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Birmingham City 1-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 31st Mar 2018 17:14

Jota’s controversial 21st-minute penalty saw Birmingham City to a 1-0 victory over the Blues at St Andrew’s. Jacques Maghoma appeared to go to ground very easily when challenged by Cameron Carter-Vickers to win the spot-kick, while the Blues, who are now without a goal in four games, rarely looked like getting back on terms.

Town boss Mick McCarthy, who confirmed he'll be leaving the Blues at the end of the season on Thursday, named the same team which lost 1-0 away at Bristol City prior to the international break.

Bartosz Bialkowski was in goal with Carter-Vickers, skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster the back three and Jordan Spence and Jonas Knudsen the wing-backs.

Cole Skuse was in central midfield behind Callum Connolly and Grant Ward with Martyn Waghorn and Freddie Sears up front.

Mustapha Carayol was back among the subs after his groin problem, while Australian striker Ben Folami, 18, was also on the bench.

Birmingham made one change from the team which started against Hull City in their 3-0 win a fortnight ago with David Davis returning for the injured Craig Gardner.

Ex-Blues loan keeper David Stockdale started for the home side, while Midlanders’ skipper Michael Morrison is from Suffolk having been born in Bury St Edmunds.

Knudsen hooked away Maxime Colin’s second-minute knockback from a freekick from the edge of the six-yard box, then on three Jota shot well wide after Chambers had given the ball away.

Birmingham continued to present the greater threat and on 10 Lukas Jutkiewicz was fed in on goal on the left of the box but Bialkowski forced him wide and then Carter-Vickers stabbed out for a corner.

From the resultant flag-kick taken by Jacques Maghoma, the ball was cleared to Davis on the edge of the box from where he volleyed powerfully wide.

Town, who had put themselves under pressure by needlessly giving the ball away in the early stages, didn’t threaten until the 15th minute when Ward sent over a deep cross from the right which found Knudsen.

The Dane, who picked up his third full cap earlier in the week, opted to try to play inside to Waghorn rather than shooting himself, which looked the better option, but was unable to find the Blues striker.

On 18 Sears almost profited from some defensive hesitancy by Morrison as a ball was played over the top but the home skipper recovered to slide the ball away from the Blues striker.

Town had begun to make some headway going forward but in the 21st minute they went behind via a debatable penalty.

Maghoma burst past Carter-Vickers on the Birmingham left and as the on-loan Tottenham defender sought to get back the DR Congo international appeared to throw himself to ground. Referee Roger East pointed straight to the spot.

After lengthy and vehement protests from the Town players, Jota stepped up and beat Bialkowski to his left. There had been contact between the players but Maghoma looked to have gone down almost wholly under his own steam.

Connolly’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked on 24 as the Blues looked to get back into the game.

Five minutes later, Bialkowski reacted superbly to save Che Adams’s shot which had taken a deflection with his foot as Birmingham continued to create most of the game’s few chances.

On 37 Maghoma’s corner from the left looped beyond Bialkowski, who was being blocked off by a number of home players, and Morrison nodded wide as the ball bounced up to him.

Town failed to make much of a freekick from a promising position outside the area to the right moments before the half moved into one minute of uneventful injury time.

Despite the contentious nature of the penalty, the home side deserved their lead at the break having most of the few opportunities during what had been a scruffy half.

Town had never really looked like scoring, Knudsen choosing not to shoot when having the clearest opportunity.

Five minutes after the restart Spence headed wide from a Knudsen cross, then three minutes later the ex-West Ham man looped another header from a left-wing cross over. Moments later, Bersant Celina replaced Ward.

On 57 Sears was sent away on the right but his shot from the edge of the box was diverted behind. From the corner, Knudsen blazed deep into the stand behind the goal after the ball had been cleared out to him.

Birmingham defender Harlee Dean picked up the game’s first booking for knocking Bialkowski over as he looked to clear quickly following a corner.

The Blues continued to show a little more attacking endeavour than they had in the first half with Spence seeing an effort blocked after Celina had fed him having been crowded out.

At the other end, Adams was sent away on the left of the box by Maghoma but scuffed tamely wide as Bialkowski advanced off his line.

