Often Partisan

Back To Back Clean Sheets

Birmingham City completed back to back clean sheets by shutting out Peterborough at London Road on Saturday 2-0. With clean sheets hard to come by this year (six in thirty-eight games in all competitions) I thought it might be interesting to look at when this feat was last achieved.

As one might expect, it has been a while since Blues last kept back-to-back clean sheets – in fact, it is more than a year since it last happened when Blues shut out Hull City in a goal-less draw (which has featured in a stat before). Indeed, that was part of a sequence of eight games that saw Blues only concede one goal in twelve hours of football (bonus points for who to and who scored it). The game against Hull City was the third clean sheet on the spin and marked a period of games when Blues were all-conquering – scoring freely and conceding nothing.

The win over Peterborough also marked the first time since January 2012 that Blues had completed a double of clean sheets over a rival (the last time was Millwall on January 14 2012 when Blues beat the Lions 6-0 having already beaten them 3-0 at home) – another record which I think demonstrates Blues’ defensive frailties in recent times. Again, I think it’s interesting that that was the only time Blues managed to do it that season.

I’m loathe to give statistics much credence – after all, I agree with the assertion which is often associated with Mark Twain; that there was three kinds of lies in the world, being “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”. However I think that the fact that clean sheets are so few and far between in Blues games does point to how important they are – they don’t happen as often as maybe we’d like them to and they are a precious commodity if Blues are to succeed because it is physically impossible to lose a game when one doesn’t concede.

The clean sheet on Saturday had a lot to do with how well the defence played but also one magnificent double save from Jack Butland. I will openly confess to being absolutely dumbstruck to how Butland kept the second shot out and from what other people have said I was not alone – apparently Lee Tomlin (whose shot it was) stood open-mouthed in disbelief that the Clevedon-born keeper had been able to keep his effort out. It might be a little too much to read into the save but I do think that it helped bolster the confidence of the defence and the team – in that they hadn’t conceded from what had been a silly mistake by Wade Elliott and I do believe it contributed to the team believing that they could repel other attacks.

This is what it comes down to – in too many games this season I think that there has been a lack of belief in the team in itself. Whether this is because of the way it is set up by Lee Clark, the lack of support from the terraces or inherent self-doubt from the players themselves I’m not sure but I think that there has been an almost visible feeling from the team that they think that they will concede sooner or later and I think for a long time it was a monkey on their back. I wonder that now a couple of shut-outs have comes Blues way if this will cause the team to “kick on” a little, to perform that little bit better and to push up into mid-table safety over the next few weeks. Only time will tell.

The good thing is that after two fixtures that demanded Blues to pick up points that they have, and as of right now the team sits seven points clear of the relegation places with teams below them slowly freefalling into the maelstrom of the relegation trap door. Blues points total now (42) has almost been enough in some recent years to ensure a team’s safety and with thirteen games left the feeling has to be that there is enough time to pick up enough points to confirm that fact. Whilst safety from relegation is by no means a success overall it does represent an improvement on recent feelings and one would hope that now the worst of the season is over.

For those who hadn’t guessed, the goal referred to earlier was scored by Ross McCormack for Leeds United in their 4-1 defeat to Nikola Zigic.

Tags: , ,

56 Responses to “Back To Back Clean Sheets”

  • Columba says:

    I nearly wet myself when I read the last line, well played sir.

  • James Black says:

    Yes Al i think your right in that the fear of conceding meant inevitably we would. We still have it to do for sure and i hope the players are not carried away and get complacent, but i believe that not only Blues, but any side plays better when the pressure isn’t on so much. Anxiety attacks on the pitch sometimes caused by the moans from the terraces and poor results as well as lack of clean sheets definitely affect the way they play. I hope just enough pressure is off for the freer spirit in the side to emerge.

  • sutton apex says:

    it is important barring injuries we stick with our current back four ie hancox,caddis,caldwell,davies, Whilst i’m not a fan of caldwell (so slow this season) as a unit 2 clean sheets must have given their confidence a huge boost. Oh i almost forgot Stoke’s future england keeper. WHY DID WE SELL HIM ??

    • Graham Woodward says:

      To stop us going bust!

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Should have taken a loan guaranteed against the parachute money

        • almajir says:

          Except we can’t do that because the bank won’t let us…

          • BhamCityJulian says:

            Do we know that. Must be conjecture because a bank would never discuss a customer’s account in public

          • almajir says:

            Yes Julian, as a matter of fact we do know that.

            HSBC have held a debenture (which can be viewed on the companies house website for a £1) against BCFC since October 2011. This debenture is a floating charge secured against all present and future income streams, including parachute payments.

            Notwithstanding that, mortgaging against a parachute payment in the future is stupid – because if we do that, what are we going to use to pay wages next year? No guarantee that the club will be sold…

          • BhamCityJulian says:

            So this means that none of the loans can be paid off without the permission of HSBC. If so BIH will have to write of the loans if they can’t get a buyer to pay them off.

