Saturday, 13 August 2011

Match Report:Birmingham 1 Coventry 0

Keith Fahey’s lone strike 18 minutes from time earned Birmingham their first win of the season.The Republic of Ireland smashed home substitute Adam Rooney’s low cross, just seconds after the striker had struck the post with a well-placed header.The goal also owed much to manager Chris Hughton’s own decision-making, as it came just three minutes after Rooney replaced Chris Wood up front.The Blues boss only made one change from last Saturday’s opening day defeat to Derby County, with Albion loanee Wood handed his first start for Blues at Rooney’s expense, and it paid off with his first win in charge.Hughton kept faith with the same 4-5-1 formation Blues started with at Pride Park.On the bench, new signing Jonathan Spector replaced Nathan Redmond while Scott Dann was named as a substitute for the second game running.Notable absences for Blues were Marlon King, Nikola Zigic and Cameron Jerome all still injured.For the visitors, former Blues favourite Gary McSheffrey made the starting line-up for Coventry and received a warm reception in appreciation for his four year stint at St Andrew’s from 2006 to 2010.Blues created a good chance just two minutes in, when Burke and Carr combined well down the right wing.Carr’s cross was tucked into Morgaro Gomis’ path by Wood and only a last ditch tackle prevented him opening the scoring from deep inside the box.At the other end, Blues had Curtis Davies to thank for heroically blocking Lukas Jutkiewicz’s effort, after the ball had fallen invitingly from Sammy Clingan’s right wing corner.Blues dominated the early possession but Jutkiewicz missed a golden opportunity with 19 minutes gone, firing wide of the left hand post.Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill then showed his agility to tip away Sammy Clingan’s well-struck long-range free-kick, which appeared to be creeping into the bottom right hand corner, half an hour in.McSheffrey was next to test Myhill from distance but the Wales international acrobatically turned the winger’s 30-yard effort behind for a corner five minutes before the break.Fahey won a corner in stoppage time when his own long-range effort was deflected wide by Clingan, but neither side could feel aggrieved by the blank score sheet at half time.But Blues improved after the break and Beausejour fired wide from Stephen Carr’s cross, five minutes after the re-start.Wood should have opened the scoring barely 90 seconds later, but could only Beausejour’s low left-wing cross over the bar from less than six yards out.Clingan did well to block Burke’s effort from Carr’s cutback and Gomis forced a corner, when his 25-yard drive was turned behind from distance by Murphy, as the home side increased the pressure.Wood then miscued Gomis’ cutback, albeit under pressure, with just over 25 minutes remaining, but McSheffrey fizzed a curling drive just over at the other end of the pitch.
With the game headed for a stalemate, Rooney replaced Wood and it worked almost immediately.Rooney headed Ridgewell’s deep cross against the post, but managed to turn the rebound into Fahey’s path for the opening goal 18 minutes from time.The Irishman then pulled a poor attempt well wide 12 minutes from time, as Blues pushed forward in a bid to rubber stamp victory.Steven Caldwell nodded Carr’s cross over the bat with 10 minutes remaining, after McSheffrey’s foul on the edge of the box.Blues suffered a late scare when Jutkiewicz headed over from a good position with two minutes left from Clingan’s corner, but they held on for a vital win.

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