Ipswich Town 0-1 Birmingham City - Half-Time
Saturday, 13th Apr 2019 16:01
Lukas Jutkiewicz’s seventh-minute goal has given Birmingham City a 1-0 lead over the Blues at Portman Road at half-time.
Boss Paul Lambert made four changes with Josh Emmanuel returning for James Bree, who was among the subs, at right-back with James Collins at the centre of the defence alongside skipper Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala among the subs.
In midfield, Flynn Downes and Trevoh Chalobah dropped to the bench with Cole Skuse back in his usual deeper role, while Gwion Edwards returned from a groin injury to take up his position on the right of the front three with Andre Dozzell returning to the central trio.
Birmingham made two changes from the team which drew 1-1 with Sheffield United in midweek with Kerim Mrabti and Jota taking over from Jacques Maghoma and Connor Mahoney.
The game couldn’t have got off to a worse start for the Blues with the visitors taking the lead in the seventh minute via the first serious attack of the game.
Maxime Colin brought the ball in from the right and cut across to Lukas Jutkiewicz, who slammed his third goal against the Blues this season into the roof of the net from a matter of feet. The former Burnley man won’t score an easier one this season.
The Midlanders threatened again three minutes later, Che Adams hitting a low shot through to Bartosz Bialkowski in the Town goal.
The visitors kept up the pressure and on 11 Adams hit a cross-shot from the right of the box which the sliding Jutkiewicz was just unable to reach.
Town had still to get going and on 15 Mrabti smashed a shot against Chambers following another dangerous Birmingham move down the right.
A minute later, the Blues struck their first shot of the afternoon, Myles Kenlock bringing the ball in from the left before hitting a right-footed shot over the bar.
But it was still mainly Birmingham and in the 22nd minute a loose ball ran to Jota on the edge of the box from where he struck a powerful shot which Bialkowski did well to save across to his right.
The visitors continued to dominate and went close again just before the half hour when Adams cut back to Jota from the left but the former Brentford man shot against Jutkiewicz. In the 31st minute Edwards was shown the game’s first yellow card for a foul.
On 37 Jutkiewicz hit a freekick well into the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, which was more than making itself heard despite the lack of anything to cheer on the pitch.
A minute later, Judge forced Lee Camp into his first save of the afternoon, the veteran keeper tipping over the Blues midfielder’s freekick from 30 yards out.
Collins was cautioned for a foul on Adams on 42, then Skuse picked up Town’s third yellow card of the half for a late challenge on Adams three minutes later, Gary Gardner curling the resultant freekick high and wide.
In injury time Chambers joined Skuse in the book for a foul on Adams as he broke towards the area. The Birmingham number nine took the freekick himself and shot low through to Bialkowski.
That was the last action of a half in which the Blues never got going following the early visitors’ goal. It was certainly Town’s poorest home 45 minutes for a while.
Birmingham had been well in control through and had had more than enough opportunities to increase their lead with Town’s only efforts Kenlock’s shot over the bar and Judge’s late freekick.
The Blues will have to be very much better in the second half if their 17-year stay in the Championship isn’t to end with a whimper.
Town: Bialkowski, Emmanuel, Chambers (c), Collins, Kenlock, Skuse, Dozzell, Bishop, Judge, Edwards, Quaner. Subs: Gerken, Chalobah, Jackson, Downes, Nsiala, Bree, El Mizouni.
Birmingham: Camp, Colin, Dean, Morrison, Pedersen, Jota, G Gardner, Davis, Mrabti, Adams, Jutkiewicz. Subs: Trueman, Harding, Roberts, C Gardner, Maghoma, Mahoney, Vassell Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).
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