Almost as soon as the statistic hit social media sometime on Wednesday, it was greeted with a sense of foreboding.
“QPR have gone 17 away league games without a win (D5 L12). Their last away league win was 4-1 at #Birmingham on Feb 18. #qprfc Travel to #bcfc this weekend.”
The Law of Sod applies nowhere quite as much as it applies in Small Heath.
And so it came to pass. Blues 1 QPR 2 and a place at the foot of the table.
Most thought Matt Smith would be tormentor-in-chief.
The 6ft 6ins Birmingham-born striker has a reputation for doing it against his hometown club. Against the club his father Ian represented briefly in the 1970s.
Smith has four goals and two assists in six previous league appearances against Blues, including a memorable performance on this ground as a Leeds player in April 2014.
He also headed the first in that portentous 4-1 rout mentioned above and for good reason was the prime candidate to cause deepen Blues’ woes this time.
However, Birmingham dealt with the 28-year-old comfortably, certainly well enough for Ian Holloway to give him the hook with a quarter of an hour still to go.
Instead the unlikeliest downfall architect of all turned out to be Jack Robinson. A 5ft 11ins defender without a senior goal to his name.
A 24-year-old former protege whose career trajectory has been hampered by injuries.
Having come through the system at Liverpool he became the Reds’ youngest ever debutant when in 2010 he played the final two minutes of a Premier League game at 16 years and 250 days.
Since then he’s gone from Anfield starlet, to going where he can to find first team football. Wolves, Huddersfield, Blackpool and QPR.
The eight seasons since have brought 114 professional appearances – but not a single goal.
And if his first lowish on the Scale of Expectancy, a centre back nodding in a set-piece is hardly unheard of, the second was off the other end.
Six minutes to go, 25 yards out he drilled Luke Freeman’s pass unerringly into the left corner of David Stockdale’s net.
When the ball first reached Robinson the temptation was to feel a sense of relief that Jonathan Grounds had forced the dangerous Freeman to pass backwards.
That feeling quickly turned to disbelief.
Perhaps the away fans might think given the fact Conor Washington missed a good chance in the first half, and Robinson missed a relative sitter in the second, it was what they deserved.
But Blues did really well to drag themselves back into the game and at the tine looked the more likely winners, so they can be forgiven for feeling this was just another thing that has gone against them.
Which leads us to another stat.
For the last eight seasons the team that has been bottom of the Championship at Christmas has been relegated.
Not since Doncaster went on a miraculous run at the start of 2009, when they won 13 games and finished 14th, has a team extricated itself from their perilous festive position.
Hopefully Blues can do something at Sunderland next week to make sure they don’t have go into this Christmas needing to repeat that miracle.
Source : BirminghamMail