On Sunday afternoon, Blues played rivals Wolves to a goalless draw at Molineux. It was a first half of no serious mistakes and both teams sort of poking and prodding, seeing if anything would happen. Nothing did, and that led to a breakneck second half where, somehow, someway, there were no goals to scored.
Both teams had chances in the final 45, with Blues arguably having the better opportunities. As time ticked down, they really pushed and threw everything they had at the Wolves goal but time and again were not able to find a finishing touch. Clayton Donaldson had a number of low crosses either get broken up by defenders or go wide. He was that much off the whole day, unable to put Blues on the scoreboard. He also was taken down with around a quarter of an hour to go, in what probably should have been a penalty:
A terrific move by Jon Toral in there, too.
Donaldson appeared to be dragged down by the arm but there was no call from the referee. When it’s not a blatantly clear penalty (and we have the aid of instant replay here) it leaves it up to a tough decision for the referee. In a goalless derby, I’m not surprised the ref would ‘swallow the whistle’ and choose not to call anything, afraid of deciding the game by calling a late penalty. That all said, it still should have been a penalty call, but such is how these things go.
Blues had their chances, including a point blank shot from David Davis late on, but were unable to capitalize. Davis, on Monday, received a new two-year deal from the team for his work. He’s a somewhat polarizing figure on Twitter, with some fans supporting him and some wanting nothing to do with him. Granted he’s not the best of midfielders, but he’s the kind of player that Blues need to have. He works hard, he is pretty talented, and based on his effort level on Sunday he plays hard for the team. Having a player like that singed up is more than fine. I believe it’s part of the philosophy that Gary Rowett has tried to implement. Fewer loans, more home grown players, create a tight-knit team. Davis fits into that mold.
Anyway, Blues had their chances and managed to not find the back of the net on Sunday. That was a blow to their playoff hopes, as they now reside 4 back of 6th place Sheffield Wednesday with a game in hand. Had they won, 2 back is a really tight margin. The playoffs seem to be slipping away, but teams around them also continue to drop points. Just take a look at this recent form:
The teams around Blues have 2 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws combined in their last 8 games. And there certainly aren’t any sterling runs of form here, either. Cardiff and Blues both have 4 wins in their last ten, all the other teams have 3. It’s looking like a taller and taller order for Blues to get back in this. Points will be dropped around them, but they’re going to need to start picking them up.
Next up are games against relegation battlers Fulham and club-in-crisis Charlton. Those are six points to be had and if Blues can’t get them, then it’ll certainly be time to start thinking about next year.