Birmingham came to the Bournville pitches on another cold, wet October evening hoping to continue their winning streak against Sheffield Hallam. They came onto the pitch in their resplendent white kit brimming full of confidence and full of adrenaline shown through the cries of encouragement drowning out the Sheffield players.
The opening half whilst full of goals two for Birmingham came from two short corners , one going directly into the net and another being bundled in after great opportunism. These two goals sandwiched Sheffield’s first reply which was a well worked move from deep which scythed through Birmingham’s defence.
Birmingham then exerted their dominance on the game with another well worked short corner. This short corner team proving very effective this season. Sheffield tried to claw their way back into the game with a move right from the training ground on a short corner. The move was moved one way and then the other and slotted in with great panache.
In the latter stages Birmingham appeared the better drilled side and the fitter team which is a testament to the new coaching staff of this year. This is shown most clearly through Birmingham using a man-marking defensive system throughout this match. This effectively strangled Sheffield’s midfield forcing them either to play long balls from the back or simply strike on the counter attack. Sheffield Hallam’s passing was sloppy and on numerous occasions the ball flew past its intended target giving Birmingham both great field position and some great opportunities to put pressure on Sheffield. This worked decisively in Birmingham’s favour and led ably by the Captain Jack Clee they were able to capitalise . On the other hand it appeared that Sheffield Hallam were tiring at the exact moment when they needed to find an extra gear to win back the equaliser. After a tense few last minutes the win was secured much to elation of the players, thoroughly deserved.
The moments from this fixture that stick in the mind were when Furlong made an astounding break up the right hand side of the pitch the full way leaving the defender in his wake however just missed the shot which went agonisingly close to the cross bar and when Morgan slotted the ball through the keepers legs after a wonderful bit of trickery only to find out later that it had been disallowed
The only critiques of this team come in regards to the final product. There are long periods in the first two games of the season where Birmingham have looked the dominant fore but just haven’t managed to secure the final product of goals. Undoubtedly there have been some good saves from opposition goalkeepers but this game against Sheffield could have been won without a nervy last ten minutes. In the warm ups crowds can see the players have the undeniable ability to score goals with some absolute firecrackers it just doesn’t appear to be happening in the games. Yet this is a minor criticism because quite simply a win is a win. I’m sure Birmingham would happily win 1-0 all season On to next week with this team still unbeaten.