We did it against Newcastle so you would have thought they might have learnt. But no. Score, take control, even in this game nick another, then drop deep, hand the initiative to the opposition, and invite them to come back into the game. It was so predictable once we sat back; and once the first Birmingham goal went in, there was only going to be one winner, even though we were still a goal ahead.
Deeper and deeper we dropped, more and more desperate became the challenges and, surprise, surprise, Parker mistimed a tackle yet again, diving in from sideways and behind and setting up Larsson in the perfect position for one of his trademark free kicks. There was only going to be one outcome wasn't there?
Why? Why did we drop deep? Why? Why did Green play as if his feet were anchored to his goal line? Why? Why did Parker dive in unnecessarily yet again? What does he think he achieves, inviting referees to give free kicks around the edge of our box? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Crass! Crass! Crass!
Where was the leadership? Why wasn't Upson moving the defence higher? Why wasn't Parker yelling at the midfield to defend higher up the pitch? Why didn't Grant do anything? We had to wait for Birmingham to not only draw level but almost take the lead before the change was made, with Dyer coming on for Boa. At 2-0, with Birmingham changing shape, an adjustment to 4-4-2, with Dyer on for Cole or Piquionne would have secured the points. But no. Grant sat on his hands, and the players just gave up for ten minutes, ten minutes that sacrificed two crucial points, ten minutes that drove another nail into our relegation coffin. It was brainless, utterly and completely brainless. And gutless too.
Before the game, I would have taken a draw, but 2-0 up half way through the second half against a very, very ordinary Birmingham team, who but West Ham could come away with anything less than 3 points?
And until that suicidal ten minutes, we had looked so good. We controlled the game. The goals were well worked. Boa's pass was a gem and Piquionne's finish was sublime. The Cole pass for Behrami after his exchange with Parker was every bit as good and Behrami, of all people, finished with aplomb. Obinna so nearly scored a third, Foster turning his shot onto the bar. The game was ours, it was won, it should have been a case of how many we would score as we loaded up the midfield but kept Cole and Obinna, or Piquionne and Obinna, up top ready to spring beyond a stretched and very ordinary Birmingham defence. But instead we handed the game back to Birmingham on a plate!
Who do we blame for the goals themselves? Ilunga played Jerome on for the first, but Green was rooted to his line as the cross came in for Zigic and was slow to respond as the ball was knocked down. Birmingham nearly scored from an earlier Larrson free kick, with Green (and the post?) knocking the ball back into play rather than round the post. The priority was to not concede any free kicks around the box, especially out on the right hand corner of our box. So what did Parker do? And the guy acted as if the decision was wrong, just as he did when he committed two carbon copy fouls earlier. Stay on your feet! Shepherd the guy into an area where he poses no threat. Don't dive in, especially from the back and side because there can only be one outcome, even if you make contact with the ball. Stupid! Crass! Brainless! And at that point, the fans were singing Super Scotty Parker! How about changing it to Stupid Scotty Parker guys?
And what happened after Birmingham scored the equaliser? We looked the better team again! Explain that if you can, explain why we allow the opposition total control for such a narrow window of the game but otherwise boss it?
I am so angry at the crass stupidity of it all. To be honest, a 3-0 defeat would feel less like a kick in the cobblers than this because you can't help being crap, but you shouldn't ever surrender a 2-0 second half lead. Remember Hull away last season? Remember our second half against Bolton this season? Remember that second half against Burnley at Upton Park? Remember Sunderland away, 2-0 up against 10 men? Remember our second half surrender against 10 man Fulham at Upton Park? (I know we rescued a point!) The Newcastle game is too fresh a wound to hope to forget! This isn't a one off, this happens time and time and time and time again. Sack the lot of them, they are spineless, brainless, moronic fools.
There. I've got that off my chest. Another ruined weekend!
Green 5; Jacobsen 5, Gabbidon 6, Upson 6, Ilunga 4; Behrami 6, Parker 5 (because he gave away those free kicks!) Boa 7; Obinna 6 (blows so hot and cold!), Piquionne 7, Cole 7 Sub Dyer 6, Kovac not on long enough to rate!