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PLAYER WATCH v Birmingham City

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PLAYER WATCH v Birmingham City

Each incident in the match was rated on the following scale: 

+5 GOAL 

+4 Excellent play 

+3 Very good play 

+2 Pleasing/good play 

+1 Decent play 

  0 Routine stuff 

 -1 Sloppy play 

 -2 Disappointing/poor play 

 -3 Very poor play 

 -4 Terrible play 

 -5 Own goal 

The ratings for each player were then combined to produce a measure of the players overall contribution to the match. 


Key incidents per player = coloured stars              Overall contribution = numbers

Kaminski                       *******  **     8                                  

Nyambe                        ********************  *     29 

Lenihan                         ****************************   *******     37

Wharton                       **************  *****     15 

van Hecke                     *******************  ***     24 

Pickering                      ***********  *****     7  

Travis                            ****************  *    27 

Buckley (62)                 ************  ****    18     

Rothwell (74)               ****************  *****    16   

Khadra (69)                  **********  *     19 

Diaz                               ***********  **    22 


Gallagher (62)              *******  *     8 

Butterworth (69)         **   **  *****     3    

Johnson (74)            ***   **      2


Highlights and Lowlights 

(A justification for the main ratings given above)


Well, what’s it to be……A very Merry Christmas or the, all too familiar, moaning about what might have been? Third place is up for grabs. Can you believe it? Here we go!

Oh! Orange and green for Birmingham….Aussie viewers would recognise the unappealing Bunnings colour scheme!


00 Kaminski wags his finger at Aneke after his half-hearted attempted leap over the Rovers keeper!

05 A fantastic long ball from van Hecke, inside our half to Nyambe midway in theirs, on the wing. Nyambe lets the ball glance off his chest past the defender and his trademark burst of speed sees him accelerate into the box. His square pass, intended for Diaz, is weakly pushed out by the diving keeper to Buckley, 10m out, who gratefully strokes the ball into the net. First of the season for John. What a start! Pathetic goal-keeping though!

17 Rothwell’s corner is flapped at by Sarkic, our friendly opposition keeper, and it falls to Wharton near the penalty spot but it’s on his right foot…..and his snap-shot is 1m wide. Decent chance!

19 Sunjic fouls Diaz twice in as many minutes!

20 Lenihan is winning all the high balls so far.

21 Khadra receives near the centre circle and spins, leaving his marker for dead. He runs towards the D and slips it to Rothwell on the charge in the box but he’s well covered by the defender and the ball is deflected to the keeper.

25 A free kick is played to Khadra halfway in the City half, on the wing. He whips in a vicious cross. The goalie rushes out, van Hecke holds back on a potential header forcing Sarkic to flap again and the ball goes to Buckley outside the D but his hurried shot goes well wide.

This is a poor, poor goalie!

Birmingham look poor…..or maybe we are making them look poor. For Rovers, no obvious weaknesses around the park so far.

28 Some nice interplay between Khadra and Nyambe earns us a corner. Rothwell takes it and Friend does well to get to the high ball just before van Hecke but it’s another corner. Lenihan can’t quite get there this time.

30 Nyambe is playing noticeably further upfield than he has recently. He’s doing well too, some nice touches.

31 Oh! Now he’s won a corner on the right! It’s taken short by Rothwell to Khadra, who finds Travis in the box. He shimmies and passes to Buckley 14m out. His shot is blocked and it falls to Lenihan 8m out but, under challenge, he spoons it over the bar.

32 Kaminski stubs his toe as he attempts a routine clearance and it goes to Aneke 25m out. He lashes a powerful shot against the crossbar. Kaminski was a spectator!

40 Some nice Rovers play sees Rothwell disguise a nice infield pass but he then ruins it all by playing the next ball backwards, directly to the feet of Aneke in the centre circle. It’s dangerous but Buckley challenges from behind and it’s a yellow card challenge! Rothwell’s fault though! The free-kick is played to their right wing and the City man takes it to the line, evading Diaz too easily but his cross is poor and lands on top of the net. We were a bit lucky there but it just goes to show how one careless pass can shift the momentum!

42 Another nasty foul by Sunjic on Buckley and it’s a well-deserved yellow. Rothwell fires it deep but Lenihan’s header is over the bar. Slightly disappointing.

48 I don’t like this….it happened in the last game too! Pickering allows the winger to advance and get a good cross in. Another City man beats Wharton to the ball and heads it on across goal, Kaminski desperately throws himself on the ground but he and 3 others miss the ball and it runs wide on our right. The whistle goes…….blimey!

Even though Rovers have been much the better side, Birmingham have had chances to equalise! Nyambe is getting back to his best I think. Diaz has done nothing yet…………..but!!


47 A nice crossfield pass from Buckley finds Lenihan who launches a good ball into the right channel for Khadra to compete with the full back. The keeper rushes out and just manages to hold the ball inside the box…….his whole body (except his fingertips) is outside the box!  Clown football from Sarkic again.  

