Zola still win­less as Jerome de­liv­ers

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Blair Fer­gu­son

TWO first-half goals from Cameron Jerome and Timm Klose gave Nor­wich their first back-to-back vic­to­ries since the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber, while Birm­ing­ham were con­demned to their ninth game with­out a win.

Jerome’s fine solo run and fin­ish opened the scor­ing in the 15th minute and Klose added the sec­ond two min­utes be­fore the break, giv­ing the Ca­naries con­trol go­ing into the sec­ond half af­ter a promis­ing start from Birm­ing­ham.

Nor­wich boss Alex Neil went into the fix­ture ex­pect­ing an open game, and ex­plained the de­ci­sion to match Birm­ing­ham’s style of play was partly made with the ex­pec­ta­tions of the fans in mind.

“We spoke about how it was go­ing to be an open, of­fen­sive match for both teams, and the first half could have fin­ished three each or 4-3 be­cause there were quite a few chances,” he said.

“Be­cause you know they’re go­ing to pass it and make the pitch ex­pan­sive, you’ve got two cour­ses of ac­tion. You ei­ther try and stop it and get up against them, or you sit in your shape and sur­ren­der the ball.

“I don’t think the fans, or me as the man­ager, would like to see the team play that way, es­pe­cially as the home team. There’s an ex­pectancy about how we’d like to play and an ex­pectancy about the fans com­ing to watch the team and what they want to see.”

Birm­ing­ham started the game con­fi­dently, and the cul­mi­na­tion of their slick early play saw Lukas Jutkiewicz head against the bar af­ter be­ing picked out un­marked in the box in­side the 13th minute.

That miss was pun­ished two min­utes later by Jerome’s solo run at goal, with his touch in­side past Ryan Shot­ton mak­ing enough space for him to slot the ball into the far cor­ner.

Re­cent loan sign­ing Craig Gar­dener could have headed Birm­ing­ham level five min­utes later with Nor­wich fail­ing to pick up an at­tacker for a sec­ond time, but his ef­fort drifted over the bar.

The frail­ties that have seen Gian­franco Zola’s side go nine games with­out a win dur­ing his ten­ure were preva­lent near the end of the first half as Klose ghosted through the box to thun­der in a header un­chal­lenged, a goal which changed the dy­namic of the sec­ond half.

De­spite a promis­ing start for Birm­ing­ham it was mainly the home side who dom­i­nated the chances. Steven Nai­smith headed straight into the arms of To­masz Kuszczak in the 73rd minute, and the Birm­ing­ham keeper got down well to pre­vent Jerome’s late ef­fort from reach­ing the goal.

Zola is still with­out a win as Blues man­ager, and he puts the lat­est loss down to a first-half per­for­mance that saw his team cre­ate scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties buit fail to take them, and al­low Nor­wich chances in equal mea­sure.

“It’s an­other frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon, es­pe­cially with the way we started on the front foot,” he said.

“We had a great chance and we didn’t con­vert it and im­me­di­ately they went on to score.

“In the first half we did ev­ery­thing for us and for them, which is the dis­ap­point­ing bit. But I stay be­hind the play­ers, be­cause they are do­ing what­ever I tell them to do.

“Some­times they make mis­takes, but this is nor­mal – I make mis­takes. But I’m con­fi­dent that all to­gether we can come out of the dif­fi­cult mo­ment.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

KLOSE RUN THING: Nor­wich de­fender Timm Klose makes his mark at the other end with the Ca­naries’ sec­ond goal

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.