            “Yes Julian, as a matter of fact we do know that.
            HSBC have held a debenture (which can be viewed on the companies house website for a £1) against BCFC since October 2011. This debenture is a floating charge secured against all present and future income streams, including parachute payments.
            Notwithstanding that, mortgaging against a parachute payment in the future is stupid – because if we do that, what are we going to use to pay wages next year? No guarantee that the club will be sold…

          • almajir says:

            No, it doesn’t.

            It means we can’t get any further into hock. Nothing more.

  • Big Al says:

    Two strong displays from Ziggy – good man-management anyone?

    • mr_crosby says:

      Or perhaps a pissed off player proving a point?

    • Mortonsblue says:

      Two starts is your answer not good man-management!

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        Two starts is the answer, instead of the occassionally bit part from the bench.

        Fair play to Clark though for learning from his mistakes & understanding he will get more from Zigic
        on the pitch (managing him properly)

        Best Almajir line since Papa Don’t Leech..

        “For those who hadn’t guessed, the goal referred to earlier was scored by Ross McCormack for Leeds United in their 4-1 defeat to Nikola Zigic”

      • James Black says:

        Mortonblue, Maybe, just maybe it was cuz after a public bollocking which induced an improved effort in training, then he felt he had earned the chance of a start. Just maybe.

        • mark says:

          spot on James, Clark told him who’s boss, and to get his commitment and attitude right simple as that…the rest is history. But some fans simply cannot accept that, that’s life. inclarkwetrust.

    • mark says:

      Clark appears to have got Zigic attitude right now, and he starting to reward the team for his efforts.

  • Ernie says:

    Good man management by Clark. Zigic was tossing it off so he acted. He brought Spector back who has made a difference too. A win off 10th place. But never mind still Clark out to those that are blind who cannot see

    • RichardM says:

      Dead right Ernie, you might have been fooled by one win, many of us are not convinced Clarke is anything other than distinctly ordinary. Worst manager I’ve seen at Blues in all my 40 years, at best possibly tied in last place with Dave McKay.

      • ed77 says:

        I feel like im in a dream world on here mr carson yeung has put us in this mess not lee clark the reason clark is manager is because nobody else would work for yeung, mcleish and hughton proved that.we have to be realistic and see a change in ownership and staying up this year is all we can ask for,this is a business that is struggling 2 keep its head above water so paying managers or big earning players off is not going 2 happen,come on guys its real life we not playing fifa13,selling butland hopefully keeps administration at bay not 2 pay clark off….KRO

  • DoctorD says:

    Does anybody have any sympathy for Wolves? I wouldn’t be happy if I were a yamyam.

  • Alex T says:

    Ever since we sold Butland, he has made at least one miracle save a game!

    In the very last minute against Brighton I was right behind him in the Gil Merrick upper when he pulled off possibly the best reastion save I have ever seen from a point blank header.

    Then, at the start of the Shef Wed game another amazing point blank save (possibly better than the Brighton one, but I was too far away to be sure) and THEN the Peterborough double save!!! This guy has been sold for peanuts considering his ability…. although I understand why (its just typical Blues that whenever something good comes along we are never in a position to take advantage).

    And after all that…. just because Butland made one bad pass against Wednesday the idiot behind me barks he wasn’t worth £3.5m and that we are well rid?!?!?!!! Sadly, there are too many bluenoses like that these days.

    I just hope this Nick Townsend chap is as good as some have said and comes through soon. Doyle is ok, but we have been spoilt with very good keepers recently and ok probably dont cut it anymore….

  • chris says:

    Looked for 7 points in Feb from 5 games and we got 8.
    Looking for another 7 in March from another 5 games.
    Then another 7 from 6 games in April would put us on 56 points and safe with one game to go in May.
    50 to 52 points should keep us up as the teams in the bottom 3 or 4 are only just managing just over a point a game.

  • James Black says:

    My sigh is misplaced sorry about that. Saw RichardM’s comment and couldnt come up with anything, just “sigh”. Will post it in right place in future. I made a mistake so im probably the worse poster on here.Or at least on par with one. :) Started to just get amusement lately rather than get fed up but still “Sigh”

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Slowly but surely small amounts of progress is being made in various areas of the team.

    Other than the blip at the Watford match, there is much to be positive about. Clean sheets, form improving of the players and team, confidence returning, strikers finding the net again regularly and a much more brighter vibe seeping through.

    It would seem some are still determined to only give LC “until the end of the season” – no matter what the results until then, and that is simply no acceptable on many fronts. The fella has been bigging-up our club from the moment he arrived and has had nothing but praise for BCFC. He is determined to try and build a successful club from the foundations with young, hungry players and should be applauded for this approach. Even with being hamstrung as he is with the finances, he’s still tried to get on with things without creating too much nonsense and feeling sorry for himself. Admirable I would say.

    I sincerely hope he is allowed to try and create his own team/squad come the summer – regardless of who owns us – and will be given the new season to really show his worth.

    Could work out for us.

