BIRMINGHAM CITY (A); REVIEW

05/08/18

Tom Parsley and Andy Lawn went to St Andrews full of hope. Amazingly, for City on the first day of the season, that hope still remains. Go figure. Oh and Tom definitely isn't the song police.

Random star performer

Andy: Leitner and McLean's arrival sparked a wilting city back into life, but it was the contribution of the 3rd sub that has the biggest impact as Dennis Srbeny laid on Onel's equaliser with a perfectly measured through ball.

Tom: Lawny's right, the introduction of McLean really did make us kick on a gear and my expectations for the quality of football we'll be served went up a notch from the rather drab and pedestrian first half. But I'll single out Rhodes - no goal of course however it was the manner in which he came close. Following up on a couple of efforts just wide that longer studs would have turned home, and a glancing header between two taller centre halves, he showed early promise of a 'right place right time' forward the likes of which we've sorely missed of late. He's not quick, he offers nothing aerially holding up the ball, but h may well have guile in front of goal.

Moment of the match

Andy: Limbs. The second equaliser is the moments that make travelling around England following second division football all worthwhile. There is no feeling like snatching a late winner or leveller and here we got to experience it twice.

Tom: Russell Martin and Matty Gill were alongside your ACN correspondents on the back row of the Gill Merrick stand and when enough of the surrounding fans had clocked their presence an obvious "Russell, give us a song" request started to gather momentum. After a short build up the majority of the fans in the block were facing back up the stand to view the commotion and he eventually obliged with a 'kick it off'. The resulting OTBC was rip roaring and rambunctious.What followed was much Norfolk Cafu-ing, as there had been little on the pitch to sing about. A huge show of respect to a former captain and thrice promotion winner who has been sorely owed some.

Biggest positive

Andy: The new boys all looked decent additions. Krul was solid and could do little for the opener, while their second was a smart finish. Marshall was City's best player first half. Pukki and Rhodes both carried a threat and have that knack of getting between defenders that will bring goals, while McLean looked very tidy indeed.

Tom: City created two goals and could have had four or five more, all without Maddison on the pitch. The set pieces were well delivered, and once Farke corrected the terrible initial line up selection with Leitner and McClean, suddenly Norwich knocked it about with purpose and looked like we had more approaches available to us than just one boy's dribbling and trying to pick the lock.

Weekend whinge

Andy: Shoddy defending at 1-1 very nearly cost us, but by that point we only had two defenders on the pitch. Husband looks miles off the pace and Marco Stiepermann was barely better. We didn't lose though.

Tom: I'm not the song police; but there's no need for 'paedophile', 'shag your women' or the other tired outdated song content that we are better than. We have so many great chants and new players to create new ones about. There was some fantastic exchanges and banter between fans, just a few, horrible examples of chanting from an earlier age that NCFC fans have grown out of on the whole.

Farke watch

Andy: A raft of attacking substitutions meant City ultimately wrestled themselves a point from a game they looked beaten in. Twice. The starting 11 was met with raised eyebrows in the concourse before kick off, but the squad looks a strong one and credit has to go to Farke for building it.

Tom: Got it wrong for an hour but corrected it. Credit where it is due, he could have brought Zimbo on when Stiepermann limped off but he fully rolled das dice and hopefully his reward of a point will encourage him to be positive like that in future games. I completely acknowledge he recognised his mistake and rectified it - now let's see the right team next Saturday.

Atmosphere rating

Andy: Excellent, then middling, then pockmarked with infighting and pointless Ipswich / Mick McCarthy bating that was embarrassing, before City got on the front foot. The away pocket backed them and by the time Onel rocked up it was back to being excellent.

Tom: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Late equalising goals away from home are the second best thing in football (after last gasp winners) and there were some good songs pumped out by a vocal corner of Norfolkians. However, there was a reticence to join in from the masses, even though second half we were playing decent football and creating chances. I don't like fans calling each other out for not singing during the game - to stop that being a problem, simply create a singing section in the back right in the middle of every away allocation we have. Then all those who would join in if they weren't too self conscious to do so a few rows over from where the noise is could know they'll be in the thick of it when they book. More noise, more vocal support for the boys.

Summary

Andy: A point I would have taken at kick off and definitely as it headed first into the last 10 and then the last 2. A solid base upon which to build but there is much work to be done.

Tom: I would have taken a goal to cheer with my lovely mates and Rhodes/Marshall/Mclean/Hernandez all looking positive and like they'll get me out of my seat this season. I'd made my peace with getting exactly that on 90+2 only to have it turned into a substantially more enjoyable result to reflect on. We sang "We're gonna win the league" at full time, because why not. It was the sort of game that seemed lost and then gave us hope. We sang ourselves hoarse and gave cause to get a bit clonked by limbs on too many occasions as I hugged friends and strangers in celebration. It was a fantastic away day.

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