- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, December 8th 2018
- St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium
James Crawley reports from St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium
Report: Birmingham City 0-1 Bristol City
Saturday, December 8th 2018
Famara Diédhiou’s fifth goal of the season was enough to sink Birmingham City 1-0 at a soggy St Andrew’s Stadium.
His second-half header left Lee Camp rooted to the spot in a game where City had long spells of possession.
They survived a late scare when Lukas Jutkiewicz threated to equalise but hit the post. However, City held on to record back-to-back away wins for the first time since August and in doing so ended the Blues’ unbeaten home record this season, as well as secure their first win on Birmingham's turf since 1993.
The 1-0 scoreline lifts City to 13th in the Sky Bet Championship.
Lee Johnson named an unchanged starting XI, opting for the same side which kicked-off last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to Millwall. It meant another start for Eros Pisano, with Tomas Kalas and Adam Webster’s partnership given another chance to bloom, with Diédhiou leading the line, supported by Andreas Weimann, Niclas Eliasson and Jamie Paterson.
City started brightly and looked encouraging with plenty of possession in the early moments, which almost told after just six minutes but Kalas’ fierce effort was cleared from the goalmouth.
Then came a strong run from Jacques Maghoma who went unchallenged en-route to the City penalty area, but when he did go down after cutting inside once in the box, the referee John Brooks was quick to dismiss the penalty call.
But the home side were kept quiet as the Robins looked to keep as much of the ball as possible, only a key pass to unlock the Birmingham backline was missing.
The match took a fiery turn when Lloyd Kelly appeared to give Maxime Colin a nudge off the pitch as they chased down a loose ball. It forced a strong reaction from the home support as City’s young left-back became the first to enter the referee’s notebook.
A moment of pressure followed as the hosts worked their way forward, winning a free kick after a challenge on Connor Mahoney. The Blues’ number seven took the resulting set piece which was headed onto the roof of the net, fortunately for the back-pedalling Niki Mäenpää.
There was more danger when Marlon Pack lost possession in midfield. Che Adams broke before picking out Jutkiewicz whose low effort was forced wide for a corner, from which Mäenpää was alert to Harlee Dean’s header.
But it was all pressure which City soaked up just as the heavy rain arrived in the West Midlands and Diédhiou would have the final chance of the first half when, unmarked, he lashed a shot high and wide.
Neither side could really get on top of the other after the break with chances wasted when Pack turned away from his marker but couldn’t keep his shot down, before Adam Webster’s header was easy pickings for Camp.
But it was substitute Callum O’Dowda, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, whose corner assisted the opener. His set piece was swung in and met by the towering head of Diédhiou, who celebrated with his teammates in front of the travelling 1,300 City supporters, just after the hour-mark.
Garry Monk’s side went close to a late goal of their own when Jutkiewicz’s header rattled the upright. He met Mahoney’s free kick only to see the ball bounce off the woodwork just eight yards from goal, leaving Mäenpää motionless, before City hooked the ball away.
Birmingham piled on the pressure late on and looked for another penalty when Adams tangled and fell in the City area but there was no booking or spot-kick awarded as the referee granted Johnson’s side a free kick instead.
And it was nail-biting time deep into stoppage time when a free kick on the edge of the area was rolled to Kristian Pederson. His low, fierce strike had the beating of the City wall but not Mäenpää who held the ball well.
Next for City is a return to Ashton Gate to host Norwich City in front of the Sky Sports cameras (Saturday, December 15th, 5.30pm KO).
- Michael Morrison, Maikel Kieftenbeld
- Diedhiou (63')
- Niclas Eliasson, Andreas Weimann