5 things we learned from our first victory since February 11th:

20 Apr

Saturday 19th April 2014
Nottingham Forest 1.0 Birmingham City
(Derbyshire)

1. There’s life in him yet.

Just when you think that it’s safe to once and for all safely discard Matt Derbyshire onto the ‘once promising but ultimately limited English footballer scrapheap’ alongside Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball, Michael Ricketts and Seth Johnson (feel free to add more to this list yourselves) he turns in a performance like that. Although the goal was nicely converted, it was his work ethic and hold-up play that was particularly impressive. The sound of hearts sinking and resigned sighs exhaling were audible on publication of the team line-up when it became evident that Derbyshire would be leading the front line. He has always looked simply too lightweight to maintain possession and bring others into play while a hulking big centre back breathes down his neck. However, he appeared to have eaten 4 Weetabix today as he managed to retain possession long enough to bring Paterson into play on a regular basis. He even won a few headers too. His willingness to put himself about and eye for goal have rarely been in doubt but his overall effectiveness has been less than impressive in more matches than not. Today though, he had us all wondering whether he was worth just one more run of games in a Forest shirt.

2. The kids are alright

Ben Osborn’s performance deservedly merited a man of the match award. He scampered around in the middle of the park fearlessly and drove forward purposefully at every opportunity. His touch was assured and he was so involved that it was difficult at times to work out whether he was meant to be stationed at the base of the midfield to break up play alongside the hugely impressive and welcome David Vaughan (incidentally, it appears that we have finally signed him up permanently tonight. Or have we? I thought we had signed Rafik Djebbour permanently too but apparently not. Oh well) or to support Paterson and Mackie in breaking forward. No complaints about that all action display though. Let’s hope he is in the same mould as previous Academy products like Michael Dawson and Andy Reid rather than the unfortunate Keith Foy.

3. It’s only Brum

But let’s not get carried away. After all, Birmingham City are in a relegation fight and were simply woeful in the first half. And we have learned all about woefully inadequate performances in recent months: we’re experts in them. In fact, we’ve achieved first class honours in the recognition of woefully inadequate performances and let there be no doubt about it THAT was one of the all-time classic ones from Brum in the first half.

4. Just because it’s tall, doesn’t mean it can head a ball

At the fulcrum of Birmingham City’s performance was a man known as Nikola Zigic. Never has a man so tall been so ineffective in the air. It would be lovely to use the cliché ‘good touch for a big man’ but…well, I can’t. Still, it’s not as if he’s claiming a reported £70,000 a week in wages from a financially insecure football club. Ah.
Maybe it’s a little unfair to judge him so harshly and some may say that he should be judged not on his height or his wages but on his effectiveness. A fair and admirable point.
Well I did and he’s still rubbish.

5. Alive and kicking

The fact that this win gives us even a remote chance of a play-off place after such a wretched run of form is frankly, rather incredulous and reflects poorly on those other Championship clubs vying for such a place. But the fact is that IF we win at Leeds United and again on the south coast at AFC Bournemouth and round the season off with a win against Brighton at our place, there is every chance we could find ourselves in sixth place by the skin of our teeth.
But read that last sentence again back to yourself and you realise that, in football parlance, it is a big ask. However, at the very least, this result has made the Leeds game live on Sky on Easter Monday a little bit more interesting.

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