The game was starting to open up and in the 63rd minute the Blues weren’t too far away from an equaliser. Celina’s clever pass found Waghorn on the left of the box from where the former Rangers man unleashed a shot which Stockdale could only palm away, fortunately for him over Connolly at the far post.

At the other end Jota smashed a shot into the stanchion, before Skuse was booked for a foul on Jutkiewicz. On 71 Luke Hyam took over from Connolly.

Birmingham were looking the more likely scorers of the game’s second goal as it moved into its final quarter of an hour, Bialkowski tipping Jutkiewicz’s header from Jota’s corner from the right over the bar. A minute later, aft Carayol took over from Sears.

Carayol immediately made an impact, crossing for Hyam but just behind the midfielder who could only turn the ball against a defender, off himself and then behind.

On 80, after Davis had been booked for dissent, Cheikh Ndoye replaced Maikel Kieftenbeld for the home side. Six minutes later Josh Dacres-Cogley took over from Jutkiewicz.

Webster was booked for a foul on Maghoma in the penultimate minute with the Blues continuing to push for an equaliser, albeit unconvincingly. Just prior to the fourth official indicating four additional minutes, Maghoma was swapped for Jason Lowe.

Keeper Bialkowski came up for a late, late corner which came to nothing and seconds later referee East ended the game.

While Town were a slightly improved attacking prospect after the break, they still rarely looked like getting anything from the match and it was little surprise that they were unable to find the net for a fourth successive game with their most recent goals at Sheffield Wednesday on March 6th.

The Blues’ best chance was of ending that wait for a goal was Waghorn’s strike which Stockdale saved, but other than that it’s difficult to recall many other clear-cut opportunities.

Town battled away gamely as they always have under McCarthy, and there was no sign of tools being downed after this week's announcement of the manager's exit, but as so often quality didn't match their endeavour, certainly not in the final third.

The result moves Birmingham out of the bottom three, while Town, whose season has effectively been over a for a few weeks, are 13th following the weekend fixtures with Millwall at Portman Road on Monday.

Birmingham: Stockdale, Harding, Morrison (c), Dean, Colin, Jota, Kieftenbeld (Ndoye 80), Maghoma (Lowe 90), Davis, Jutkiewicz (Dacres-Cogley 86), Adams. Unused: Kuszczak, Roberts, Bailey, Boga.

Town: Bialkowski, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Webster, Spence, Skuse, Ward (Celina 55), Connolly (Hyam 71), Knudsen, Waghorn Sears (Carayol 76). Unused: M Crowe, Hyam, Gleeson, Kenlock, Folami. Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Att: 20,555 (Town: 769).

Photo: Action Images

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Umros added 17:16 - Mar 31
Inept rubbish. Simple.

thechangingman added 17:16 - Mar 31
I feel so positive about this week's news and the way forward that I am not really bothered about any results between now and the end of the season.
Bring on the next stage of our journey. COYB!!

RobITFC added 17:16 - Mar 31
It doesn't get any better , poor Birmingham team and we hardly have a shot on target let alone score... 4 blanks on the trot say's it all.

yungblue added 17:18 - Mar 31
A dull dull affair at St. Andrews, truly lacking quality from both sides. Birmingham certainly edged the first in fairness to them.

A dour start Mick's farewell, a team that has sunk into the exact mold of a typical 'Mick McCarthy' team, cannot wait for a fresh lease of life next season.

Mowbray and Cook certainly leading my hopes, with outsiders at Warburton and Steijn.

Big big decision for Evans next, quite possibly his biggest throughout his tenure...

ElginCityBlue added 17:18 - Mar 31
Shot shy and inept. Roll on next season!

dirtydingusmagee added 17:18 - Mar 31
and there we have it , that underlined exactly why us numb skulls want McCarthy out.What a f#cking shambles . Kick his a#se out NOW.

vanmunt added 17:21 - Mar 31
Careful what you wish for..

jas0999 added 17:23 - Mar 31
For the first time in a long while I didn't bother listening or checking the scores. I simply have no interest.

