Andy Munro witnesses a Blues win at St Andrews.
It had to happen one day and thankfully the Championship home hoodoo was laid to rest at the earliest possible moment. Its importance had naturally been played down but the prospect of three early points,an early middle table position, a confidence boosting win and the monkey off our back was an enticing package to savour.
As promised, Lee Clark went for a ‘bold’ 4-4-2 and perhaps the only disappointing aspect was not opting for two natural wingers in Cotterill and Duffy, with Novak being preferred to the latter. Still it was undeniably an attacking line up and early on, Blues played some neat football, looking fairly solid both at the back and in midfield. The pairing of Davis and Caddis seems to be working well although there is perhaps a question mark over their heading prowess given the amount of times the ball is in the air in Championship football.
It was also good to see Donaldson and Wes Thomas using their pace to quickly close down a Brighton defence who were never allowed to settle and build from the back. Chances, however, were few and far between with Blues shots generally straight at the keeper but, at the same time, Brighton only threatened on one occasion.
After a goalless first half it was important that Blues set out their stall early but instead it could have started disastrously when we could have easily conceded a penalty when Mackell-Smith was scythed down clumsily. For once, Lady Luck shone on the Blues and the ref waved away Brighton appeals as the ever impressive Cotterill burst down the wing. As he reached the byline, he sent over a pinpoint centre which Wes Thomas(who generally had a quiet game) despatched home with the sort of firm and accurate header that Ziggy could have only dreamed about.
In fact, we could have extended our lead but, in true Blues’ fashion, we were subjected to a dose of the nervous nineties. Still it was nice to have that feeling instead of being two or three nil down without a prayer.
Overall, it was a decent performance with the star man Cotterill undoubtedly a Chris Burke-type of player but with more cojones. However, it’s early days as Mad Mick lies in wait with his Tractor boys.