48 Buckley picks up the ball near halfway and tries to put Diaz through but the pass isn’t good enough. Never mind, the City man stuffs up and Diaz gets the ball anyway! He slips it to a fast running Rothwell. He takes it into the left side of the box but his shot is saved by the keeper at the near post. 

50 Rothwell is lucky to get away with another of his misjudged “from behind” challenges.

51 Again the City winger goes past Pickering, gets to the byline and puts his cross in. This time Kaminski gathers comfortably. Nevertheless Pickering has to stop this route of attack!

Again, from halfway, Lenihan curves the ball behind the defence for Khadra to chase. Again the keeper comes but this time the ball is perfect. Khadra gets there first, knicks the ball past the keeper, he’s still got a bit to do but he keeps his cool, leaves 2 defenders on their backsides and coolly taps the ball into the net. Right out of the top drawer that one! Magnificent!

53 Aneke catches Kaminski again! It looks a bit foggy down at Ewood.

55 Following a Rovers’ corner, the ball is returned to Rothwell on the right. He whips in a great ball, just missed by Khadra at the near post and by Diaz on the line! It needed the slightest of touches but it’s not to be this time.

58 Rothwell picks up a loose ball in the City half and slides it forward perfectly for Diaz to carry into the box. He looks to have miscontrolled it but the defender is beaten and our mate Sarkic takes Ben out. Penalty! Sarkic helps again by diving the wrong way as Ben converts his shot low and to the left.

62 Buckley off, Gallagher on.

64 Incredible dancing feet by Khadra on the left touchline. He bamboozles one and nutmegs the other in a telephone box……He pays the price as the retribution is swift. Free kick. Chants of “sign him up!” are loud and clear! Rothwell’s cross is straight into the keeper’s arms.

67 A nice City ball down the channel sees the Birmingham man get the better of Pickering again, who ends up on his backside. It’s big danger as he runs into the box but there’s Lenihan at the near post to clear up.

Rovers burst downfield again. This time it’s Rothwell driving it forward. It fizzles out in the end but I love the way we can shift rapidly from defence into attack with this team. It’s great to watch.

69 Khadra off, Butterworth on. Standing ovation!

70 Pickering plays a nice ball to Butterworth 35m out. He shows great control, spins and strokes the ball into the 6 yard box for Nyambe but the defender was always favourite. Nevertheless Nyambe keeps it in and Rovers pass it around freely. Birmingham can’t get the ball!

71 James goes past Rothwell too easily and Butterworth brings him down 23m out! The shot goes through the wall but Kaminski goes down to parry. The ball is in the air and Butterworth gets a heads on it allowing Kaminski to gather.

73 City launch a long ball and Wharton is beaten in the air. Some nice interplay sets up a chance for Jutkiewicz in the box. His shot is well saved by Kaminski low to his right. Lenihan hoofs the ball downfield.

74 Rothwell off, Johnson on.

76 Butterworth wins the ball in the middle of City’s half, towards our left. He drives away from Sunjic and from 22m throws his whole body into a full-blooded shot on goal. It bounces back off the top of the bar! Wowee!

78 Midway in the City half Johnson chips an inch perfect ball to Butterworth in the box. He squares it along the 6 yard line, everyone is haring back towards goal and Pedersen deflects the ball into the air and past his keeper. Diaz gratefully heads the ball into the net from zero metres! It’s all too easy. What’s going on?

80 Johnson gives away a foul 30+ m out. The wall does its job and van Hecke punts an accurate long ball for Diaz to chase.

84 There’s some nice Birmingham play before a lovely cross from their right wing sails across the box but the unmarked James, arriving at the far post, puts it just wide. A bit of a let off. I’m afraid it was Pickering who failed to prevent the cross again.

85 Butterworth is dispossessed in our half but Gallagher rushes back to help.

87 Nyambe, high up on the wing, beats his man beautifully and squares to Diaz on the right edge of the box. He tries a preposterous chip towards goal but it skims the top of the crossbar. Amazing! That is a man full of confidence!

93 The final whistle goes. FIVE clean sheets….for the first time in 25 years apparently. Another great team performance. According to whoscored.com, Lenihan had 77 touches in the match. The closest to him was on 47! That’s some effort. It's all going well. 


Third place; beam me up Scotty!

Edited by tonyoz
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2 hours ago, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

Thanks as always Tony. That was worth waiting for.

Aye, I had a weekend away so I was a bit behind.


1 hour ago, Atko's Engine said:

Thanks Tony. That makes it sound like Pickering had a really bad game, but I didn't get that feeling at the match. After all, a full back / wingback's first job is to stop the crosses.

Harry was well involved and others covered well when needed but I noticed a couple of instances in the last game too. I still like him though.


1 hour ago, Officer Barbrady said:

Wow thanks for the effort put into this Tony.

Thanks you sir!

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