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Match Report: Birmingham City 1-1 Charlton Athletic (Blues Fan Perspective)

Saturday 18th August 2012
In his pre-match notes, Lee Clark spoke of his intention to make sure Blues hit the ground running after the mid-week romp of Barnet. But the visitors to St Andrews were newly promoted Charlton, who clearly planned on ruining the Geordie's first league game in charge. The hosts, who only lost one game at home last season, made heavy weather of this affair, but eventually nicked a point right at the death.

England 'keeper Jack Butland made his second debut of the week after his Three Lions bow against Italy in Switzerland on Wednesday, that was the only change from the side who took on Barnet.

Peter Lovenkrands saw an effort saved early on as Blues set the early tempo. Both sides were battling away in midfield and Hayden Mullins was quick to a couple of tackles that broke the visitors attacks up. Ravel Morrison was buzzing around and trying to force things, but eventually the pace of Blues' play was slow and they lacked invention. The scrapiness of the game was evident as neither side could gain any momentum. Charlton came close as Bradley Wright-Phillips saw a header go over the bar.

Just like Tuesday night, Blues' young full back Will Packwood was struggling to cope with wide players, but we'll put that down to in-experience, rather than lack of ability. A couple of times, Curtis Davies had to tell him to calm down, as he swung a boot to numerous balls, when a simple pass would suffice. Steven Caldwell got himself in a tangle, but made amends with a superb last ditch tackle just as Wright-Phillips was bearing down on goal.

Chris Burke, who was marked by two men throughout, managed to wriggle free of Johnnie Jackson and Danny Hollands, beat his full back and swung a cross in which was cleared for a corner. The resulting corner was met by Marlon King, but he failed to get a real connection as the danger was dealt with. Chris Powell's men were organised and frustrated Blues, but they were hitting on the counter attack. Yann Kermorgant connected with a Bradley Pritchard centre, but his mis-control allowed Davies to clear. That was the last action of the first half.

The second half saw the scrappy element of the game return, but Charlton started the better. The League One champions earned a couple of corners as they started to put the pressure on. Caldwell and King got rid of the danger but Athletic came back for more. Leon Cort had a header saved by Butland and Wright-Phillips blazed over.

Will Packwood made a great interception for Hollands' through ball, ironically, just as the youngster started to settle down and find his feet, he was replaced by fellow American, Jonathan Spector. Also introduced into the fray was Nathan Redmond. He took Morrison's place. Redmond seemed to liven things up slightly, his movement off the ball was good and Charlton had something extra to think about. Burke and Redmond linked up and almost played Lovenkrands in, but as was the story of the game, no real chance materialised.

Chris Solly's free kick was saved by Butland, and the England international was called into action again as he got down low to save Hollands' goal bound effort. The visiting fans were sensing a goal as they roared their team on. The home fans on the other hand were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of chances created. Eight minutes from time, Jackson's corner was met by Leon Cort. The centre back headed in to give the Londoners the lead. Three points were there for the taking.

Birmingham were pushing up in search of an equaliser but passes were going astray and the Addicks were doing all they could to wind the clock down. Clark used his last throw of the dice by replacing Lovenkrands with Nikola Zigic. Redmond saw a close range shot fly wide as Blues piled the pressure on. In the third minute of stoppage time, King's pass fell into the path of Zigic who slotted home to level the match.

In the end, the result was a fair reflection of play. But Lee Clark will want to see more from his Blues players as they travel to Hillsbrough to face Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

Blues team and ratings (4-4-2) Butland 7. Packwood 6. Davies 7. Caldwell 6. Murphy 6. Burke 6. Morrison 6. Mullins 7. Ambrose 6. Lovenkrands 6 King 6

Subs- Spector 7 Redmond 6 Zigic 7

Unused - Doyle Ibanez Elliott Rooney

Attendance- 18,210 (1,637 away)
Rob Wildey

Total articles: 27

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