still something still in it for Zola’s men. The referee hadn’t made the best of decisions and cost Blues because we could have had a couple more opportunities from free-kicks.
Frei came on to replace Robert Tesche to add that bit of spark and creativity. Che Adams was a shining light in the home team going forward and he got his reward in a breakaway goal which conceded a corner. Gardner whipped it in, Shotton headed it which was saved and then Adams couldn’t resist but slide it in and level 1-1.
The boys in royal blue grew heavily into the game from that point on and didn’t let Derby in. A point, either way, would have been a fair result, it was pretty much a game of two halves but the venerable, weak, wasted Blues back three let slip with a long goal kick took by Scott Carson received by winger Tom Ince who lobbed chasing keeper Kuszczak. That was that another loss for Gianfranco Zola and Birmingham City. 2 wins in 20… When is it going to turn around?
GK; Kuszczak (OG)
RCB; Bielik , CB; Shotton , LCB; Robinson
RWB; Nsue , RCM; Tesche , CM; Gardner , LCM; Davis , LWB; Grounds
CAM; Adams (G)
LB; Olsson , LCB; Pearce , RCB; Keogh , RB; Baird
LCM; Bryson , CM; Johnson , LCM; Butterfield
LW; Russell , ST; Nugent , RW; Ince (G)
Possession – Blues; 51 – Derby; 48
Shots – Blues; 22 – Derby; 12
Shots on target – Blues; 3 – Derby; 5
Corners – Blues; 10 – Derby; 3
Fouls – Blues; 9 – Derby; 14
Featured image – DavoBirmingham