Friendly: Northampton Town 2 Blues 2
Cameron Jerome scored another goal to be filed under ‘unstoppable’ in the picture book.
Reminiscent of his Anfield wonder strike from last season, he again produced something from nothing.
There appeared not much on when the ball popped up towards Jerome in the 50th minute after a move broke down.
But he sensed there was: he steadied himself, waited for it to drop and then connected perfectly on the volley from 25 yards to send it rocketing into the top corner for Blues equaliser.
James McFadden then marked his return to starting action by plundering what should have been the winner (68), prodding Kevin Phillips's set-up strongly past the goalkeeper from 12 yards.
Blues had to come from behind after an Fraser Kerr let Northampton in for the opening goal (21). He was caught in possession by Billy McKay, who snapped away at his heels.
McKay advanced into the penalty area and despite the close attentions of Liam Ridgewell, he kept his balance and nerve to poke the ball beyond Maik Taylor.
The goal came 60 seconds after McFadden had almost given Blues the lead, from a free-kick on the right for a foul on Jerome.
McFadden connected sweetly with his left foot but the ball arched over the wall and thudded off Paul Walker’s upright.
The woodwork was Northampton’s saviour again at the end of the first-half when Jordon Mutch tried his luck with a speculative effort.
Picking up possession on the edge of the box, Mutch wasted no time in letting rip from a tight angle and the frame of the goal shuddered when the ball impacted on the crossbar.
Jerome was a lively presence running in behind and twice he went close, firing low and wide of the far post and then into Walker’s body.
Blues, who started with Kerr in central defence and Enric Valles at left-back, went close at the beginning of the second-half through Phillips, who just couldn’t steer Mutch’s pull-back into the top corner as he fell away.
But no matter as Jerome unleashed a fierce shot that flew into the roof of the net; unstoppable indeed.
Phillips headed smartly in (67) but the goal was ruled out as, despite his acrobatics, Lee Bowyer hooked the ball back to him from just over the byline.
A minute later, though, Blues cut through the Northampton defence from Ridgewell’s pass forward and McFadden finished smartly, rushing into the heart of the area.
That should have made it five wins out of five for Blues in pre-season but, in the 85th minute, clever play on the left by Michael Jacobs set up Liam Davis who forced the ball in at the far post.
Blues (4-4-2): Taylor, Carr, Valles, Bowyer, Kerr, Ridgewell, Mutch, Michel, Jerome, Phillips, McFadden (Murphy 73). Not used: Foster, Johnson, Larsson, Gardner, O’Connor, Ferguson, Dann, Fahey, Zigic, Parnaby.