Derby v Birmingham – What could have been…

Derby v Birmingham was a game full of highs, lows and regrets for Blues. In what was a rollercoaster afternoon, Derby fans must have left the stadium wondering “how the hell did we get away with that?”

Match Report

After conceding a goal within two minutes, for which Lee Camp’s right foot appeared to trip over Lee Camp’s left foot, the first half was a pretty decent performance for Blues. We looked positive, moved the ball well and pushed forward to get the equaliser.

1-0 down at half time but it had been a positive display from Blues. Then five minutes into the second half, Roberts, who has been excellent since coming in to replace Morrison, slipped over, which left Derby through on goal to double their lead.

I had flashbacks to Blackburn last season where we came from 2-0 to get the point. Within 10 minutes of going 2-0 at Derby, we had brought I back to 2-2. A header from Gary Gardener and an absolute screamer from Ivan Sunjic tied the score.

But Blues weren’t done. Derby looked on the ropes, seemingly unable to complete a successful pass. We had chance after chance for the winner but failed to successfully convert.

A few minutes after Juke missed a penalty, our defence was once again left exposed as Marc Roberts was taking one of his long throws in the attacking third, and Paterson scored what turned out to be the winner on the 74th minute.

Bellingham and Villalba came on shortly after, but we just couldn’t find the elusive equaliser. The final whistle blew and we left Derby pointless.

What could have been three and should have been at least one, it turned out to be zero.

What did we learn?

It’s blindingly obvious, but sloppy mistakes cost points. We played some nice football and although it’s early days, Juke and Gimenez seem to be developing a nice partnership. On the whole we looked comfortable at the back, creative at the front, and moved well as a team.

But three mistakes led to three goals being conceded. Camp’s stumble, Roberts’ slip and a wide-open defence sank us on Saturday.

It’s also worth questioning whether we should continue with Roberts’ long throws. They look impressive but they’re rarely – if ever – successful. With players who are good on the ball now in the squad, it’s worth considering mixing it up and sometimes just taking the simple short throw, which has the added bonus of not causing too much disruption to the positioning of our defence.

On to Wigan

It was a much better performance than against Preston last week. On Tuesday night we’re away at Wigan, who sit five points below us in 21st place. If, as Pep has said, we maintain the same approach on Tuesday as we took to the Derby game, fingers crossed we can get back to winning ways.

Photo Courtesy: Roy Smiljanic / BCFC

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