BLUES LOOK­ING OVER SHOUL­DER

Clark on half-time warpath

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

BIRM­ING­HAM boss Lee Clark has called on his se­nior play­ers to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for keep­ing the Blues up af­ter they slipped to within a point of the drop zone.

Matt Der­byshire’s sec­ond­minute goal proved the dif­fer­ence, with the vis­i­tors for­tu­nate not to go fur­ther be­hind be­fore launch­ing a sec­ond-half come­back.

Clark will be with­out sus­pended cap­tain Paul Robin­son for the next three matches af­ter a late book­ing and ad­mit­ted he had to spell out the sever­ity of his side’s per­for­mance at half-time against For­est.

“First-half we gave a re­ally poor goal away and didn’t seem to re­cover from it. We were re­ally flat, only four or five of my play­ers per­form­ing at their max,” he said.

“The sec­ond-half was much im­proved from ev­ery­body and we should have got some­thing from the game, as sim­ple as that.

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween the halves was ev­ery sin­gle player be­ing right at it, play­ing with the right ap­pli­ca­tion, on the front foot, not wait­ing for their team-mate to try and make some­thing hap­pen but do­ing it them­selves.

“I sat ev­ery­one down at the break, in­clud­ing the subs, to ex­plain the sever­ity of what was go­ing on. We had to quickly re­alise what was hap­pen­ing.

“We have to change the men­tal­ity of some. We’ve got some young play­ers who think it’s just enough to go out on the pitch.

“They don’t un­der­stand that first-team level is about one thing only: re­sults.

“The se­nior play­ers have to start tak­ing that re­spon­si­bil­ity. I’ve got lots of young­sters and lots of play­ers who have never played at this level be­fore.”

The game’s only goal came in the sec­ond minute. Jonathan Spec­tor gifted pos­ses­sion to Jamie Pater­son whose through ball was slid in at the near post by Der­byshire.

A dom­i­nant For­est should have gone fur­ther clear just af­ter the break when Pater­son went clean through on goal but Dar­ren Ran­dolph saved his shot. Clark threw on the at­tack­ing trio of Jordan Ibe, Fed­erico Macheda and Peter Lovenkrands and, with less than 15 min­utes re­main­ing, Chris Burke’s cross-shot nar­rowly missed the goal and Macheda at the back post.

Mo­ments later, For­est keeper Karl Dar­low made a ter­rific near post save from Robin­son’s header as a nervy home de­fence held on to move just three points off a play-off place.

Care­taker man­ager Gary Brazil was re­lieved that For­est ended their 13-match win­less run and while a play-off place re­mains un­likely he is not giv­ing up hope.

For­est sit ninth in the di­vi­sion, three points off the play-offs but with Read­ing and Ip­swich be­tween them and Brighton in sixth.

How­ever, Brazil be­lieves For­est may not need a great deal more points to ex­tend their sea­son.

“I said weeks ago that it might not take a mas­sive num­ber of points to get you into sixth place and it is prov­ing to be the case,” he said.

“If we can get a win at El­land Road, the last two games are go­ing to be very in­ter­est­ing.

“I am re­ally pleased for ev­ery­one at the club be­cause this has been a tough pe­riod. To get our­selves a win now gives us some mo­men­tum, but we have to carry that on now, on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

“It feels bet­ter in the chang­ing room for the play­ers - but this was one for the fans.

“I have been frus­trated with the home per­for­mances since I took over, but our in­ten­sity was good.

“We played some good foot­ball and should have been more than a goal up by half-time.

“The frus­tra­tion was that we did not make enough of the chances. We will go up to El­land Road and try to re­pro­duce that.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

WHAT A START: Not­ting­ham For­est's Matt Der­byshire cel­e­brates his early win­ner

BAT­TLE: Birm­ing­ham’s Paul Robin­son, left, and Shane Fer­gu­son with For­est’s Jamie Pater­son

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