Where’s Miss Marple? BBC Phil nails it as Birmingham City get away with murder.

27 Nov

Well, perhaps murder is a bit extreme. Although if not that, certainly a case of “Call the police, there’s been a robbery” as Birmingham City left a sunset drenched Griffin Park with all three points yesterday following a 2-1 win over Brentford. With Norwich City also losing, again, it makes next weekend’s road trip very interesting indeed.


Griffin Park looked glorious, even if the result wasn’t

But before we get too ahead of ourselves and think about Carrow Road , let’s look back at this one first. For me, it was a game which could be summed up at the highest level in three quotes:

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett :“We rode our luck and if luck was a horse I have won the Grand National today”.

Dean Smith: “If it was a boxing match it would have been stopped”

Phil Parry of BBC London : How is it still 1-0 to Brum??? How did Vibe not score?? Where’s Miss Marple?

First up, Mr Rowett. Honest of him to admit but, equally, teams ride their luck. Teams take their chances. Teams play worse and win. His Birmingham did that yesterday, ably helped by a couple of wonder saves from Tomasz Kuszczak in the second half.

As for the goals, both were presented to Birmingham on a plate. The first saw a penalty awarded for a foul on Clayton Donaldson as the former Bee ran onto a ball threaded straight through the midfield and our plethora of centre backs. Dan Bentley was adjudged to have brought him down and the spot kick duly despatched. Indeed, but for Andreas Bjelland running across, surely red would have been shown and, with it, a possible league debut for Jack Bonham.

The irony of Clayton even winning a penalty at Griffin Park was missed by nobody. I’ve lost count of the number of nailed on spot kicks denied in League One as he’d be kicked, tripped , manhandled or wrestled to the ground only to see his claims waived away. Maybe it was just a Brentford thing.

I’ve all the time in the world for the big man, even now. When his contract expired, Birmingham were there to offer him what he wanted and allow him to move closer to home. We couldn’t match that. And so some of the abuse he was coming in for yesterday seemed harsh – especially after the penalty. What’s he going to do – not score? I’m not going to openly cheer somebody who is now an opposition player but at the same time, have some class.


View from the terrace – Clayton fires home for 0-1

The second goal was an equally disappointing one to concede. Also, from a dead ball situation as a free kick was awarded in front of the away fans and out near the Braemar Road touchline . With all the time we needed to set ourselves up to defend, City were still able to float it over our plethora of centre backs to the far post where Ryan Shotton was able to stroll clear of his marker and tap home for 2-0.

As for Dean Smith, he can talk about it being a boxing match that should have been stopped but that’s not how football works. Nobody cares how much possession a team had, how many shots were rifled in or how unlucky you were. At the end of the day, Clive (and as we’ve said many times before) the only stat that counts is balls in the back of net.

“If we played them ten times again we would beat them nine times: It was that one sided” he also added – that one in the interview on ‘official’. He’s probably right but we got off to a very slow start in a system that took everybody some getting used to – three centre backs in the middle and a fourth playing out left, with Max Colin on the right. To be fair to Dean, I had wondered if this is how he would crowbar the glut of defensive talent together and so let’s not write this one off. Certainly, it allowed Barbet to get into some very advanced positions and I’ve a feeling we’ll see more of the same against Norwich next weekend.

Yet despite Brentford continuing to build the pressure, turn the screw and find ourselves in full ‘unlucky’ mode, it was the second half and Birmingham were 2 goals up. Then Scott Hogan happened. Again.

Getting onto the end of a ball floated into the box from Josh Clarke, he beat Kuzczak to dink his header past the otherwise excellent ‘keeper and into the back of the net to send the home fans delirious. It set up the proverbial grandstand finale in which if Dean Smith had a kitchen sink on the bench I’m sure he would have brought that on, such was the amount chucked at the Birmingham goal .

And then it happened. 2-2!! Andreas Bjelland with a header from a Ryan woods cross. Or was it Scott Hogan with the faintest of toe pokes from an Andreas Bjelland header? Either way, the one man goal machine was adjudged offside as a result. Standing behind the goal it looked like Bjelland’s effort all the way and a very harsh call from the referee and his his assistant. Brentford official were more diplomatic in their match repot saying, “It is possible that if Hogan had not touched it the goal may have stood but the movement of the Brentford man definitely affected Kuszczak and he would probably have saved it without the touch.

The third quote at the top end was from Phil Parry, on Twitter, mid-match as Lasse Vibe failed to put it in from yards out with the ‘keeper beaten and two defenders on the line.


Gut reaction at the time was, like Phil, just how did he miss that? How? Looking back at the video  – and you can see the highlights on Sky at present (until the BeesPlayer goes live at mid-day)  – perhaps at first the ball gets gets caught up in his legs a bit. Likewise, he maybe takes one turn too many that allows the defenders time to position themselves more. Either way, a chance that he’ll be bitterly disappointed not to have buried from that starting position.

It was always going to be tough game. To be honest, we created more decent chances than I expected us to . It’s just a huge shame that when it came to putting them away a combination of great ‘keeping and bad luck have conspired against us. Then again,  Birmingham City have delivered the quintessential lesson in taking the opportunity when it arises.

Dean Smith also noted at full time that,  “We have played two weekends, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City, and we should be sitting here really pleased with six points…However, we are here with zero and that is the Championship.

It is Dean, it is. But with only 1 win from the last 8 games, I’m very interested to see what you do next to try and increase those points from zero to three. Surely it can’t all be down to bad luck?

As for next weekend and Norwich City, well they lost again yesterday. That’s five defeats in a row for the once high flying Canaries. Are they the ones to help us return to wining ways…?