    • James Black says:

      Atahualpa is a BN, I have nothing to add to that as you said it so well and couldn’t agree more. Only thing i can add is that i admire the way he has rode out the crazy slagging of him not just on a professional level, but sometimes damned right personal. Sure his not proven much yet other than having a backbone and working progressively with the tools he has. I love the idea of building from youth and yes like you Atahualpa i believe his earned the right to give it a go. OK i maybe should hold my tongue till we are absolutely safe, but i think that day is coming. Good comment Atahualpa.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      LC has been working without the tools of most of his competing managers. No direction from his bosses. No funds for new players. No communications. No forward strategy in terms of general mission or financial budgeting. Dwindling attendant fan base and absent vocal support. If he keeps us up he has done an outstanding job.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Atahualpa old mate;, I have never ” slagged-off ” L,C. but admit that I was dubious about his capabilities,!!.

      After reading your comments though, I am coming round to your way of thinking, !!. Give the man a fair crack of the whip, !!. As you pointed out, He has NOT had the fortune to have ” good ” boardroom backing, nor the chance to show whether he can put together a fair team, [ Injuries, a plenty ] since he took over mamagership of the Blues, !!.

      I now think it is a good time to give him full backing and the time to show his full worth, !!. K,R,O.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Will he look objectively at what his coaching team delivers and upgrade if required. Are out coaching methods up to date. Perhaps that is why our earlier form was poor

    • mark says:

      spot on most the fans that slag Clark off to me are the ones that don’t go down if only we had got 2 more wins we would be in with a chance of the play offs i dont think he as done a great job but he as done ok under the circumstances

  • Dave Timms says:

    If Zigic goes onto score 10ish goals between now and the end of the season I will go on record and say that Lee Clarke is a genius.

  • SirHarry1875 says:

    Manager pissing off a player + player proving a point = Good management but not necessarily good “man” management. Works in many industries at all levels across the globe.

  • Gianni says:

    I left a comment about LC attempting some sort of mind game with big Zig, and I for one am glad it seems to have paid off.

    Ziggy is an asset to the team, the squad and the club, forget how we can’t sell him on, and let’s look at what he offers.


    • chas says:

      Most of us recognised that Zigic was an asset to the team, he just wasnt given the chance to show it. Due to injuries , he has had to be played , as were the Kids ..Nothing else to iot..

  • tamuffblue says:

    Hooray !!!!! and cheers to Ed 77 and several other posters on here that have the common sense to view the bigger picture happening at Stans !!!!!! I have said before about Clark he makes mistakes but doesnt all managers – BUT JUST WHO WOULD THE MOANERS HAVE IN CHARGE ??????and second to that WOULD THEY COME to such a mess and badly run – non communicative shambles that is BCFC at the moment !!!!!!!!! as has been stated the biggest pointer to what a shambles it is for a manager was Hughton’s decision to jump ship and his veiled hints at what a crisis the club is in !!!!!!!!!!!!!! so if you dont like Clark sobeit but just look at his circumstances and his conditions of work before you criticise – slag him off

  • Bluehobba says:

    Regarding Zigic and I’m not slagging him off!- I went to the match on Saturday and went in the seats. Zigic is such a frustrating player. Apart from the goal he wasn’t much of a goal threat, at times he was lazy but that is Big Zig for you. He won a lot of flick on’s in different areas of the park but hardly at all in the middle. He avoided / skipped over a tackle in the second half and went down like he had been shot and stayed down for ages. He gets up and wins flick ons or holds up the ball, again that’s Big Zig. When attacking in the second half, he seemed to play behind Lovenkrands rather than along side and did a lot more work trying to feed Burke. He defended corners very well so just shows he has more to his game. As I said at the beginning I’m not slagging him off but he can be frustrating but that’s Big Zig. Maybe he just doesn’t do enough of what he is good at doing. KRO

    • mr_crosby says:

      He was the only forward there Saturday, Lovenkrands offers little and Thomas offers less than that.

      • mark says:

        I was there and the team played as team, won as a team, and rock solid defensive unit at the back, and Clark should be congratulated for that. wes nearly scored with header from flick on from Zigic. The more confident this team grows, someone in this division going to get hammering from us, personally I WOULD like it to be at home probably against the wolves. got be believer and keep the faith.. c’mon you blue boys.kro

  • mark says:

    I think we need to keep things in perspective, financial calamity, carson, relegation, Chris Hughton jumped ship, dropping out of premier league. We are in the here and now is the most important thing to blues whether we share our differences regarding our manager. Its about supporting our team and manager and making st.Andrew a place where our players feel at home and can excel. The abuse at our manager gets is totally unacceptable, and fans should be extremely shamed of their selves regarding this matter. Regarding the draws in your blog Dan we are making steady progress under clark, and on Saturday blues performance was built on sound , solid foundations, and key individuals came good. Special mention for the two young players starting to come good Hancox and Reilly. keep going lads..kro

  • sutton apex says:

    agree – i personally dont think lee clark was the the man for the job originally (billy davies, watch forest go! ) however he is improving and will hopefully avoid bad luck with injuries and keep us up . We must support him to the end of the season and see if new owners come in blah blah blah. TIL THEN TURN ST ANDREWS BACK INTO A NOISY,HOSTILE FORTRESS ! KRO

Leave a Reply

Personalised Gifts for a Bluenose
Haircuts and League Cups
Open Tax Services
Corporate Solutions UK
PJ Planning
Rodal Heating