Match Report: Birmingham City 1-1 Manchester United

Manchester United vs. Birmingham City
An entertaining game at St. Andrews ended in a draw as almost the only in-form team in the top division, Birmingham City, held Premier League Champions Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in a game that wasn’t without its needless controversy.

United’s attacking fluency in the first half was far improved from last weekend’s humiliation against Leeds with Antonio Valencia predictably looking like the most penetrative player. But for all their possession the visitors found clear cut chances at a premium – no surprise given Brum have such an excellent defensive record this season.

Most openings were either half chances or brief glimpses that were quickly closed down, save for one brilliant Valencia pass that found Rooney with time and space. The first touch was exquisite, the second was a shot that was really too comfortable for loan keeper Joe Hart. Of the half chances fashioned, a Michael Carrick effort was caught before going into the top corner.

Birmingham then attempted a rare break and won a corner – United defended badly and the ball ricocheted kindly for Jerome who had the simple task of stabbing in. A rather more daunting task faced the Champions who so often this season have failed to find an answer when falling behind.

It’s not that the current register of players are suddenly incapable – a team that has been the English Champions for 3 years don’t become a bad side overnight. Until they went behind to that shock goal the Red Devils had done all of the pressing and looked more likely. However, there has been a clear shift when we fall behind. Players comfortable in possession suddenly look uncomfortable, incapable, and are second to most balls. That was the case here as Alex McLeish’s men almost extended their advantage, with Kuszczak called upon twice to make stops early in the second half.

As Sir Alex prepared to make changes his troops unexpectedly struck. A spell of pressure on the edge of the area resulted in Evra finding space and drilling a ball across the six yard box. It was simply one of those balls that can’t be defended, and despite the three United players waiting to pounce, it was the unfortunate Dann that diverted the ball past Hart. Referee Mark Clattenburg had a clear view of the incident but incensed the United players by consulting his assistant with seemingly no other intention but seeking a reason to disallow the goal. The assistant duly informed Clattenburg that he thought Rooney was offside – a call that would have dubious at best in itself – but the referee, in the knowledge he had seen the own goal, was unable to disallow it.

Ferguson brought on Ryan Giggs and, for his debut, Mame Diouf, however, despite flashes from Giggs neither influenced proceedings. This may have been due in part to Clattenburg’s decision to send Darren Fletcher off for a second yellow card – no-one would deny his second tackle was a silly one to make in terms of the game but nonetheless taking each instance on it’s merits it would be hard to argue the dismissal was deserved.

Home defender Roger Johnson almost snatched a win but Kuszczak was equal to it, before the fourth official signalled there would be 6 minutes of added time to incredulous screams of derision from “Blue Noses”.

That they were in the ascendency with an extra man and the ball in their opponent’s territory did little to dissuade them from insisting with their uneducated bile – and no doubt if United had scored they would have been labelled cheats while “justice” would have greeted a home goal – however, such an incredible supporter response says much about the reflection of ABU opinion on football matches that people care more about hating United than supporting their own team, particularly when they are the form team of the country! The only advantage of the added time was with the home team – with such a reaction it seems the only acceptable solution for every other club would be if United’s players had a leg amputated and were not allowed to cross the halfway line as soon as the clock struck 90, although, given the pathetic reaction in this game, even that would not be enough to convince the idiot public that stoppage time exists for both teams.

Given results this season a defeat in the second city may well have ruled United out of retaining their title again, but to show character has allowed most Reds to feel a little more optimistic. There are still clear signs that improvement is needed and probably in the form of fresh faces in January but a draw against opposition in such marvellous form and with such ridiculous refereeing is not the worst result at this stage of the season.

Ratings : Kuszczak 8, Rafael 6, Brown 5, Evans 5, *Evra 8, Valencia 7, Carrick 7, Scholes 6 (Diouf) , Fletcher 7, Park 5 (Giggs 6), Rooney 6

10 Comments on Match Report: Birmingham City 1-1 Manchester United

  1. we did not play well at all. Constantly over run in the mid field and Park should not be playing at all! Would rather have had Fabio on the left. All in all, hope Diouf can actually play, we sell Berba, cut our losses with Nani too. I know it sounds silly and knee jerk but I have been big supporters of these players since the start, even telling off people who complained about them. I think the United style of play is just not agreeable to a few “important” players in the squad and i hope we genuinely use this season to fix whatever needs to be for the next.

  2. of course as this is a manc supporters site bias is to be expected and i wouldn’t mind if you had questioned any other decision but to defend the 6 minutes of extra time simply cries ignorance, fergason spoke to the 4th official who then changed his board, all on camera not just imagination, which is a disgrace, hopefully he gets a proper ban this time

  3. Is this report from the same ‘Stretty’ that earlier this week stated that his team were playing at St. Marys on Saturday? I pointed out to him that the game was being played at St. Andrews, he admitted his error claiming ‘he’d had a long day’. And then he has the effrontery to write about ‘uneducated bile’ coming from home supporters. Uneducated? Really? ‘Stretty’ ought to look at his own level of education including spelling, grammar and geography before he talks about other fans. Many years ago Jasper Carrott spoke of those on the Stretford End being ‘neanderthal men’. That comment is just as valid today.

  4. Richard – You were speaking with someone else and Yolkie wrote the article not me. Other than speaking about another random fan do you have any other comments regarding the report OR your thoughts on the game?

  5. blue nose – I had no idea where the six minutes of injury time came from to be honest, no idea. However, as the home side playing against ten men surely you would have preferred the game to go on a little longer, no?

  6. Blue Nose I wasn’t defending the added time. I thought it was extraordinary and definitely a bad call. Are you seriously suggesting that the fourth official changed the board as a result of Ferguson having a word?

    If you are (seems a bit unlikely) but I can’t see why your anger is directed at Ferguson and not the official who has broken a very serious rule. If your allegation is true and is not just misdirected bitterness I would expect to see that official thrown out of the game.

    Richard, strange that you would yourself question the identity and then criticise someone different for the things that other person has said.

    I’ll stand by my comments in the match report. Uneducated bile? Strong perhaps but there were clear images of, shall we say, disgruntled supporters when stoppage time went up.

    Are we now watching a sport where stopping Manchester United winning is more important than trying to win yourself? As an opposition supporter you would be better placed to answer that than me but given the ridiculous reaction yesterday it would seem so.

    By the way I’m quite anal over the accuracy of my own spelling and grammar, feel free to let me know where I’ve made such glaring errors..!

  7. I find this sort of thing frustrating, when fans are labelled as all speaking bile or are all from Surrey etc.

    The truth is, it was a really good game full of incident, good football and chances.

    To be honest on my forum most people recognised that the United goal was ok and we just had a laugh about the 6 minutes. As you rightly say, at the time we were on top. Please don’t say we are all speaking bile! 😉

    I will say, not defending or attacking people’s reactions to the 4th officials board – you must know that the emotion of being at a game does get to people and they may well react in a way that they wouldn’t on reflection.

    ESPN made me laugh though, just before the board was shown they said I see Old Father Time is hovering around the 4th official I wonder what he’ll get! 😉

    You will also find that most Blues fans don’t really care one way or another about United, we have another team that is the top of a list of one to hate. 😀

    In the end the right result prevailed which is good – of course both sets of fans would like to have won it, but a draw was the right result.


  8. Your match report seems pretty accurate to be fair. And of course I’m not labelling all fans “bile spewing morons” – you only really go on what you see, which is why I raised the question about whether fans are starting to care more about hating United than supporting their own team.

    It was a good game; and more than that, it was not a bad result for us, without being patronising that shows how far Brum have come in the last 6 months.

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