The Lions bounced back from defeat at Northampton last weekend to comfortably achieve their first victory of the season against Loughborough.
On paper, Loughborough were expected to win the game on the Metchley 3G on a bitter, windy Wednesday afternoon, however Birmingham ran the game from start to finish.
The Lions started strongly, passing well as a team and pushing Loughborough on to the back foot. A wave of pressure, helped by some quality crosses into the box, enabled Birmingham to take the lead following a corner, which resulted in a goalmouth scramble before Elliot Reeves managed to poke the ball into the net.
The goal came just before halftime, ensuring that the momentum remained with the Lions following the break. Loughborough fought hard to turn the tide of the game, but influential right back Ben Roberts provided a moment of magic to extend Birmingham’s lead.
Roberts weaved his way through three players in the midfield, before using his strength to muscle past a challenge and slide a perfect through ball into the box, which Reeves finished emphatically into the far corner of the net. An excellent finish from Reeves to complete his brace, but it was the determination of Roberts which earned Birmingham their 2-0 lead.
Loughborough attempted to find a way back into the game, their frustration clear for the supporters to see. Tempers flared between the two teams as the home crowd provided loud support, encouraging the boys and wearing down the opposition. Eventually, Loughborough managed to score a consolation goal, in the form of a cross-turned-shot which curled into the top corner of the net.
A short period of Loughborough pressure in the closing minutes of the game had the Birmingham boys defending a number of attacks, but they held firm and secured a well-earned victory, the 2-1 score line flattering the visitors.
Birmingham truly dominated the game, and it is clear that their better quality crosses and set pieces helped them achieve this win. The deliveries of balls into the box from Birmingham’s full backs was consistently impressive, including executions of free kicks. Loughborough tried time and time again to whip balls into the area, but were unable to do so and chances for their forwards dried up as the midfielders were unable to complete that crucial final pass.
My Man of the Match would have to be Ben Roberts. Despite Elliot Reeves also playing exceptionally well and producing two great finishes, it was Roberts who drove attacks forward throughout the game, taking on and beating players and sending excellent balls into the box. His performance was consistent and without his persistence and ability to engineer the second goal, Birmingham would not have come away with all 3 points.
The Lions face winless Durham next weekend, and will be hoping to reproduce this kind of performance to keep up momentum following this amazing result.