Blues produce solid display in return

Blues’ first game back in three months provided a solid defensive test, in the form of promotion candidates West Brom. Pep Clotet set up a resolute side to combat the hosts’ offensive threats, and it worked. The two solid banks of four left players like Matheus Pereira no room to manoeuvre and create any real clear cut chances.

The first half was tough for Blues, with the opening 15 minutes being all West Brom, Dean and Clarke-Salter had their hands full clearing a number of defensive corners. Blues stayed strong and kept the home side at bay, with their only half chance being a scuffed volley by midfielder Romain Sawyers.

It is arguable that Clotet’s side edged the second half, creating two good chances that Scott Hogan hit straight at Sam Johnstone, the best of which a free header from 12 yards. Pep utilised just two of his available five substitutions after naming a youthful bench, bringing Jeremie Bela and Caolan Boyd-Munce on to provide a new source of energy. But the changes didn’t change the scoreline, as Blues held on for a good point away from home.

Photos Courtesy: Roy Smiljanic / BCFC

Starting XI

Lee Camp

No real tests for the keeper after signing a new deal mid week. Dealt with set pieces relatively well and saved one scramble in his six yard box

6
Maxime Colin

Typical Max performance, kept Callum Robinson at bay for 60 minutes and was his usual self on the ball. Link up with Crowley was OK but not as good as we have seen it

7
Harlee Dean

Made some excellent defensive clearances in the first half and convincingly dealt with every corner. One or two strange decisions on the ball but defensively sound and will give Marc Roberts a tough time returning to the starting 11

7
Jake Clarke-Salter - Man of the Match

Back to the form he was in before the break. Won a few crucial tackles and as comfortable on the ball as ever. His calm nature on the ball settled Blues down in tough areas on multiple occasions

8
Wes Harding

A tough test to step into Kristian Pedersen's position, however he kept Phillips and Diangana quiet on his weaker side. A couple of wayward passes on the ball but otherwise a solid 90 minutes

7
Gary Gardner

Was quiet out wide and struggled to get himself involved in the game first half. When he moved into his more natural central position he was much more influential on both ends of the pitch

6
Maikel Kieftenbeld

Struggled to get into the game from the off. Didn't get on the ball anywhere near as much as he would like and lost Matheus Pereira a couple of times in midfield. Gets a point for whipping in a great cross that created our best chance of the game

6
Dan Crowley

Didn't look his usual, creative self in the first half and couldn't get himself in the game. Came out of the break looking much sharper and back to the Crowley we saw at the beginning of the season, linked well with Jude Bellingham on a couple of occasions

7
Jude Bellingham

A tough game to return to for the youngster, tried to get the ball down and play when he could but wasn't seeing the ball as much as he would like despite getting into good areas. However, his discipline and defensive support didn't go a miss.

6
Lukas Jutkiewicz

Didn't get much service but got bossed by Ajayi and Hegazi who were excellent in the air, a couple of good moments where he held the ball well but other than that a quiet game from the top scorer

5
Scott Hogan

After a poor first half he started to get back to the form he was in before the lockdown, linked play well and was the only player to test the West Brom goal, should maybe have done better with his header late on

6

Substitutes

Jeremie Bela
Quiet. Didn't get chance to play his game and run at the full back
5
Caolan Boyde-Munce
Provided good defensive support for Harding
6

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