Never too high, never too low
For those who can actually abide by the never too high, never too low way of thinking when it comes to our football club, I salute you.
The highs get us carried away and talking about which Premier League grounds we are most looking forward to attending next season, whilst the lows are a real sucker blow, with all these emotions heightened on social media.
As desirable and impressive as a play-off finish would be this season, finishing inside the top half 10 will be an extraordinary achievement.
Last season’s 12th-placed finish has certainly aided the rise of expectation levels for us, but it is clear to see that progress has been made from the 2020/21 campaign.
Still operating on one of the smallest budgets in the division, and completely switching things up in our summer recruitment, I expected this season to be a little more challenging than last time out.
We waved goodbye to some experienced professionals, whilst the void that Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall left was always going to be difficult to adapt to, however, the likes of Allan Campbell, Reece Burke, Henri Lansbury and Amari’i Bell have stepped up well, whilst Elijah Adebayo’s progression has been mightily impressive.
Yesterday, along with the Blues’ 5-0 thrashing of us near the start of the campaign, comes as one of the low points of the season.
It was a real sobering defeat after a run of accumulating 20 points in nine games.
In the same bracket as Stoke City and Cardiff City, Birmingham are one of them bogey teams that we continually struggle to conquer.
Lyle Taylor was also destined to find the back of the net yesterday afternoon, with the fortuitous nature of his 46th-minute strike summing up the kind of day it was.
Starting yesterday’s clash on the front foot, we severely restricted Birmingham to very little in the opening 20 minutes.
Our high and relentless press, coupled with the physicality of Elijah Adebayo helped us to really impose ourselves on a Birmingham defence that were unable to deal with our towering talisman.
However, that was as good as we gave all afternoon, with tennis ball-gate changing the entire complex of the game.
Given the strength and compact nature of our defence in recent weeks, the nature of which we conceded all three goals was thoroughly disappointing.
The first goal was easily preventable with James Shea chasing the ball inside the area, with Taylor finding himself with time and space to double his side’s advantage after a mix-up.
Birmingham’s third came when we were committing more men forward in an attempt to set up a nervy final 20 minutes, however, Onel Hernandez was presented with too much time to control and pick his spot.
As disappointing as yesterday was, and as frustrating games against Birmingham are proving to be, the fact that we remain in a race for the play-offs in the Championship is extraordinary.
When results like yesterday occur, I like to look at how bad things were during our Conference days, and nine years ago yesterday, we lost 1-0 to Dartford, amidst a seven-game fifth-tier winless run.
Ultimately, when momentum is building, defeats like yesterday hurt that little bit more, however, we still find ourselves on this upward trajectory, where we can be extremely proud of our continued progression.
Another route for positivity is the character and bouncebackability we have in the squad, meaning that when these results emerge, we have faith that things will be corrected next time out.