Battling Blues beat limp Leeds

Birmingham City produced a determined, battling performance to defeat Leeds United 1-0 at St Andrews. Che Adams first half strike was enough to give Garry Monk’s side the three points and a much needed win.

Monk made one change to the side that lost 3-2 at West Brom last weekend with Kieftenbeld returning to the starting line up in place of David Davis.

First Half

It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides and they created the first opportunity of the match. A well worked piece of passing play involving Hernandez and Ayling sent Roberts through down the right hand side. His shot, however, was deflected wide.

Leeds really were in the ascendancy and, if it wasn’t for some brilliant Blues defending, could’ve been two goals up. First Pedersen produced a vital challenge to prevent Roberts from getting a shot away in the area. Then Dean was equally brilliant in stopping Alioski from cutting the ball back across the face of goal for the waiting Bamford.

What had been a slow start to proceedings suddenly exploded into life. Leeds should’ve taken the lead when Bamford flicked goalwards Ayling’s teasing cross. Fortunately for Blues, his deft effort flicked off the post and into the arms of Camp. Bamford knew he should’ve scored and he and Leeds were made to pay seconds later.

Blues stormed up the other end with Maghoma cutting inside and playing the ball into the path of Jutkewicz. The big striker elegantly allowed the ball to roll through his legs into the path of Adams who took a touch and bent a delicious dipping effort past Casilla and into the bottom corner. It was a sensational move by Blues and one which resulted in Adams bagging his 22nd league goal of the season.

The goal gave Blues a massive lift and they ended the half on the front foot. Adams, who was superb today, was giving Jansson nightmares and, after anticipating a poor piece of judgement by the Swedish defender, could’ve made it two. Adams drove towards the penalty area, cut onto his left foot but with pressure from the recovering Jansson was unable to get any power on his effort and the ball rolled into the hands of Casilla.

Half Time – Birmingham City 1-0 Leeds United

Blues started the second half exactly how they ended the first one: on the front foot. Adams brilliantly saw the run of Jutkewicz and played him in on goal. Jutkewicz drove towards goal and, although forced out wide by Cooper, forced Casilla into making a really good save down to his right to prevent “The Juke” from making it 2-0.

Patrick Bamford has had a good season for Leeds but he will want to forget today’s game in a hurry. After coming within inches of scoring in the first half, the Leeds number nine missed a sitter in the second. Dallas’ fantastic ball across the face of goal was somehow scooped over by Bamford. It was a chance that looked easier to score than miss and one Bamford will know he should’ve done better with.

Blues were getting a bit tired and, with Kieftenbeld stretchered off midway through the second half, Leeds began to turn the screw a little.

Bamford saw his header tipped over the bar by Camp and Leeds were beginning to camp around the Birmingham penalty area.

However, Blues, and in particular Adams, were causing Leeds massive problems and Adams could’ve added to his first half goal. Adams turned Phillips brilliantly but saw his curling effort saved by Casilla. The Spanish keeper then thwarted Adams again with a diving save after a quick blues free kick.

Leeds pushed and pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages, however, Blues held firm to grind out a deserved 1-0 win and a much needed 3 points.

Full Time – Birmingham City 1-0 Leeds United

Starting XI

Lee Camp

It was a fairly straightforward afternoon for the beloved Blues Number one. Camp produced a fantastic save to prevent Bamford’s header midway through the second half. Camp was confident and assured in his performance and both his distribution and his coming for crosses was superb.

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Maxime Colin

Colin again today highlighted exactly why he is one of the best full backs in the division. Calm and composed on the ball, Colin didn’t put a foot wrong today with a solid yet unspectacular performance. Colin dealt well with the lively Roberts all game and deputised well in midfield later on during the game.

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Harlee Dean

Dean was magnificent for Blues today. Defensively solid and tactically sound, Dean lead by example today and was vital in Blues limiting Leeds to only a few chances. Dean had the Leeds attack in his back pocket all game and looked back to his usual swashbuckling best.

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Michael Morrison

Like his fellow centre-back partner Dean, Morrison was back to his usual solid best this afternoon. Morrison’s experience and leadership was vital in helping Blues hold firm against Leeds attack in the second half. Morrison’s positioning and reading of the game was brilliant today and it was great to see Dean and Morrison back at their best.

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Kristian Pedersen - Man of the Match

I have been a big critic of Pedersen lately but wow he was absolutely phenomenal today. We know Pedersen is a tank of a full back and today he showed why. Pedersen produced some brilliant defensive tackles and interceptions that thwarted numerous Leeds attacks. The Dane was aerially superb as well today and his strength, determination and just down right passion was on full display today. Pedersen was fantastic today and long may it continue!

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Gary Gardner

Gary only played the first half coming off at Half Time with what can only be assumed as an injury he had picked up earlier on. That being said Gardner was neat and tidy in possession and his closing down of Leeds attackers was both timely and much needed. Gardner has cemented himself in the team and his performance today in just one half highlighted the importance of his role in the team.

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Maikel Kieftenbeld

I thought Dutch Mike was bang average today. He didn’t really get as stuck in as he normally does and he was overrun in midfield today. Sad to see him pick up an injury in the second half and one which we all hope isn’t as bad as it looked.

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Connor Mahoney

I love this guy. I think he’s brilliant and it’s refreshing to see such a direct and skilful winger. “C-Man” (let me have this one ;)) carried the ball well today and linked up well with the front two. Defensively Mahoney is all over the place and he knows that but today he tracked back well and can be pleased with his industrious performance.

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Jacques Maghoma

When looking at the starting line up for the game today I admit I did think that Maghoma was extremely fortunate to have kept his place after a few rubbish performances. However, after today’s performance I hope Mr Maghoma forgives me! The tricky winger was awesome today and played a key role in the only goal of the game manufacturing a chance for Adams out of absolutely nothing. Ayling couldn’t live with Maghoma at one point during the first half and it just makes you wonder why Maghoma can’t play like he did today week in week out!

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Lukas Jutkiewicz

I personally think “Juke” is the first name on the team sheet every week. I’m running out of things to say about him. Every single week he puts in 110% and it’s clear to see how much he loves to play for the Blues. Jutkewicz’s all-round hold up play was immense today and he was unlucky to not score in the second half. Jutkewicz again demonstrated why he is the most important player in the team and with the way Garry Monk plays.

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Che Adams

He’s back and back with a BANG! Adams was brilliant today and once again the match winner against Leeds with a delicious effort. Some say Che can make a table out of nothing and that can only be true with the fact that Adams was at his best today making chances out of absolutely nothing. Jansson is a good centre halve but he didn’t know where he was today after Adams had run him ragged all game. Our leading scorer highlighted why he should win the Championship Player of the year today, and on another day, could’ve walked off with the match ball.

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Substitutes

David Davis
It was better from Davis today much much better. He defended well, got on the ball a fair bit and showed signs that he was slowly getting back to normal. That being said Davis does need to use his brain a bit more if possible as he almost put us in danger a couple of times with some delusional passes!
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Wes Harding
Harding did his job and defended well. He coped well with the tricky customer Clarke and another run out will do him the world of good as he continues to improve every week.
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Jota
The Spaniard was on the pitch for less than 20 minutes and didn’t really do much. That being said he did win a header. That in itself is a pretty good achievement.
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Fans

Attendance: 24,197 – 2,781 Away Fans

Leeds Fans

Fair play to them. Travel in huge numbers and always make a good noise. That being said they really need to sing something different. Reminding us that they are Leeds and singing “Marching on Together” is the equivalent of every club playing Despacito last summer. It’s repetitive and really really boring.

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