Often Partisan

A Tough Point – Ipswich Reflections

Birmingham City played out a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town in front of the Sky TV cameras on Friday night. A controversial penalty from Brett Pitman levelled things after David Cotterill had lashed the Blues in front midway through the first half.

Here are my match reflections – note I watched this one on TV.

I’d have taken a point before the game…

… but doesn’t it feel a bit sour to have taken one like that? While there was controversy in the game (more on that further down) I think we have to be fairly happy with a point away at Portman Road. Ipswich look a side with genuine quality; Larsen Toure looked a handful, Ainsley Maitland-Niles certainly showed some quality and in Pitman, Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick Ipswich have three strikers with genuine class.

While Blues had a couple of bright spells they seemed to struggle to retain any possession when they did get it; neither Stephen Gleeson nor Maikel Kieftenbeld could get their games going and Andy Shinnie faded (as he so often seems to in my opinion) after a really positive start.

The Ref

When the penalty to Ipswich was first given, I was fuming – as were most of the Blues fans I know on Twitter to be fair. Had the foul on Clayton Donaldson (in near enough the same spot) been given in the second half, I’d have been much more philosophical about it – but of course it wasn’t and as such I’m still fuming.

I have no problem with some refs being stricter than others; with some refs letting everything go or blowing up the whistle at every opportunity as long as they consistent with it and apply it to both teams – and I don’t think Mr Stroud can say that he was either consistent or fair. I’ll give him one credit – he didn’t send off David Cotterill when the Sky commentators were almost baying for it in the first half (and then wouldn’t stop going on about it) – but I thought he was poor throughout. From reading some comments it’s been a consistent theme this season.


Is there a more desperate sight in football for Blues fans than seeing Paul Robinson come on for Demarai Gray late in a game? If ever there was a substitution that said “yeah, we’ll take a point” – that would be it in my opinion.

In saying that Gray had been poor and was playing in the centre of the attacking trio; bringing him off meant that Gleeson was pushed forwards and Robbo could theoretically shore up a defensive midfield with a bit of grit and a tackle or five. What I don’t get however is why Robbo – why not David Davis (a defensive midfielder)? My only memory of Robbo’s contribution to the game is a header which nearly played in Murphy. Maybe I’m missing something here – but it’s not the first time we’ve seen it this season.


I’m not the Welshman’s biggest fan – and I definitely wasn’t happy as I’d backed Caddis as anytime goalscorer (another reason to be miffed at the ref over the Donaldson decision) – but all credit to Eardley, he actually had a decent game while he was on the pitch. He was unlucky to come down so heavily on his shoulder and it’s a shame cos that could keep him out for a while – one would have thought if he could have built on that performance he could have genuinely given us another option in defence.

It also means if he is injured for any length of time Blues current defensive backup is the aforementioned Robinson, Mitch Hancox and Shane Lowry; all left-footed and all, how do I say this nicely, uninspiring? If Eardley has dislocated his shoulder he could be out for a while and it will be interesting how Rowett reacts – if it prompts him into bringing in some cover, or even promotes one of the youngsters such as Wes Harding or u21 captain Josh Cogley.

All in all I might sound a bit negative but I’m fairly okay with that performance. I can imagine some of our brethren from B6 might be rubbing their hands together – but that’s fine by me; underestimate us at your peril.

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62 Responses to “A Tough Point – Ipswich Reflections”

  • Bluehobba says:

    Yes agree, Its a hard place to go to get anything out the game so well done Blues. Must pay tribute to those die hard that went as well ,Hats off to them. Ipswich has always been a good away day. £32.50 on a Friday night and on telly and a struggle for most at 7.45 ko. Well done and kro

  • Bluebalders says:

    I too would have taken a point beforehand, but the penalty was a complete joke. No one in the whole ground even made the slightest appeal for it. As for good ole Mick saying it was a pen I’m not surprised – he’s always been a knob, but I think he might have been more than a bit miffed to have had that given against him in his (cart horse) “playing” days…..!!

