The Bees went down at St Andrews after a disappointing performance in front of another impressive away following.
The visitors lacked any real bite up front and created too little in the way of clear-cut chances from a normally dependable midfield. Mark Warbuton described the display as ‘flat’, which is a fair assessment, however, there looked to be a fair few tired legs and a lack of the high tempo energy levels that have pushed opponents to their limits away from home this season.
Despite the availability of Jake Bidwell after his suspension, Stuart Dallas retained his place in the side at left back, alongside a fresh central defensive partnership in Liam Moore and Tarky… Harlee Dean and Tony Craig being demoted by the gaffer. To be fair Birmingham didn’t really test the defence to a level where we could truly assess whether we looked tighter or less error prone or not.
To be fair, Clayton Donaldson was a constant threat, as we expected, and the former Bee proved a thorn in our side in what emerged as the only goal when he got down to a low cross, which forced Tarki to slice the ball into his own net. David Button also had to produce a superb save from a Clayton header shortly before the winner, but apart from that, we looked fairly comfortable in defence. The Bees’ short comings were more evident further upfield.
Birmingham were set up to defend in numbers and did a good job in ensuring the bees were restricted to just a couple of sniffs of a goal… Jonathan Douglas will be frustrated he didn’t do better with a header just before the break, and Andre Grey had a shot deflected just wide in the second half… Alan Judge, who had come on for Jon Toral, also had a shot from outside the box easily saved. Pritchard was busy and always involved, and obviously frustrated Stephen Gleeson enough to stamp on him, which was rewarded with a red card! Jota had arguably his least influential game in a Brentford shirt.
In truth Andre Grey looks jaded… Once again he gave his all and didn’t stop running, but we didn’t get behind the Blues’ defence, or truly stretch them, nearly enough, which became frustrating as the game went on.
The Bees just didn’t look like scoring, and with just Grey and Long as striking options following Big Nick’s loan to Coventry, you have to question if there will be adequate goals in the side as we look to secure an exciting, extended season finale.
Ultimately, Birmingham were no better than okay… we should have asked more questions… and we should have come away with at least a point on the balance of play… But, at the end of the day, there seems to a fair few bees who looked off their usual pace as you will hear underlined in the Beesotted post match podcast. Let’s hope we can bounce back on Tuesday evening in the home game with Huddersfield.