NAKED AM­BI­TION AT BIRM­ING­HAM

Clark plot to solve home run

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

BIRM­ING­HAM fans will be hop­ing they get to see the right sort of home streak af­ter boss Lee Clark raised the haunt­ing prospect of ap­pear­ing naked on the side­lines at St Andrew’s.

A Fed­erico Macheda-in­spired charge saw Clark’s side came back from a goal down to leapfrog fel­low rel­e­ga­tion out­siders Don­caster, who had not lost at home since Box­ing Day.

By con­trast, just two of Birm­ing­ham’s 11 wins this sea­son have come at home, a state of af­fairs that Clark be­lieves must be psy­cho­log­i­cal.

And in an ef­fort to re­verse the St Andrew’s curse, Clark is threat­en­ing to bare all!

He said: “We’ve got top six form, I think, away from home, and we’re bot­tom of the ta­ble at home, so that’s it in a nut­shell.

“I’ve got to say as a man­ager that I’ve tried ev­ery­thing: sports psy­chol­o­gists, dif­fer­ent types of train­ing meth­ods, train­ing at the sta­dium.

“I’ve tried dif­fer­ent suits, I’ve worn a track­suit – I might have to go naked, but not many people would want to see that nowa­days, I tell you.

“I think that’s four games away from home since the turn of the year – Black­pool, Mill­wall, Charl­ton and Don­caster – where we’ve taken max­i­mum points where we needed to.

“It wasn’t look­ing great at half time, with us 1-0 down and the other re­sults go­ing against us, but the play­ers came out and put in a ter­rific sec­ond-half per­for­mance in all as­pects of the game.”

Don­caster had the bet­ter of a rather ten­ta­tive first half and de­servedly led at the break thanks to Paul Quinn, who scored only his sec­ond goal for the club on the sec­ond at­tempt from a set play.

Chris Brown ought to have dou­bled the half-time ad­van­tage, but his good header from David Cot­ter­ill’s cross was well saved by Dar­ren Ran­dolph.

Re­gard­less, Birm­ing­ham were poor enough in the first half that Rovers could rea­son­ably ex­pect to go on to record their first win over the Blues in 60 years. But they failed to con­sol­i­date their ad­van- tage af­ter the break, pre­sent­ing Ran­dolph with only one no­table save to make – a Lu­cas Neill header – be­fore col­laps­ing al­to­gether.

Rovers left-back James Hus­band must shoul­der the blame for City’s first, giv­ing the ball away to Macheda in a dan­ger­ous po­si­tion be­fore the Ital­ian found Sam Johnstone’s bot­tom cor­ner.

Lee Novak will claim Birm­ing­ham’s sec­ond af­ter rac­ing onto a through ball and squeez­ing an ag­o­nis­ingly slow shot past Johnstone, but it was Quinn who had the fi­nal touch as he des­per­ately tried to clear off the line.

Still Donny failed to rep­sond and Macheda put the re­sult be­yond doubt 12 min­utes from time, steer­ing Tom Thorpe’s header into the six yard box into the top cor­ner from Paul Robin­son’s set piece. Rovers sub­sti­tute Theo Robin­son should have made the score­line re­spectable in in­jury time, but in­ex­pli­ca­bly fired his shot straight at Ran­dolph from point-blank range.

Don­caster boss Paul Dickov said:“I think you have to say it was a self-in­flicted de­feat.We came in at half time 1-0 up with­out re­ally play­ing as well as we have done re­cently.

“If you’re go­ing to give away goals like we did through in­di­vid­ual er­rors you’re go­ing to strug­gle to win games at any level, never mind in the Cham­pi­onship.

“All three goals, from our point of view, are dis­ap­point­ing, be­cause de­fen­sively we’ve been re­ally sound re­cently and it was in­di­vid­ual er­rors that cost us.

“We know from re­cent form that we’re a good team, and es­pe­cially at home, and we need to get back to that as quick as we can.

“We’ve got six mas­sive games left and we’re still sit­ting in a de­cent po­si­tion at the minute. It could be a lot worse.”

PIC­TURE: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

THREE AND EASY: Fed­erico Macheda, left, cel­e­brates the Blues’ third goal

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