Birmingham 2nds finish bottom of the table, but earn hard-fought point against league leaders.
On the 8th February Birmingham Men’s 2nd XI took on an in-form and strong Nottingham Trent 1st team. Birmingham having only picked up one point prior to this fixture and with Trent sitting pretty at the top of the league we expected it to be a fairly one sided affair.
The game that developed in front of us was far different in fact. The one phrase that I would use to sum the match up would be end to end, with both sides pressing hard and fast on their opposite numbers. The first goal did however go to the Trent side. They opted to play a more direct style of play utilising the pace and power they had up top. This proved difficult for the Birmingham defence to handle and a late midfield run for the Trent team often left someone unmarked. The goal itself was a piece of individual brilliance from the Trent striker. After a quick break away he found himself one on one with the Birmingham centre back.
With a bit of skill and trickery he worked some space on the edge of the box and thundered the ball against the underside of the crossbar with his left foot before it bounced down over the line. An unlucky blow for a Birmingham side, that had been performing well. The Trent team enjoyed a spell of dominance after the first goal and had a goal disallowed for offside as the striker who was on the goal line interfered with play. Had he left the ball to go in from his teammates effort they would have been 2-0 up and off to the races.
Spurred on by the disallowed goal Birmingham retaliated and piled the pressure on Trents’ backline. This eventually forced a penalty, after the left midfielder played a good through ball, the striker took a heavy touch around the keeper and was brought down. The penalty had to be awarded without a doubt. The right midfielder, number 7 for Birmingham opted to take it and smashed it into the bar and over. He managed to send the keeper the wrong way but failed to find the target.
This was the end of the action in the first half with one other key feature being a free kick that needed saving by the Trent keeper. However, the Birmingham boys could walk in at half time with their heads held high, as they had managed to contend with the opposition who are top of the league.
It’s fair to say that Birmingham came out of the blocks flying and got the ball on the floor and started playing some intricate football. They were extremely quick to equalise and it was a well-worked goal that materialised after some composed build up. Central midfielder Caleb played a killer ball into the centre forward who was able to lay it off to the captain on the edge of the box who side footed it into the bottom corner. A really sharp and well-worked goal.
It was clear for all to see that every time Nottingham Trent won a set piece, they looked dangerous. They seemed to have a height advantage over Birmingham and after each set piece a chance would normally materialise. This was how the Trent team got their 2nd goal after a ball was delivered to the far post and the centre-back powered it home with his head. A few questions may have been asked of how the corner was defended; leaving the tallest man on the pitch unmarked was not a wise idea.
Birmingham found themselves up against it again and despite playing the better football of the second half, their chances were few and far between. Their second goal of the game came surprisingly from a set piece. Trent who had looked so comfortable defending set pieces clearly had a lapse in concentration and the ball fell to a free man on the six yard box who managed to put the ball across the box for Caleb Wright to follow up and tap in to make it 2-2 late on.
The game finished 2-2 and it was a fair result. An incredibly close game considering the difference in position in the league between the two sides. Birmingham should be happy to have won their second point of the season.