Birmingham City and Leeds United were both looking to get into the winner’s column in the EFL Championship on Saturday, with both sides having drawn their respective opening games. Having recently become a minority shareholder in the club, Tom Brady was presented to the home faithful ahead of kick-off.
BIR: Ruddy, Laird, Sanderson, Long, Buchanan, Sunjic, Bielik, Bacuna, Anderson, Dembele, Hogan
LEE: Meslier, Ayling, Struijk, Cresswell, Byram, Ampadu, Shackleton, Gray, Poveda, James, Gelhardt
Tom Brady’s introduction was the most interesting action of the first half, as the two sides set about cancelling each other out from the get-go. Described by some online as ‘very nil-nil’, the first 45 minutes saw the ball glued to the centre of the pitch – with neither goalkeeper troubled and the shots stats firmly in the low numbers as both sides inevitably went into the interval goalless.
The game’s first real opportunity came just before the hour mark, as smart work by Siriki Dembele found Keshi Anderson – but his effort was deflected wide. Up at the other end, a last ditch block from Kevin Long denied Joe Gelhardt, after Dan James had broken with pace down the left hand side.
With the game looking to be drawing to a thankful end, the Blues looked as if they may have stolen the three points – as a Bacuna corner found an unmarked Long on the six-yard line, only for the defender to head it wide in the game’s biggest chance by far.
However, after a poor ninety minutes from both sides, Birmingham City were granted a lifeline as Dan James’ late challenge on Ethan Laird was adjudged to be worthy of a penalty by the referee, Tim Robinson. Lukas Jutkiewicz – who had only just been introduced as a substitute – made no mistake from the spot, as he smashed home to seal a 1-0 victory to the delight of the home crowd.
The defeat leaves Leeds United in the bottom half, with just a point from their opening two games and – a tough assignment to come on Friday night against West Brom. Birmingham City will travel to Bristol City on Saturday, looking to build on what was a dramatic ending to a fairly drab affair at St Andrews.