  • atko says:

    I thought we played well. I felt really sorry for Eardley because he had an excellent game up to that point. He linked up well with whoever was down that side whereas when Caddis came on I thought he was more likely to just hump it forward. I think we were a little off our game going forward & the usual link up play between the midfield & the front wasn’t there tonight like it has been. As the commentators said we were reluctant to get crosses in when we were in good positions to do so. Ironically Maghoma had more of a go when he came on than anyone else had in the rest of the match. Dimi was a little off his game tonight but to be fair he did show the defensive part of his game has improved a lot. Defensively we put in a good shift. The penalty was nothing short of a disgrace & I disagree with the comments made that Spector shouldn’t have gone to ground. I agree with the comment made that if a penalty was going to be given for that then there would be 5 a match. All in all, we would have taken a point at the start but to say Ipswich deserved a point given their pressure second half is crazy…..it’s goals that get you what you deserve & they can consider themselves very lucky tonight!!!

  • andy says:

    Good point against a good side. Now get fired up Blues and give everything you have at Villa Park.

  • Bluehobba says:

    The soft penalty we got at Burnley was today evened out by a pretty poor decision to say the least so now we are on a level playing field. I have only seen it once on sky but the camera from the sidelines I am sure showed Spector getting the slightest of touches but can’t be 100% sure as I think they only showed it once and the cameras concentrated on the long run from the 18 year old. Never mind onwards to the Vile game

  • Tonyc says:

    I certainly would have been happy with a point before kick off.The biggest bug bear I have with our play is the amount of times we sloppily give away possession and although Cotterell scored a great goal he did tend to play others into trouble with a lot of his passes.Gray was pretty poor and although it was a harsh penalty why did spector not try to jockey him out of play instead of making yet another poor challenge.

    • atko says:

      I think most of the back four were at fault leading up to the penalty. That guy was running at 3 of them & nobody put in a tackle until he attempted to cross. I think Spector did make contact with the player but after seeing it a few times I am pretty sure Spector’s back leg caught him after he had played the ball across. If the referee thought he was knocking the ball across Spector with a view to getting round him then I don’t know what he was on because even Linford Cristie in his day would not have managed that. The kid was fast but not that fast! He was clearly crossing the ball but I really don’t know what the referee was seeing.

  • chrisG says:

    It’s a conversation that we were having on tuesday at the game against Forest that we seem to be very unlucky with officials so far this season, I for one would really love to know what is going on as the standard has been very poor. I did say on an earlier post thst i’d be happy with a point but to be robbed of 2 points in such manner leaves a sour taste.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Definitely not a penalty IMO too but overall a pinpoint was fair

    With respect Dan I didn’t see much class from Ipswich. Murphy in particular didn’t get anything on target.

    Ipswich reminded me of TF’s Blues. Lots of better than average players but none special. Workmanlike but low on flair and entertainment. Glad I haven’t got to watch that every week

    • Steven Davies says:

      So it wasn’t just me who thought Pitman was nothing special? If you ask me if he’d spent more time playing football and less time whining like a spoilt little girl then maybe he’d have scored a proper goal. To get MoM from Sky is laughable.

  • Texas Pete says:

    I thought we were extremely lucky tonight (deja vu for previous games). The amount of chances landing in front of goal from corners ar crosses really show the need for a big centerhalf or a gk who commands the area. We did have the two good spells but it was that long punt that dominated the play. Donaldson is a great player but no great in the air. If we are going to punt and cross the ball then why the hell wasnt Madson put in 2nd half to give donldsn a rest. The third sub wasnt used?.
    If we are relying on 1 goal per game thru counter attack then shaky defence is not good enough.
    Select a totally changed team in the cup and leave it behind us. My rant done.

    • atko says:

      I didn’t think we were lucky tonight at all….I thought we played well defensively considering how we set our stall out. Ipswich were poor, there were very few clear cut chances. As for the substitutions we DID use all three….Caddis, Robinson & Maghoma came on so Brock-Madsen couldn’t have come on. There was no space to play the ball out of defence like we do usually, Ipswich closed us down well in that sense so we were left with punting the ball which wasn’t working given Donaldson was pushed & pulled all night long when he did get any chance of getting possession.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Spector had no reason to dive in like he did so penalty given and that evens it up as the one against Bristol city was soft … Good point and now it’s vile all the way . Kro

  • Mitchell says:

