In the end, Birmingham City got the job done. Nobody wanted extra time, but sometimes in cup football, it happens. Blues were up against a very resilient Cambridge side, but in truth, the game should have been over in the 90 minutes. Clayton Donaldson, who looks like a good acquisition, should have tucked his 90th minute header away. But I’m not going to complain, as we can now look forward to the second round draw.
The thing that struck me about last night’s performance was the midfield pairing of Paul Caddis and David Davis. That looks like it could have the potential to be a promising partnership. Davis, considering he hasn’t played a competitive game for months, was full of running and broke up play well. Caddis was his usual energetic self, and I have actually come to prefer him in central midfield. He also took his goal very well.
At the back, Blues look very suspect. The injury to Gavin Gunning didn’t help (Dundee United fans point out that he would have been one of their greatest defenders if he wasn’t so injury prone- he failed a medical at Sheff Wed before joining Blues) with David Edgar coming on in his second position in as many games. The problem with Blues’ back four isn’t so much what they do wrong with the ball; it is their positional play without it, something that they paid the price for numerous times last season. Cambridge’s goal summed up that point. With the Blues defence back-tracking and backing off, Ryan Donaldson had time to pick out the bottom corner. A good finish admittedly, but easily prevented.
I was critical of Demarai Gray’s performance at ‘Boro, but last night was a slightly better night for him. I still stand by my opinion that he could benefit from a loan move though.
Blues looked a lot sharper and fluent after the introduction of Lee Novak and Mark Duffy. Novak has been played out wide far too often which is a complete shame because when he’s played down the middle, any striker would benefit from playing alongside his running and work rate. It was his tenacious efforts that created Donaldson’s missed header in the dying embers of the game. Just a snippet of what pure hard work can do on the green on a football pitch.
All in all, it wasn’t a fantastic performance, but the job was done and the right team went through. Saturday’s game against Brighton will prove a much sterner test
Keep Right On!
Follow me on Twitter @robwildey_