10-Man Blues held to point in South Wales

Birmingham travelled to South Wales to face an in-form Swansea side.

Birmingham travelled to South Wales to face an in-form Swansea side. Graham Potter’s side, unbeaten in six, came into the game on the back of a 4-1 win at home to Gillingham in the Fourth Round of the Fa cup. Meanwhile Blues were looking for their first win since the Boxing Day victory over Stoke at St Andrews.

Garry Monk made one change to the side that was defeated at Carrow Road last time out with Craig Gardner replacing his brother Gary Gardner in central midfield.

The home side, on their best run of the season, started the brighter of the two sides. Grimes’ teasing corner flashed right across goal and was inches away from McBurnie connecting with it. The Swans were dominating the game and almost scored after Camp’s error. The Birmingham city keeper flapped at Grimes’ corner and the ball fell to the feet of Fer in the penalty area. However, the Dutch international’s cheeky back-heel attempt was saved by Camp and scrambled away. That was to be the Swansea Captains last contribution to the game as he limped off to be replaced by Fulton.

The first 20 minutes were all one way and Swansea deservedly took the lead in the 22nd minute. James played a lovely one-two with McBurnie and his shot from inside the area went straight through Lee Camp and into the back of the net. Camp, who hadn’t started the game particularly well, should’ve done much better to save the Leeds target James’ effort.

Blues were trying extremely hard to get a foothold in the game and slowly began to string a few attacks together. Che Adams excellent hold up play resulted in Jota being slipped in down the right hand side. His cutback to Gardner was squared to Maghoma but his shot was wild and fizzed over the bar.

Garry Monks side have proved time and again this season that they will refuse to lie down and against the run of play drew level through Maghoma. Gardner, who was beginning to dictate play in the middle of the park, threaded the ball to Maghoma out wide. Maghoma drove into the box and fired a low driven shot past Mulder and into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

However, Blues were dealt a severe blow on the stroke of half time when Pedersen, already on a booking, went straight through McBurnie and received a second yellow and his marching orders. It was a really silly challenge by the Dane and meant that Blues would have to see out the rest of the game with 10 men.

Swansea almost regained the lead moments later but Grimes’ free kick was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Camp. It was a great strike by Grimes but Camp produced a fanatic save to make sure that both sides headed into the break on level terms.

Half Time: Swansea City 1-1 Birmingham City

Blues made a change at the start of the second half with Harding coming on for Gardner. Harding went into right-back with Colin shuffling over to left-back. Kieftenbeld, Maghoma and Jota were the middle three with Adams and Jutkiewicz up top.

Just like the first half, Swansea started in the ascendency. The interplay between James and McBurnie was causing the Birmingham defence a number of problems and James’ dangerous cross was deflected into the hands of Camp.

It was Blues, however, who had the first real chance of the half. Maxim Colin, one of the best Full-backs in the division, expertly nipped in front of Dyer and won the ball back in his own half. The Frenchman drove into Swansea’s half and slipped the ball into the path of Adams. Adams drove towards the goal and saw his low shot deflected behind for a corner.

Lee Camp has had his number of critics this season, however, he produced a fantastic save again to deny Jay Fulton’s goal wards flick from nestling into the top corner from Grimes’ in-swinging free kick.

The 10 men of Birmingham were beginning to be put under considerable pressure by Swansea and they made the advantage count by taking the lead through McBurnie in the 65th minute. The Swansea talisman rose highest to send a looping header from Montero’s cross over Camp and into the net.

If Swansea had done their homework they would have realised that their opponents equalised 72 seconds after going behind in their last match away at Norwich. They obviously didn’t and for the second game running blues responded instantly. Jota won a free kick in the Swansea half and his deep ball was headed goalwards by Morrison. Mulder the Swansea goal keeper made a complete mess of it and knocked the ball onto Grimes and into the back of the net.

It was an incredible couple of minutes in the game and it got even better for Birmingham a few minutes later when Adams completed the comeback. Kieftenbeld slipped the ball into Adams on the edge of the area. It was then all about Adams. The deadly number 9 curled a delicious shot into the top corner to put Blues 3-2 up and to record his 15th goal of the season.

Swansea, who had controlled the vast majority of the game, found themselves behind for the first period of the game. Daniel James was having a great game and after some impressive wing play, squared the ball across the box towards Montero. The Ecuadorean was in a great position, however, he fired his shot over the bar and it was a real let off for Birmingham.

The home side were pressing ferociously for an equaliser and Fulton spurned a huge chance to score. James again the creator, drove towards the byline and drilled a low cross into the penalty area. The ball fell into the path of the on-rushing Fulton who saw his shot trickle agonisingly wide of the post. Montero then saw his rasping effort well saved by Camp.

Swansea kept on pressing for an equaliser and drew level in the 94th minute through McBurnie again. Montero’s deep cross was met by Van der Hoorn at the back post who knocked the ball down into the path of McBurnie who smashed the ball into the back of the net to draw the home side level and break travelling Blues’ fans hearts.

Full time: Swansea City 3-3 Birmingham City

10 man Blues were denied what would’ve been an incredible victory away at Swansea by a last gasp McBurnie equaliser. Garry Monk’s men battled fantastically well with 10 men to come away with a point against a good Swansea side. The result moves Birmingham onto 40 points and up to 11th, 6 points off the play offs. Blues next face Nottingham Forest at St Andrews on Saturday and will be hoping to get back to winning ways.

Birmingham City Line-up:

Camp, Colin, Morrison (C), Dean, Pedersen, Jota, C Gardner (Harding 45), Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (G Gardner 84), Adams, Jutkiewicz (Vassell 67).

Swansea City Line-up:

Mulder, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Carter-Vickers, Roberts (McKay 71), Fer (C) (Fulton 16), Grimes, Celina, Dyer (Montero 56),, McBurnie, James.

Attendance: 18,194

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