Birmingham City suffered their heaviest defeat for almost three years as they were thrashed 4-1 by Middlesbrough on a miserable Saturday afternoon at St Andrew’s.
Whilst the Blues remain six points above the relegation-zone, the likes of Derby and Rotherham both have games in hand on them, which could make for an anxious start to 2021.
Initially, it all started well for Birmingham after Maxime Colin thumped Aitor Karanka’s men into a 15th-minute lead.
However, two goals in four first-half minutes from Britt Assombalonga and George Saville put Boro in front, who extended their lead following a moment to forget for goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who inexplicably allowed Lewis Wing’s corner to slip through his hands to make it 3-1.
There was still time for Wing to get in on the act, thumping home from long-range, although the Blues goalkeeper will feel he once again should have done far better.
Quiz: Have any of these 22 players ever been in Birmingham City’s academy?
Etheridge has been one of Birmingham’s stand-out players in what has so far been a frustrating campaign, although Saturday simply wasn’t his afternoon.
Here’s how the St Andrew’s faithful reacted to the shot-stopper’s rare off game against Boro:
Awful after we conceded. Etheridge had a shocker but has generally done well for us up until this point. Another poor performance though even with what I think is our best formation. Nothing up front and now leaking goals. Massive games coming up against Forest & derby
— Damian O (@Damian_BCFC) December 19, 2020
Nope, definitely not, Etheridge is at fault today. But that defence, Colin, Dean, Roberts, Pedersen, have been consistently shit for more than 12 months now. Before Etheridge arrived they were woeful. As soon as you put Friend in, we look 100% better. Tells you everything. #BCFC
— Gary J. Richards (@TheGJRichards) December 19, 2020
Etheridge haters let's party.
If he's not gonna play on the next games I'm fine with it.
— BCFC x NE1 Support (@TheUnknown71187) December 19, 2020
Etheridge needs to be dropped.
— Ethan McCarthy (@ethanmccarthy16) December 19, 2020
Feel for Etheridge there. Horrible mistake, but has been an absolute rock for us this season. #bcfc
— Connor (@cdbcfc_) December 19, 2020
And for all his wonderful shot stopping, there’s Etheridge’s Achilles. #bcfc
— Adrian Robson (@gleghorn) December 19, 2020
thought everyone said Etheridge is the best keeper in the league? #BCFC
— Ben Hancocks (@benjooo99) December 19, 2020
Oh dear etheridge what have you done there. #bcfc
— J.M (@JMbcfc_) December 19, 2020
If there's one player who has pulled his weight all season its Etheridge.
Bet some fans still turn on him… #bcfc
— Adam Hennessey (@9_Hendo) December 19, 2020