Did The Boys In Black Hold The Blues Back?


“I don’t believe in luck but I’m convinced Clough had a rabbits foot down his trousers and spent the game rubbing his lucky penny. (Neither of those are euphemisms, get your minds out of the gutter!)”

I don’t want to be THAT guy. You know, the one that blames the referee for everything. Every offside is a travesty, and every foul on us is an assault but we can take chunks out of the opposition and they’re just being babies. You know the guy I’m talking about. The bloke with 20/20 vision that can call an infraction from 90 yards away and claps sarcastically whenever a decision goes our way for once.

That guy; I don’t want to sound like THAT guy. However, some of the officiating in our game against Burton was nothing short of horrendous! My mom could have done a better job and that linesman clearly needs glasses!! OK, maybe I am that guy…

I’m usually quite level headed when it comes to fouls and offsides etc. I appreciate that the job of the match officials is probably pretty tough and for all the unjust decisions that go against us, we usually have just as many go our way and in the end it all levels out. I also understand that having 22 players crowd you and shout in your face whilst at the same time rolling around on the floor like they’ve been shot is not only distracting but also misleading.

I have difficulty justifying some of Darren Bond, David Avent and Matt McGrath’s decisions today though. I’m not sure which one of the two linesmen was on my side of the pitch, but he was particularly atrocious. The officiating embarrassment of the disallowed goal aside, we were subjected to 90 minutes of questionable rulings that led to us seemingly playing against 14 men. This was a frustration that was visibly shared by those on the pitch and in Morrison’s case audibly too as he earned himself a cheer late in the second half by screaming “how did you not f’ing see that linesman?!”

Burton treated the huge capacity crowd to a masterful display of time-wasting which went completely unpunished by the boys in black. From delays whilst taking throw ins to intermissions whilst setting up of even the simplest of set pieces, the Albion ran through every trick in the book to drain the clock and the referee simply let it happen. The main person I feel sorry for is Burton’s kit man who now has the unenviable task of trying to remove stubborn grass stains from a group of “men” that spent more time on their backs than Jenna Jameson (DO NOT Google that one kids! Dads, go ahead)

Before anyone says it, I’m not trying to make excuses for us not closing out a game that we really should have won. We had 25 shots with 13 finding their target. We dominated possession and after regular Blues assassin Lloyd Dyer fired the visitors into the lead, Clough resorted to building a Brewery in front of their goal in an attempt to stop the onslaught.

The point against Burton was arguably the hardest one we’ve earned all season. I’ve written about how I don’t believe in luck on here before but I’m convinced Clough had a rabbits foot down his trousers and spent the game rubbing his lucky penny. (Neither of those are euphemisms, get your minds out of the gutter!) Fortune definitely favoured the Brewers throughout the 90 minutes and I think we need someone to take a tape measure to the goalposts as I’m not convinced they’re regulation size.

Blues were the dominant side and Monk’s men will probably feel that today was a case of 2 points lost rather than 1 gained. Though that may be true; going down 1 – 0 like that under Steve Cotterill would have been a death sentence and would have probably led to the loss of all 3 points, as well as my sanity.

Jota was superb yet again today, as was J Mags, Digga D, Harlee, Stocko and… well everyone. Every player turned up today and continued their great run of form. Although he didn’t have Che by his side, Juke was a constant threat and his ability to hold the ball up opened channels for Jezza to storm through. When N’Doye was brought on in the second half and Jota was moved to a central position, the final pieces of the puzzle clicked and Burton were overwhelmed once and for all as they suddenly had a Spanish maestro, a striker in peak form and a Senegalese man-mountain all running at them.

A special mention must go to Wes Harding whose career is shooting off like a thunderbolt. It blows my mind that the kid has only played 4 full league games as he looks like he’s been a first team regular right back for years. Remember when Stevie C said our youth team wasn’t very good? That was a lovely bit of banter wasn’t it…

Every point is vital at this stage and this one is particularly treasured as it shows how much the team’s attitude has changed in the last month. Heads are no longer dropping and the sheer determination to succeed is a constant presence. It would truly have been an injustice if we hadn’t taken anything away from today and the only real frustration lies with the match officials. Who knows what the score line could have been if the officiating trio had performed as well as the Blues did.

Alas, on to Bristol on Tuesday which could be a tough, tough game. We’ve got our bogey team out of the way now though and we’re seeing the lads play like the Birmingham City that Harry Redknapp believed we could be. Positivity is rife in the camp and today’s draw has not only lifted us one place higher in the table but it also takes us one step closer to safety.

By Mark Watson


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