GAZ: ‘KEEP RIGHT ON THIS ROAD!’
GARY Rowett believes his side’s first half display at Craven Cottage was as good as he’s seen his team play during his time as Blues boss.
The Birmingham City manager saw his team extend their unbeaten league run to six matches despite falling behind to a welltaken early goal from Hugo Rodallega.
The goal appeared to have awoken the visitors and they were level within minutes when David Cotterill curled in a delightful free-kick from the corner of the area.
The Blues should have taken the lead on a number of occasions in the first half but Rowett was keen to focus on the positives of the performance and revealed he asked for more quality from his players before the match.
“As an attacking force that is as well as we’ve played,” admitted Rowett.
“We counter-attacked with real purpose, pace and quality and we’ve created five or six really good chances in the first half and should have been ahead going into half-time.
“We’re pleased to get the point but overall on the balance of play we should be coming away with all three today.
“I asked for more quality today because it’s been lacking in recent weeks and we did it today.
“We started slowly by conceding the first goal but we showed brilliant character and once Cotterrill got the equaliser we were the better side.
“Our aim now is just to keep on performing, keep on performing and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Rowett’s side had started slowly and were behind after four minutes when Hugo Rodallega latched onto Lasse Vigen Christensen’s threaded through ball to slot home his 11th goal of the season.
Having taken an early lead, Fulham were guilty of sitting off Rowett’s men and the visitors were soon level when David Cotterill curled a glorious free-kick past Marcus Bettinelli from the corner of the box after 14 minutes played.
The visitors were on top and should have been ahead before the break when Clayton Donald- son collected Stephen Gleeson’s exquisite ball over the top on his chest, only to scuff his effort wide.
Kit Symons’ men had lost their early vigour and should have been behind in the 40th minute when Cotterill’s low effort was saved by Bettinelli after Llyod Dyer’s cross from the left.
The Whites were far better after the restart and went close through Alexander Kacaniklic and Seko Fafana but couldn’t find the breakthrough.
With the match entering its final stages, Hugo Rodallega surely thought he had won it for the home side but saw his close- range effort blocked by a determined Randolph to ensure the match finished level.
The result leaves Fulham in 16th place and 15 points shy off the play-offs but manager Kit Symons is not giving up hope of a late push but admits they must cut out the mistakes in order to improve.
“With every dropped point it gets a bit further away from you but we can only aim to do as well as we can and keep on progressing,” said the frustrated Fulham boss.
“We are capable of going on a run but what we need to do is stamp out the silly mistakes and cheap giveaways to ensure we stay in games.
“That would allow us to nick the odd game 1-0 because it’s those sort of results that really can take you to the next level.
“Most of the chances for Birmingham today were due to our bad choices and bad decision making.
“Of course I want us to play well every week but that’s not always possible.
“So I need us to be able to grind out the sort of results when perhaps you haven’t entirely deserved it.”
HAMMER: Paul Robinson attempts a shot past Shaun Hutchinson, Nikolay Bodurov and Carlos Bettinelli
PRECISION: David Cotterill (right) celebrates