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Home comfort on opening day

20 June 2013

A look back at Blues' recent opening day fixtures, with the last 11 all being played at home.

Blues will be at home for the 11th time in a row when they take on Plymouth Argyle in the opening game of the new season on 3rd August.

The last time Blues hit the road on the opening day was way back in 2002/03 when we travelled to Hull City. Hull took an early lead through Stuart Green, before Neil Jenkins levelled the scored on the hour. Soon later, Hull’s goalscoring midfielder, Stuart Elliot, gave the Tigers the advantage. However, Ian Ashbee was sent off with five minutes remaining to make the hosts nervous. They looked to be hanging on for the win, only for Tesfaye Bramble to net in the final minute as the game ended all square.

Blues: Flahavan, Cort, Searle, Broad (Thurgood, 80) Whelan, Selley, Maher, Clark (Bramble, 73) Jenkins, Rawle, Jones
Unused: Gay, Beard, Belgrave

The 2003/04 campaign saw Blues begin with a 2-0 win against Cheltenham Town at Roots Hall. Mark Gower’s double downed the Robins, netting in the 33rd minute before slotting in a 90th minute penalty.

Blues: Emberson, Jupp. Warren, Cort, Odunsi, McSweeney, Maher, Gower, Husbands (Bramble, 85), Broughton, Corbett
Unused: Robinson, Williams, Clark, Kightly

The following season saw the two sides meet on the opening day again. This time, Cheltenham finished winners 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from John Melligan and then Kayode Odejayi.

Blues: Griemlink, Jupp, Prior, Edwards, Hunt, Pettefer (Bramble, 59), Maher, Gower, Nicolau, Gray, Dudfield (Husbands, 66)
Unused: Flahavan, Wilson, Barrett

The beginning of 2005/06 saw Blues begin at home again. This time, Port Vale came to Essex and left with the three points. Nathan Lowndes gave Vale the lead in the 12th minute before doubling his side’s advantage mid-way through the first half. Wayne Gray pulled one back for Blues in the 72nd minute but the hosts couldn’t find an equaliser.

Blues: Flahavan, Barrett, Jupp, Prior (Hunt, 75), Wilson, Bentley, Cole (Lawson, 83), Guttridge (Gower, 60), Maher, Eastwood, Gray

The start of the next season saw Blues at home again. This time, Stoke City came to Roots Hall. A solitary Freddy Eastwood goal in the 16th minute won the game for the hosts in our Championship encounter.

Blues: Flahavan, Francis, Prior, Barrett, Hammell, Campbell-Ryce (Paynter, 71), Maher, Guttridge (Clarke, 89), Gower (Hunt, 86), Bradbury, Eastwood
Unused: Collis, Lawson

After returning to League 1, 2007/08 saw us begin with another home tie, this time against Leyton Orient. After an early Mark Gower goal, Orient battled back. Sean Thornton equalised in the 38th minute and then Adam Boyd won the game for the Londoners, netting with just four minutes remaining.

Blues: Flahavan, Barrett, Clarke, Gilbert, Wilson, Maher, Gower (Black, 84), Campbell-Ryce, McCormack, Hooper (Bailey, 61), Harrold (MacDonald, 89)
Unused: Collis, Richards

Peter Clarke scored with 15 minutes remaining as Blues earned an excellent win against Peterborough United at the start of the 2008/09 season. Peterborough would later go on to win automatic promotion to the Championship that season.

Blues: Mildenhall, Francis, Clarke, Barrett, Harding, Scannell (Betsy, 71), Bailey, Moussa, Walker (Grant, 83), Furlong (Revell, 88), Barnard
Unused: Sankofa, Joyce

The 2009/10 season saw Huddersfield Town come to Roots Hall. The visitors came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 after a Lee Barnard penalty, and a Franck Moussa strike had given Blues the advantage. Lee Clark’s side pulled one back through Anthony Pilkington in the 71st minute before Jordan Rhodes levelled things up ten minutes from time. The Terriers also had Michael Collins sent off late on.

Blues: Mildenhall, Francis, Heath, Barrett, White, Grant, Christophe (Betsy, 87) McCormack, Moussa, Barnard (Freedman, 83), Laurent (Walker, 23)
Unused: Mvoto, Joyce, Revell, Herd

The beginning of the 2010/11 campaign took Stockport County to Roots Hall as we embarked on League 2.  Substitute Blair Sturrock grabbed a late equaliser for Blues in the 95th minute. This was after George Donnelly looked to have won the game for the Hatters when he netted with just seven minutes remaining.

Blues: Morris, Prosser, Clohessy, Barker, Phillips, Soares (Paterson, 89), Grant, Easton, Simpson (Zaaboub, 71), Corr, Spencer (Sturrock, 72)
Unused: Crawford, Evans, Herd, Coughlan

2011/12 saw us play host to Hereford United. Blues ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a goal from Bilel Mohsni. The Blues man headed in a cross from Ryan Hall to win the points.

Blues: Morris, Clohessy, Phillips, Prosser, Barker, Hall, Grant (Ferdinand, 90), Johnson (Sawyer, 77), Kalala, Mohsni (Dickinson, 90), Harris
Unused: Bentley, Crawford

Last season saw Blues open the season against Accrington Stanley, losing 1-0 to the Lancastrians, Reading loanee Karl Sheppard netting just after the hour mark.

Blues: Belford, Clohessy, Phillips, Prosser, Leonard (Harris, 77), Barker, Hall, Timlin, Ferdinand (Spicer, 73), Assombalonga (Cresswell, 72), Tomlin
Unused: Bentley, Straker, Hurst, Spicer, Benyon

Following four wins, two draws and four defeats, Blues will be looking to make it five wins when Plymouth come to town on August 3rd.

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