Birmingham City 2 Newcastle
Wednesday 29th November 2000 7.45pm.
home kit): Bennett, Eaden, Gill, Grainger, Johnson M, Purse,
Lazaridis (Burrows 90 mins), O'Connor, Sonner, Adebola (Burchill 69 mins),
Subs Not Used: Poole, Hughes,
Booked: Purse, Bennett.
Sent off: None.
(normal home kit): Harper, Barton, Griffin, Goma, Hughes, Lee, Dyer,
Speed, Bassedas (Cordone 81 mins), Solano, Shearer.
Subs Not Used: S.Caldwell, Acuna, Given, Domi.
Sent off: None.
13 mins. A
free kick was flighted into the City box and only half-cleared. Barton smashed
it back in from the edge of the area and the ball ballooned from the boot
of a defender to Dyer on the edge of the box. He didn't get the
best of contacts on his volley, but it nestled in the bottom left hand
corner of the goal. 1-0
31 mins. In a mirror image of the
second City goal against us last season, a corner was played in to
the United box and an unimpeded header from the six yard line saw us
concede. This time Grainger took the corner and Adebola shrugged
off Shearer to plant his header past Harper. 1-1
Half time: BCFC 1 NUFC 1
90 mins. With extra time
looming and the dreaded penalty shootout looking a distinct possibility,
Newcastle contrived to put their travelling fans out of their misery and
save SKY from rescheduling their archery coverage. A corner was punched
clear by Harper, wildly booted back in to the area, where it was diverted
from it's wayward path across the goal by a City player. Of course, it fell perfectly for
the advancing Johnson to shake a leg at it and divert the ball across
Harper into the opposite corner of the United net. 1-2
Full time: BCFC 2 NUFC 1
Our 9th appearance in the 4th round of this competition
- but only 4 appearances in the 5th...
We've now failed to defeat Birmingham City in this competition in all 4
Uncle Bobby said:
"I have no sympathy for them (the players). I
hope it hurts them because it hurts me. It has to hurt them because it is a
It's very disappointing but in truth we didn't
deserve it. I have to commend Birmingham because they wanted it badly and
we didn't seem to want it so much. We didn't press and mark and step up and we allowed
them too much possession.
At a goal to the good we should be in the driving
seat and go on to win but we didn't. Where we were poor tonight was when
we didn't have the ball.
We've lost the game on two corners. There was a
free header for the first goal from one and for the second goal we didn't
clear the ball from the box."
A beaming Jasper/Trevor commented:
"I always felt we had a chance if
we attacked Newcastle. We created enough chances to
have won it before getting the winner by causing them problems all night.
I have the utmost respect for
Newcastle. But we've watched them on numerous occasions, and I felt if we
attacked them then there would be opportunities.
I felt we created enough chances
before we got the winner. It is difficult to pick out areas of my team
tonight, but I thought Horsfield and Dele Adebola were absolutely awesome
- and Newcastle couldn't handle them."
For the second year in a row, Newcastle trailed away
from St.Andrew's having meekly surrendered their League Cup place to a
Birmingham team that would struggle to stay afloat in the Premiership.
Yet, Trevor Francis may well reflect that his side
could have scored far more than the two they managed, and really hit the
headlines by stuffing a supposedly superior outfit.
When we lost here last season, it was generally accepted that we'd
fulfilled our contractual obligation merely by turning up. This year
however, we approached the match at the right end of the league and
without the added distraction of European competition to dilute our
efforts. No matter that uncle Bobby had declared that we were up for it
this season though, he may well have been. but his players didn't seem to
share his enthusiasm for the fight.
Harper, who made a number of vital saves in between the odd gaffe, cannot
really be blamed for either goal, and both Griffin and Hughes made vital
blocks and interceptions. However, our boys yet again lost the plot
further up the park, and in defence had possibly the home side's best
player - the utterly disgraceful Barton. Domi must really be on the way
out if Bobby preferred to leave him on the bench, and force us all to
endure Barton's feeble attempts at passing to his colleagues without
playing them into dangerous situations.
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but our static midfield once
again took up their usual positions and proceeded to indulge in
meaningless and ineffective interplay for most of the match. There are two
ways of looking at this - either the midfield have no forward targets to
hit or are deliberately playing in a compact manner so as not to allow the
opposition to be able to charge on through to our back line.
Well, the former is certainly true, as any team only has to shackle uncle
Alan with a couple of men to nullify his efforts, and the latter patently
doesn't hold water, given the ease with which City rolled up to the edge
of our box. The real problem with the midfield is a total lack of movement
into dangerous areas - basically the antithesis of pass and move, push and
run or whatever you want to call it. You know what I mean, the way
Manchester United play.
Until the goalposts are moved on to
the halfway line, our tippy-tappy rubbish will please nobody except OPTA
Dyer scored but did little else, Solano showed a little bit more in this
match, but then a man experienced in playing the likes of Brazil in the
International arena should be capable of making second-rate players look
like mugs. The major contribution of Bassedas yet again was to be fouled -
so far I just cannot see what he adds to this team in any way, shape or
form. His contribution is obviously too subtle for this correspondent....
Robert Lee didn't have the impact on the game that he would have hoped,
and perhaps would have been better served by having a night off and making
Saturday his second game in seven days, rather than his third.
It's no secret that Bobby is short-handed up front, but precious little
tangible reward came from his troops in this game, and as usual, the
opposition goalkeeper was one of the most under-used players on the park.
This may only have been a worthless cup match, but the problems that
continue to beset us were as obvious to anyone at St.Andrew's or watching
the goggle box as they have been in Premiership games.
We now move up the road to our favourite Premiership ground, where only
Villa have had more successes than us in the last few years, and things
don't look very good at this point. John Gregory may consider himself a
football purist, but he could probably ensure his side took the points by
simply instructing messrs Ginola and Merson to ping the ball upfield to
the distinctive head of Dublin at every conceivable opportunity.
PS - If you're looking for bad omens, when we lost at Brum last season, we
hung around for a few days then played a league game in the West Midlands.
The final score in that match ? Coventry 4 United 1.....