As We Journey On #4: Sinking Sheffield, The Dream Is Over and Derby Day

In this week’s blog, I am going to introduce a new segment in the piece as the transfer window has now closed and there won’t be any rumours for some time. Instead of me reporting on the transfer news I will be giving a brief report each week on the player we currently have out on loan. I will still carry on with the match reports and previews as well as any news coming from the boardrooms or just generally around the club. Right, enough of the boring introduction, let’s get straight into the action.   

Sinking Sheffield…   

Saturday brought another away day for us bluenoses as we traveled a fairly short distance to Sheffield where we played Sheffield Wednesday. Blues were coming into the game on the back of a fantastic 3-1 win over relegation rivals Sunderland, so we had high hopes for another good performance from the lads.    

Going into the game, Wednesday were in terrible form, not winning in the league since the new year. Blues had only lost once since the new year and were looking like the team they should be. Bluenoses had really high hopes for the game and were almost expecting another win. The only thing playing on the fans minds was the fact we never normally win at Hillsborough, but this didn’t play on the players’ minds.    

The game started and Blues were as ruthless as ever, Sheffield Wednesday didn’t know what to do. Their defence was genuinely all over the place and the first goal came for Blues on eight minutes, when an intended chest pass from a defender to the Wednesday keeper didn’t reach the target, David Davis ran onto the loose ball and poked it home, putting Blues up 1-0. Wednesday’s defence was in disbelief and their heads went down instantly.   

Blues dominated the first fifteen minutes and we were awarded another opportunity when Wednesday’s keeper rolled the ball onto his own players’ heels, it bounced to Jota, who, unfortunately, had his shot blocked. Disaster averted for Wednesday or though they thought.   

Blues were awarded, and I mean that with all its meaning, a second goal on twenty-one minutes. Jota received the ball on the halfway line, rushed forward at the shaky defence, hit a shot from twenty-five yards. It was going straight into the keeper’s hands when it flew through them and rolled into the bottom corner. 2-0, two defensive errors and an absolute howler from the keeper. Blues fans were loving it, and so was Jota who had just scored his first goal for the club. Imagine Rob Green’s howler for England against USA in the 2010 World Cup, apart from the game having less importance to a whole country and the standard of keeping should be better, I’ll never forgive you for that Rob, NEVER!   

Anyway, Sheffield Wednesday were all over the place and were probably the worst defence we had come up against this season. However, disaster hit for Blues when Johnny Grounds went down after a heavy 50/50 challenge and was then stretchered off, there is no time period for how long he will be out but it doesn’t sound good.    

Then another disaster for Sheffield, Bramall and their defender Matias had a bit of a tussle on the byline, no one in the ground really knew what happened and we just see red. The ref had sent Matias off and not even booked Bramall. Sheffield was down to 10 men. I do believe this red card has been overturned since so it must have been the wrong decision, but no one knew at the time.   

Then, Blues scored their third, and it was from the Spanish maestro, Jota, who was just unreal in this game. Some lovely route one football from Blues left Davis with the ball in the box, his hard, low shot was parried into the path of Jota who smashed it home into an open goal! 3-0 and this could be ending in a cricket score for Blues.    

That was the first half over and no one could believe what had happened in the eventful forty-five minutes.    

The second half started and Blues weren’t the same team. Sheffield came out with some fight left in them. This resulted in them scoring on fifty-four minutes after Lucas Joao stole the ball and had a quick shot that just beat Stockdale.    

Blues nearly scored a fourth goal when Boga sent two defenders for hotdogs and crossed to Davis, Davis thumped his first-time shot but it was kept out by a cracking reflex save.    

Sheffield were then reduced to nine men on sixty-eight minutes when Pudil received his second yellow card and his marching orders. This was the chance Blues needed to improve their goal difference and finally smash a team.   

However, that didn’t happen and the game ended 3-1, great performance, probably should have scored more and should have played better in the second half. Onto the Huddersfield game.    

Woken Up…   

Tuesday night had the magic of the FA Cup come to St. Andrews where we were playing Huddersfield Town in a 3rd round replay. The last game ended 1-1 and Blues should have gone through but the linesman was blind and robbed us of a win.   

Blues were going into the game on the back of that 3-1 win at Sheffield, we expected changes to the team as we have the biggest game of the season on Sunday, I’ll get onto that later. The side was changed and it was mostly our 2nd string. Huddersfield put out their strongest team, obviously wanting to play Manchester United.    

I’m pretty much going to skip the first half as there were no real chances and both teams weren’t pushing. It was a pretty abysmal first half from both sides and we were hoping the second half was better.    

The second half started and the pace of the game changed thanks to both managers making changes. Blues fans were in dreamland when we took the lead on fifty-two minutes. Jukey nodded the ball down to Che Adams who swiveled and smashed a half-volley into the bottom corner. What a goal and we were leading 1-0.    

