Ravel Morrison marked his final Blues appearance with a goal but it wasn’t enough to see off Blackburn Rovers in today’s season finale at St. Andrew’s.
The on-loan midfielder bagged his third goal of the campaign to fire the hosts in front just before the break but Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes rescued a point for his side midway through the second-half. Blues deserved better having played some terrific football at times but unfortunately couldn’t make their pressure count.
Blues made two changes with Chris Burke and Morgaro Gomis recalled to the side. Full-back Mitch Hancox missed out due to a hand injury and was replaced by Shane Ferguson, Nathan Redmond switched wings to the left to fill the void while Gomis was preferred to Hayden Mullins in the centre.
Lee Clark selected a very youthful bench with 17-year-old starlet Koby Arthur earning a spot in the 18, along with fellow teenager Callum Reilly and another academy product Akwasi Asante. Mid-season recruit Olly Lee was also amongst the subs for the first time.
Blues made a bright start and a fine passing move ended with a long-range effort from Gomis that flashed off target. Redmond also tried his luck from outside the area with a low drive which drifted harmlessly wide.
The visitors came more into the game and enjoyed plenty of possession without really troubling Jack Butland. At the other end Grzegorz Sandomierski had to quickly backtrack to grasp a 25-yard curler from Paul Caddis.
The on-loan right-back set Blues on the attack again when he did well to win the ball and tee up Burke. The winger’s far-post cross picked out Nikola Zigic but the big striker sent his shot just past the post.
Butland, making his final appearance for the club, had to be alert to take the ball off the toes of Jordan Rhodes as the Rovers hot-shot looked to round the Blues keeper after latching onto Caddis’ weak back-pass.
Zigic was clearly in the mood to impress, getting around the pitch and delighting the crowd with one particular 60-yard pass. Redmond also looked lively and he sprayed a delightful cross-field ball to Caddis who advanced into the penalty area but chose not to shoot and instead squared to Burke. The Scot’s shot was easily claimed by Sandomierski.
Blues’ dominance was finally rewarded three minutes before the break when Morrison picked up the ball on the edge of the area, took it on a few yards and unleashed a low shot that fizzed into the bottom corner.
Clark’s charges carried on where they left off when the play resumed after the interval with Redmond on the charge from the halfway line into the area but the 19-year-old saw his eventual shot blocked. Rovers were struggling to keep a rein on the electric winger but it was far from a one-man display with Blues playing some delightful football and passing the ball about with ease.
But just as it appeared that the home side were set to coast to a final-day victory, the visitors hit back and levelled against the run of play. Moments after hitting the bar with an inswinging free-kick, David Jones met a flicked-on long throw and although Butland was able to parry away the midfielder’s header, Rhodes followed up to head home the rebound.
Blues were forced into their first change with Gomis hobbling off with what looked like a hamstring strain to be replaced by Reilly. The out-of-contract Senegalese international put in a good combative display in what could be his last game for the club.
Reilly came closest to grabbing a winner with seven minutes left when Ferguson’s cross was laid off by Zigic and then Morrison to the substitute whose turn and shot was saved low down by Sandomierski. Blues continued to press in the dying stages of the match but just couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Blackburn backline.
In a rare late foray Robinson bravely threw himself in the way of Cameron Stewart’s goalbound shot to make sure of the point, which leaves Blues in 12th place in the final npower Championship table.