Birmingham City beat Cambridge United last night but I think Cambridge fans may have enjoyed the game more than we Blues fans did. Their fans have good reason to be happy. Cambridge was promoted last season, won its first game back in the league last weekend and took the cup game to extra time. It was understandable that their fans applauded their efforts at the end of the game.
In other seasons getting knocked out of the League Cup would be no big deal. There are always upsets in cup matches: look at last night’s results. Last year Blues had to go to extra time to beat Plymouth, a League 2 side, in the first round. It took penalties to beat Yeovil but in the next round we beat Swansea, a Premier League side. Did that mean Birmingham had a better team than Swansea? Of course not; it was just an upset in the cup.
Last night the game felt important, both for the players and the fans. I could be projecting my own feelings onto everyone else but I think our confidence is fragile and could have been damaged by a loss last night. I wasn’t the only one to feel nervous after Cambridge equalised. Both teams had chances to score in the second half and if Cambridge had gone ahead I’m not sure that Birmingham could have come back. But Cambridge didn’t score again and we got the win.
By the end of the game I thought there were more positives than negatives: we scored 3 good goals, Doyle made some fine saves and there were some pleasing moves and nice touches. The price was right; as a senior season ticket holder it cost me £3. I hope the players will dwell on the positives too. Their confidence or lack of it could make a huge difference in the game against Brighton on Saturday.