    Firstly my prediction of a defeat was wrong(pleased to say) and obviously delighted with a point. My concern again is the situation regarding Gray. Passenger game after game and I am baffled. Compared to Ipswich young fast skilful prospect, Gray is a shadow. Perhaps GR has to play him for whatever reason, but imo it is not for a footballing reason. No goals, no assists and not a great threat. Lastly, as regard David Davis- I agree with Daniel that this player should surely come before Robinson. However, something wrong here which maybe nothing to do with football. Just my opinion.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I think you are jumping to a few conclusions there. It was purely tactical. GR wanted someone to just sit in front of the back four and protect them – almost playing as a third centre back. Davis is more about running around trying to win the ball. It was always going to be like the Alamo for the last 10 mins and I just think he thought Robbo was ideal for that role with his experience. I think the issue with Davis is that he is very prone to giving away possession and his passing isn’t good enough.

    • jonno11blue says:

      Why do you keep having a go about Gray? At least he goes at his defender even if he doesn’t always get it right and he gets back and helps his full back. How often does Cotterill or Maghoma run at the opposition and beat their man. Against Forest last week Donaldson was so isolated because these two were strolling around the half way line and if you add to that the number of times Cotterill loses the ball some matches he’s more of a liability than an asset. He got booked last night, his third in a row, because he lost control of the ball. I’ll admit I like to see him give Viv a little more game time and wonder what Koby Arthurs done not to even get on the bench. Do you go to the games, where you like us at Ipswich last night?

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Caddis’ loss of form and Earley’s injury gives agate a face saver for moving Spectorbto right back and playing Lowry at centre half. Will make the back four a bit more combative for Tuesday?

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Caddis’ loss of form and Eardley’s injury gives Gary a face saver: move Spector to right back and play Lowry at centre back. Should make the back four a bit more combative for Tuesday

    • Retired&Weary says:

      LOL Gary needs a face saver! seriously, it’s not a bad option Alex. Also when Dutch Mike gets suspended, Spector would be a good option there as well.
      The neutrals are describing us as resilient these days, Spector has been a part of that, even if he’s not perfect. No player is.

    • Blueboi14 says:

      For a while now i have had similar thoughts. Spector to RB, and new central defender to play alongside Morrison.

      That would give us a better defensive balance in my opinion.

  • Blue Lizard says:

    Pleased with that point..(i was secretly expecting a tonking) We are our own worst enemies though still giving the ball away too often with slipshod passing and poor concentration…but still it’s another point on the board…now onto the scummers at shite park. with the pundits(ha!) giving us little chance it’s a win win situation nothing expected so if we win great..if we lose it’s expected
    Onwards and upwards!!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Not a bad shout that Julian. Kro

  • Retired&Weary says:

    I agree with Shirley Blue, we were under the cosh & needed to “circle the wagons”. I’m afraid that Davis is not reliable these days; not only his passing, which seems to have got worse, but his tackling & running around seems to have gone as well. Reminds me of how Callum Reilly went.
    Unfortunately a lot of fans seem to dislike Robbo so much that he is judged before he gets on the pitch.
    A reminder to all the moaners: just one, arguably unlucky, 1-0 defeat so far. Think back to this time last year.

  • Alex T says:

    I can’t understand why Spector aimed his tackle so close to the player? He should have anticipated the only option was to crossed and put in a tackle to the left of the player, aiming to block the cross. Then there would have been no danger of a penalty. He shouldn’t still be so bloody naive

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I can never understand why today’s defenders dive into the tackle so much, instead of blocking.

    • jonno11blue says:

      Like everyone else in the ground last night I didn’t think it was a penalty, in fact had to text back to the TV audience to try and find out why he gave it, but everyone is missing the point. Why was the lad allowed to run from his own half, pass two/three of our players into the penalty area. He should have been tackled on the half way line. Once again Blues passing and ball control was very shoddy, these players need to concentrate from the first whistle.

    • atko says:

      There was nothing wrong with the tackle, Alex! He slid in to block the cross & caught him with his trailing leg. I’ve watched it many times & slowed it down too in an attempt to see what the referee was seeing but I really don’t get it at all! It’s done now so know point in griping on about it but one thing GR should be saying to the guys is okay it wasn’t a penalty but why the hell was he allowed to run 3/4 of the pitch in the first place???? Hopefully we will learn from that one!

