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BLUES 0 SPORTING GIJON 0

LarssonBlues played out a reasonably entertaining 0-0 draw against Sporting Gijon in front of more than 10,000 fans at St. Andrew's on Saturday afternoon.

The ground was bathed in bright sunlight as Blues completed their final pre-season game of the season against the La Liga side.

Prior to kick off, the players and supporters took part in an enthusiastic minute's round of applause to celebrate the life of former England manager Sir Bobby Robson.

Alex McLeish gave former Lens and Liverpool full back Gregory Vignal his debut at left back and on show in midfield for Gijon was Blues target Miguel Michel.

McLeish opted to start with a 4-5-1 formation, with Cameron Jerome as the lone striker up front.

Despite it being a friendly fixture, there was certainly no ducking out of firm tackles in the opening stages of the game.

Lee BowyerTwice in the space of a matter of minutes Lee Bowyer was left writhing on the ground following firm challenges, but both times he was able to continue after treatment from the Blues physio.

It took until the 25th minute for the first chance of the game and it fell to Blues.

Stephen Carr's pass found Bowyer on the right. Bowyer ran on to the by-line before firing the ball across the front of the goal to Fahey at the far post.

The Irishman's powerful effort looked certain to be heading for the back of the net; only for Gijon keeper Ivan Cuellar to produce a world class save as be beat the ball away from the line.

Vignal picked up the loose ball, but was only able to blast it over the bar as he came under pressure.

gregoryVignalGijon's first chance failed to arrive until 35 minutes, but even then Joe Hart had Diego Castro's shot covered as it flew half a yard wide of the base of his post.

Half time: Blues 0 Sporting Gijon 0

Blues made just a solitary change at the break with Maik Taylor replacing Hart in goal.

Gijon meanwhile made no less than four changes to their side.

Within minutes of the restart Blues had a good opportunity to break the deadlock when Carr's ball over the top of the visiting defence found Bowyer free.

Bowyer ran on with the ball, but he shot straight at Cuellar with just the Gijon keeper to beat.

On 55 minutes McLeish made his second substitution of the afternoon with Garry O'Connor replacing Lee Bowyer.

ABarryfergusons a result Blues switched to a 4-4-2 formation with the Scot playing alongside Jerome.

On the hour mark, the visitors made another six changes to their team.

Kevin Phillips was then introduced in place of Jerome on 66 minutes.

Jose Angel gave Blues a scare as he blasted his 30 yard shot narrowly over Taylor's bar.

With pace of the game waning somewhat the crowd took the opportunity to start of several versions of the 'Mexican Wave'.

As full time approached Gary McSheffrey won Blues a corner and when the resultant deadball was fired in Roger Johnson met it with a firm header, but he was unable to keep it down as it went over the bar.

Then in the final minute O'Connor saw his shot forced away for a corner.

Overall despite the lack of goalmouth action, this match provided a decent workout for Blues who were well organised and looked defensively very sound against decent footballing opposition.

Full time: Blues 0 Sporting Gijon 0

GarryO'connorBlues: Joe Hart (Maik Taylor), Stephen Carr, Lee Bowyer (Garry O'Connor), Cameron Jerome (Kevin Phillips), Barry Ferguson, Roger Johnson, Sebastian Larsson (Gary McSheffrey), Keith Fahey, Franck Queudrue, Lee Carsley, Gregory Vignal.

Subs not used: Stuart Parnaby, Damien Johnson, Ashley Sammons.

Attendance: 10, 360

 

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