However, the lead didn’t last long when Huddersfield equalised through a Roberts own goal on sixty-one minutes. Stockdale had made a fantastic save initially but the ball looped and rolled into the back of the net, taking a touch off Roberts who was trying to clear it.    

Huddersfield were inspired and they dominated the rest of the half, having a few good chances to kill the game off. However, the brick wall, David Stockdale, England’s greatest keeper, made some fantastic saves, including one of the best double saves I have ever seen.  

The tie went to extra time and this is where the battling Blues side crumbled. Goals from Steve Mounie, Rajiv Van La Parra, and Tom Ince, saw Huddersfield go through to the last sixteen and the game finished 4-1. This was harsh on Blues but I wasn’t too annoyed about going out the cup. It was the fact we finally got a good cup draw and we fail to get through, I also fancied our chances against United, as let’s be honest, they aren’t the greatest team out of that top six in the Premier League.   

Loan Watch…   

Blues have got a number of players currently on loan, and to save you the time of searching each one each week, I’ll have a little description of where they are at, how they played over the weekend and how their team is doing.    

Diego Fabbrini  

Fabbrini is currently on loan to Spanish side Real Oviedo. After spending the first half of his loan injured, he returned last Sunday as a late substitute in their 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon.    

Cheick Keita:   

Keita was a player I wanted to stay at Blues this season as he had shown his potential in his first half-season with the club. However, Harry Redknapp felt a loan move was better for him and he went to Bologna on loan.    

He was injured for the first three months of his loan move and has since failed to make a single appearance for the club, only making the bench a handful of times. Unfortunately, his loan deal doesn’t include a recall option so he is stuck out in Italy, not getting any game time.    

Robert Tesche  

The German midfielder was sent to 2nd division German side Bochum and has failed to make an impression, only managing six appearances, three of which have been off the bench. Another player who seems to be wasting his loan move.   

Greg Stewart:   

Stewart went back to Scotland in the summer, earning a move to Aberdeen. He has done better than some of his teammates after making twelve league starts and nine substitute appearances. He has scored one goal this season but Aberdeen fans seem to like him.    

Andrew Shinnie  

Or as I like to call him Andrew Shinniesta. Shinnie earned a loan move to League Two leaders Luton Town, a club I hold close to my heart so I was happy when Shinnie joined them. Shinnie has become a good addition to the Luton squad, making nineteen appearances and scoring three times. If Luton win the title this year, and I can’t see them failing to, I can see them making Shinnie’s stay permanent in the summer.    

Nicolai Brock Madsen:   

Yes, that donkey. The striker joined Polish side Cracovia, whose season starts this weekend, so Nicolai has been appearing in their last two friendlies. He scored on one of these and the fans are looking forward to seeing him across the season. Good luck to him, as even though I just called him a donkey, he never got the real chance our other strikers got.    

Ronan Hale:   

Last but not least we have Ronan Hale, someone I thought deserved a chance in the first team. Hale went back to Ireland, to play for Derry City, where his brother also plays. He bagged a brace when he played against a Northern Ireland junior side and he followed that up with Derry’s only goal in a 4-1 loss to Drogheda.    

Derby Day:   

The time has arrived, we play Aston Villa on Sunday at Villa Park, a game that fans from both sides look out for when the fixtures are announced each season. This game has an effect on the whole of Birmingham, there’s a feeling in the air when Derby Day is approaching. Let’s be honest for a second, the Second City Derby is the biggest in the country, it has proper football fans, who genuinely hate each other. None of these tourist supporters attending the game, just pure football fans.   

Villa go into the game in fantastic form winning seven on the trot and only conceding three goals. Steve Bruce has really got the side firing, and I can’t believe a few weeks ago Villa fans wanted him out of the club.    

On a side note and rivalries aside, Steve Bruce is going through a very tough time at the minute. His mom is in hospital and very ill and the news broke that his dad had died on Wednesday. My condolences to Bruce and his family and I hope his mom can pull through. Also, I hope Blues fans don’t ruin Sunday with a sick chant about his dad, I highly doubt anyone would but you never know when everyone is so hyped about the game.     

Blues go into the game also in fantastic form, only losing once, in the league this year. We are coming off the back of two 3-1 wins and are looking very good. It should be interesting to see what happens in the game, as usually the games are very closely fought and I can’t remember the last time, both teams went into the game in great form.  

I’m hoping we win but I can never predict these games. I think it’ll either be a one-goal margin win or a draw but I could be wrong. Hopefully, Ndoye smashes in a ninetieth-minute winner in front of the Holte End. You know what, the odds on him scoring anytime is 6/1 and him scoring 1st and Blues win 2-1 is 190/1 so get those houses of yours on them and you’ll be thanking me for the millions.   

That’s where I am ending it today and I am hoping we win on Sunday, if not I want to at least say we fought well and just missed out but hopefully, it won’t come to that and I am talking about my boy Ndoye’s thirty-yard screamer in the ninetieth minute.    

About the Author

Stephen Beavon
Just a young football fan who likes to get his opinion across to others. Love Birmingham City, although it is difficult at times.