  • rhees says:

    Sky commentaters annoyed me cots booking was fair never in million yrs a red card and they kept making it a drama.
    The penalty well what a disgraceful discussion and the one on Donaldson def push in back poor poor ref.
    In saying that we did well to get a point deserved it through grit, but if it was an ipsitch fan id would have thought we deserved all three points.
    So all in all good point and very happy with it.

    • atko says:

      Agree on all points Rhees about the Sky pundits. Disagree though about the result. At the end of the day if you don’t take your chances you get punished. It was a good point for us but poor finishing & approach play by Ipswich meant it was 2 points dropped by them. On that basis I don’t think they deserved to win at all.

      • rhees says:

        Fair point atko a philosophy I’ve had myself if you don’t take your chances you don’t deserve to win.
        My point was more I was nervous all second half and Ipswich looked more likly to win so as a supporter if it was blues I would have been disappointed which is why it was a good point won to dig in and defend the 1. 1

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I predicted a draw yesterday (1-1 or 2-2) and I fully expected a point. But, if it wasn’t for the dozy ref (who was the only one who thought it was a pen) we’d have gone in at half time 1-0 up and that would have been something to build on in the second half. But, as is our wont, we gave the second half away with our lack of ball retention. I wonder sometimes if we actually practice passing to each other. In the end, we were a bit fortunate with 3 or 4 desperate lunges to keep shots out. But full marks to the defence.

    As for Cotterill’s lunge that might have resulted in a red… no one seems to have mentioned the tackle on Gray in the second half that could quite easily have broken his ankle. So swings and roundabouts on that one. On the subject of Gray, I’m still not convinced by the lad. Game after game he flatters to deceive. Little or no end product. He needs to stop p*ss*ing about so much and losing the ball.

    I’d give the team 7/10 for coming away from there with a point.

    • zxcv says:

      Ditto to all of that, agree with every point.

    • Blue Lizard says:

      That was no penalty as long as I’ve got a hole in my arse!!..Linesman never gave it but the idiot referee who was on the blind side of it yards away did..Miles looked surprised he got it!..As for Cotts? wet pitch tackle from a bloke who can’t really tackle..hes given a couple of free kicks away which have seen us leak a goal but happy idiot ref didn’t send him off so I suppose all in all it’s a point I wasn’t expecting and it made Mick “horseface” McCarthy look a more miserable sod than usual…so it’s job done!!

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Staffs, we had one point less after playing twice as many games last season. We are sixth – this is dreamland compared to a year ago. The fact we can go to Ipswich and expect to get something is a massive improvement. We were poor in the second half but the better side in the first half. Let’s not be too critical. Ipswich didn’t look any better than us last night and they are a play off certainty.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        It’s not so much criticism SB, but observation. As I said in another blog, I think we need to train in our first and second team kits… so we learn how to pass to a player in the same colour shirt. That was all that was wrong with that performance, that we couldn’t put more than two passes together in the second half. I’m sure that if our passing had been better, we’d have taken 3 points. It’s not a criticism, but something to work on.

  • Tony says:

    First off the guy had lost the ball the keeper had it, when was the last time anyone saw a pen given for that?. Agree about Gray he’s not showing anything at all if another bid comes in for 7mill we should take it.
    It was a bit like the Alamo at times, in fact I can recall a game this season where we have controlled the match, we have the lowest possession ratio of any side in the division. Cant see how we can continue like that, we need to create pressure in the opposition area not keep relying in brakes.
    Having said all that it was a good point Its never been an easy place to go

    • atko says:

      I read before the game that GR admitted that Forest had played us at our own game on Tuesday so he must accept that we cannot simply be a counter attacking side. Forest played us at our own game & Ipswich prevented us from getting our passing game together to counter attack. We were reliant on punting it instead of working the ball out of defence. If we think back to the Burnley game where our passing out of defence was a joy to watch we are like a different side. I don’t like to sound too critical because after all as we all agree, it was a good point last night but that fact that we are disappointed at aspects of our game with only 1 defeat so far shows how far we have come in the last 12 months. As for Gray…we know what he is capable of so I would like to see him & Solomon alternated & the one doing the most plays the most. That way we get the best of both worlds, they both get rested when necessary. They are both young & similar players. I have no qualms with Solomon stepping up to the plate more often. He has the capabilities.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    We are not taking advantage of Gray being marked by two players

  • Itfc Sweden says:

    Clear penalty. Irrelevant that Brum would not have scored. If you take someone’s legs away anywhere on the pitch, it’s a foul. In the box, it’s a penalty.