This past week should have been a good one for the club. First they reduced ST prices. Great. Yet they somehow managed to make a positive a negative by failing to confirm the future of MM at the same time. Then, the correct announcement that Mick was leaving was made. Great. Yet for some bizarre reason he will stay until the end of the season. Why? He has no interest. The fans have no interest and I suspect the players have little interest.

It would be in the interests of everyone that he leaves now. Pay him until the end of the season, but put someone else in charge. Try some youngsters. Drop the loans and folk that won't be here next season, including the manager.

These last seven games could be a real problem. We will continue to play dull negative football under MM. It could significantly impact those thinking of buying a ST now MM is going.

The club continues to falter and stagnate. Evans needs to get a grip.

Poor result today. Disappointing.

martin587 added 17:23 - Mar 31
Tipicle end of season game with nothing to play for.We huffed and puffed and offered very little up front.
Enough said.Not much to talk about on the way home apart from the fact that MM should have left last Thursday.

surgery added 17:25 - Mar 31
Mr “ I am the greatest” Us Suffolk numb skulls are not worthy of your talents Are there any more like you out there?

ChrisFelix added 17:27 - Mar 31
Yet another predictable game & result.
I wonder where the next goal let alone win will come

NoelTheDub added 17:28 - Mar 31
He will do everything to annoy us fans till the end.How on gods earth was there not several changes today because its all about himself stubborn till I die. The decision to leave him to the end of season is a big mistake please get him out NOW..

chevvymalc added 17:29 - Mar 31
All those Careful what you wish for numbskulls must be happy with the current DROSS!!!!

therein61 added 17:33 - Mar 31
67 minutes to get a shot on target subbed everyone around the premiership class no/8 thank god he is going!!!!! totally abject Mick inspired performance.

grumpyoldman added 17:33 - Mar 31
My wife said “did they lose?”, my reply “it's Saturday isn't it, why should this Saturday be any different to any other?”

vanmunt added 17:35 - Mar 31
It was sarcasm by the way.. can't think of a more pointless end to a season, at least we have England to watch in the World Cup 😩

Leeco84 added 17:35 - Mar 31
Roll on next season

JimmyP45 added 17:37 - Mar 31
Probably the easiest 3 points Birmingham will pick up this season. We never ever looked like scoring.

bostonusablue added 17:41 - Mar 31
McCarthy should leave now so the new manager has time to settle.

blue75 added 17:43 - Mar 31
1 down 7 to go.

terryf added 17:43 - Mar 31
I did it my way...what an insult to Sir Bobby.
I've not changed....and that's the problem Mick...we needed to evolve over the past 5 years, not stand still.
McCarthy's only interested in his own street cred rather than the future of ITFC....why not try out some of the youngters rather than the same old formula which clearly is flawed.
Please just go now.

Seasider added 17:45 - Mar 31
A lucky penalty,perhaps;but we still lost !

Ipswich never gets a pen because they never venture into the box enough !

When I saw the line up I thought same old,same old;and boy we were not disappointed.
No changes made,no youngsters used.Only the attacking Carayol and Celina brought on later in the game;after Luke Hyam had replaced Connelly to keep the 5 at the back.

Mick McCarthy has clearly lost any motivation he may have had for Ipswich;but it remains very strong to do the best for himself naturally,hence the safety first line up in the hope that it will improve his CV

He will never change now so it is best for the club,if he goes now>Surely this would do no harm to Mr Evans pocket which must be Marcus' main motivation,as anybody in charge for the next 7 games would be better than a Manager who is 'demob happy' ?

Quite how the match and atmosphere will pan out on Monday is anybodys guess if the status quo remains.

Bluetone added 17:46 - Mar 31
More often than not I think McCarthy picks a team that is lucky to come second in many games

TimmyH added 17:46 - Mar 31
Blankety blank blankety blank blankety blank!...super match game super match game!...oh forget there are no super matches under Mick McCarthy.

Bored with this season I'm not even going to talk about the game other than the shameless exclusion of the youngsters Mick said would get a chance...MM should have gone in January and then we might have have had a chance of getting the Cowley Bros. or even Monk, for me now it has to be somebody with Ipswich roots.

cornishblu added 17:46 - Mar 31
....just had a horrible thought ...please don't let it be shallowdice for Manager post his sacking from Everton ....that would be equally unbearable

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