Nick Bruzon 


8 Responses to “Where’s Miss Marple? BBC Phil nails it as Birmingham City get away with murder.”

  1. Gordonbankole November 27, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    A few observations if I may:

    We are on a bad trot and need to turn things around quickly.

    Our opposition do not have to work too hard to score goals against us at the moment. Combine that with how many chances we need to score one and you can understand how we managed to lose a one-sided game like yesterday.

    Our midfield simply does not score enough goals. This is something which needs to be sorted out in January, otherwise we could be in trouble. Whether this involves getting Jota and/or Gogia back or signing someone else, we need to do something.

    Sorry to say, but Vibe’s performance yesterday was embarrassing. When he’s not scoring, I don’t really see what he brings to the party.

    Bentley needs to ditch that weird “volleyball punch” (from free-kick in the first half) from his repertoire – he did the same against Wigan. Not his greatest afternoon, though I acknowledge he has done well so far this season.

    MacEachran was excellent when he came on but his inconsistency is so frustrating.

    No doubt someone will say something along the lines of, “If we play like that every week, we’ll win more than we lose.” Sorry, but football does not work like that; you need to take advantage when you’re clearly superior like yesterday, There’s absolutely no guarantee that we’ll go out and produce the same level of performance next week.



  2. RebelBee November 27, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    I’m with GB all the way today, even after a dose of realism this morning that was a mess yesterday. The experimental line up didn’t work (again), why was Clarke benched and feeble Vibe still in the 11 after last week? Awful interplay between Woods and Yennaris to give up a soft penalty, then we’re chasing, Vibe flaps at an absolute sitter – criminal! Smith makes the 1st change in the 2nd half and we immediately concede a soft 2nd.

    So we’re conceding soft goals, weak across the midfield areas, and have one goal scorer. Plus a head coach who can’t find a settled team or produce the tactics to win or change games positively. Not great is is? Oh to have a couple of players with a bit about them, which they had in abundance.

    Brum weren’t great but had us where they wanted us all game. To go down the plucky Bees line is the definition of clutching at straws.

    Decent gate yesterday and most did their best – not good enough from DS and co i’m afraid, we’re struggling & the squad needs a lot of work in Jan imo.

  3. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Firstly, for me the change in formation should have come weeks ago. Trouble is a few players looked so used to our standard formation, that they seemed unsure of themselves with the new one, which you then have to question what goes on in training.

    Questionable selections though. Thought Romaine was a wrong choice. With more support around him could have been perfect for McEachran. Kaikai first sub. Although he hit the bar, he generally seemed completely lost. It wasnt until the two Josh’s came on that things went up a gear. Oh and why is it we only seem to play in top gear in the last 15 mins when chasing the game?

    Nick, completely agree with you on Clayton. Blatant trip for the penalty. Really dont know why he was getting dog abuse. If anything Clayton was the difference between the two sides. Set up both goals, and was a general nuisance all game. Professional throughout.

    As for Smith, he just doesnt seem to fill you with confidence. He’s capable but not outstanding. In fact I remember far more singing of ‘Marinus’ during his short spell then ‘Dean Smith’s Red & White Army’ in the past year. I dont think the faithful have ever fully warmed to him

  4. nicko November 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    as a Birmingham fan agree about Donaldson every week he is man handled and the ref turns a blind eye anyway good luck for the season

  5. Gordonbankole November 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    I felt Donaldson was on his way down before Bentley clipped him, but clip him he did and it’s the kind of thing refs will give all day long.

    The fact that the ball was going away from goal and probably out of play was surely the reason that Bentley was not given a red, which would have been incredibly harsh.

    Kaikai was a player we really wanted but he needs to show much more.

    I don’t think I can recall such coldness towards a manager from a Brentford crowd – is it something to do with that terrible run last spring??



    • Tim November 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

      Point of order, as a former national league Volleyball referee, that punch would be illegal. 😛

      It is a silly thing for a keeper to do though.

  6. Red Rose Bee November 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    The problem is very simple…every team in the Championship knows how Brentford play and how to counteract it.With a very lightweight midfield and a habit of conceding soft goals at regular intervals,at the moment we are struggling.The bench does not offer many options,However we have had bad runs before in this league and doubtless the issues are being addressed,Just hope we can keep Hogan.If he goes I will start to worry.

  7. Rob November 28, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    I’ll chip in with a few observations too. CD and the penalty, definite, though from the other end of the pitch i thought he had dived. Bentley made the decision for him. That was his worse performance to date. Every kick and clearance seemed to go to the opposition.
    Donaldson holding his knee, then his ankle at the end of the game though, that was bad form, particularly as when he eventually did get up cos the referee was having none of it, he accelerated very well for a ball over the top.
    Midfield was / is weak.. Barbet out on the left flank of the 5 man defence looked lost. The Birmingham defence knew he didn’t fancy taking them on so he passed or crossed. Some decent crosses in there but not enough. If you play 5 at the back you need a Bidwell/ Henry to do it. Woods gave away too many soft passes, Yennaris industrious but not creative, Sawyers still not up to speed for me, though should not have been the first player subbed on Sat. Vibe, we say about the B squad players that they aren’t up to the physicality of the Championship, yet here is a lad who looks little more than a 14 y.o. He needs to find his mojo quick!. Then theres the players who don’t play. KK finished last season off showing a real raport with Hogan and yet he’s barely had a sniff! I was a big critic of his when he first joined but he improved. Then the Hoff. He hasn’t been great either but on Vibes current form surely he deserves time off the bench??

    Still, after all that, Brum still didn’t deserve 3 points from that match. We just presented it to them softly.

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