  • Itfc Sweden says:

    * irrelevant that WE wouldn’t ‘t have scored at that point…

  • southcoastblue says:

    12 points from 7 games (all but one against teams in the top half of the table). Fouth highest scorers too. GR is getting things right a lot more often than he gets them wrong. Sure we may we may have had the odd bit of luck and sure we may struggle as players get tired/injured/suspended/ but this isn’t a fluke. The stats don’t lie. Bring on the Vile.

    • atko says:

      You make a good point that all but one game has been against teams that are expected to be there or there abouts at the end of the season & in more than one game we could easily have taken all 3 points. In some cases when you’re watching the game you forget the opposition is amongst the favourites to be promoted this season & we’re amongst the favourites for relegation. We’ve grinded out some good results but I think what we are all worried about is whether we can continue that through a full season with this squad. I guess time will tell.

      • ChrisG says:

        Atko, where did you get the idea we were favourites for relegation?, that’s the 1st i’ve heard of it, in fact all the talk is of reaching the play offs. The way GR plays is to defend & hit on the break which means there will often be times when we don’t have a lot of possession. I have no doubt we will have a blip at some point as will a lot of teams but i’m sure we will finish comfortably in the top half of the table & if we do reach the play offs that’s a real bonus

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          Agree.Possession doesn’t win football matches,goals do. GR inherited a squad whose better players strengths suit a counter attacking style and he has the intelligence to utilise this.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          From before the season started, I expected a 10th-12th place finish again. I’m confident of at least that. If we’re in the top half of the table coming up to the Xmas fixtures, then I might alter my expectations. But there are a lot of games between now and then. Gonna be very interesting that’s for sure.

        • atko says:

          A lot of pundits had us amongst the favs to be relegated despite our position last year. I was puzzled when I heard it at the start of the season but I guess they were going off the clubs financial position. I’m sure they must think differently now.

        • Dave Mann says:

          We were fifth favourites to get relegated by most bookies if not all . Kro

        • Dave Mann says:

          Fifth favourites by most if not all bookies to get relegated. Kro

  • Raymondo says:

    Well done Blues, keep this form for Tuesday night and who knows? Well done to Albion for showing us the way. They attacked from the off, perhaps we should too instead of playing counter-attack? KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If Villa play as poorly as they did today… we’ll ‘ave ’em!

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Albion have a much stronger squad than us. B6 can only play as well as they’re allowed. We will need to up our game considerably from the Forest and Ipswich performances. Can we?

      • David L says:

        We’re proved to be a good, efficient, counter-attacking Championship-level team.

        Huge kudos to GR for achieving that with the players and situation he has.

        However, our opponents in the next round of the cup have players of a higher calibre, and although poorly placed in their division, regularly play in a game that requires more rapid speed of thought, more accurate use of the ball and is less forgiving of loss of possession.

        So, just as Gillingham and Bristol Rovers were successful in their own leagues – but we had too much for them on the night and won comfortably on both occasions – the boot may be on the other foot for us this time.

        I don’t shy away from the challenges of the derby but look forward to the days when we can approach it on a level footing rather than this “plucky underdog” guff.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Cockney Clark is trembling in his boots Tuesday night because if we knock them out is days are numbered according to some of my vile colleagues ( there not friends ) kro

  • zxcv says:

    To be honest I think our game with them will now be even harder imo they won`t want another humiliation, wish we could have played them first before the Albion I think their win makes it 100 times harder now for us.

  • Dave Mann says:

    zxcv, I couldn’t agree more , the baggies winning makes it twice as hard for us Tuesday night and there now gonna throw everything at us but I hope we pick our strongest team and give them hell … The thing is I think we’re loose on penalties , I can see it happening ! Kro

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