Birmingham City picked up just their second point on the road this season, and it turned out to be a very good point against a Sheffield United side who have performed very well at Bramall Lane this season. A first half Jeremie Boga strike put Blues ahead before Leon Clarke equalised for Sheffield United. Here are my player ratings from the game.
Stockdale – 7
David Stockdale made his long-awaited return to the Birmingham City starting line-up for the first time since the defeat at home to Preston earlier on this season. Blues looked a lot more assured with Stockdale in goal, who did what he had to do very well. He made one very good save in the first half from a shot from the edge of the area.
Roberts – 7
Playing on the right-hand side of the back 3 Marc Roberts performed very well. He looked solid alongside Morrison and Dean, and despite a couple of dodgy early clearances he defended very well. Hopefully this is a turning point for Roberts who’s had a very inconsistent start to his Birmingham City career.
Morrison – 7
It has been a difficult month for Blues captain Michael Morrison who has been dropped to allow a defensive partnership of Marc Roberts and Harlee Dean. He came back into the team for the late kick off against Sheffield United and performed well. He grew into the game and it was a typical solid Michael Morrison performance.
Dean – 8
Without doubt this was Harlee Dean’s best game as a Birmingham City player. He played on the left-hand side of the back three and looked solid throughout. As we have seen in previous games he has got a lot of confidence on the ball, and he is always willing to bring it out of defence. He put his body on the line for one incredible block in the first half.
Nsue – 6
Emilio Nsue was utilised on the right-hand side of a back 5 at Bramall Lane. It was a typical high energy performance, with a lot of defensive and attacking work. Going forward he was always an outlet but at times he needed to be a bit more aware with his defensive positioning. There were a few occasions where he was a bit slow in getting back to mark his man.
Grounds – 7
Yet another solid performance from Jonathan Grounds, who has this season been Blues’ most consistent defender. He got forward as best he could which is certainly an unnatural part of his game, and was impressive defensively. He grew into the game and had a very good second half where Blues were under the cosh.
Kieftenbeld – 7
There wasn’t as much quality from Dutch Mike in yesterday’s performance as there has been in previous weeks, but he was still crucial in the centre midfield for Blues. His energy is vitally important to the way Blues play and he was able to get around and constantly harry the Sheffield United midfielders.
N’Doye – 8
Another very good performance in the centre from Cheikh N’Doye, who seems to be getting better and better as each performance passes in a Birmingham City shirt. Sky Sports gave him man of the match due to his high amount of interceptions and clearances.
Boga – 8 – Man of the Match
It was a very close call for man of the match between Harlee Dean and Jeremie Boga, but Jeremie Boga just about edged if for me due to the big effect that he had on the game. He came back into the starting line-up for the first time under Steve Cotterill and he is sure to have made a big impression on the Blues manager. He took his goal fantastically well and everytime he got on the ball he was looking to cause problems for the Sheffield United defence.
Jota – 6
Jota hasn’t really lived up to expectation since his big money move from Brentford to Birmingham in the summer. He so far hasn’t managed to product the magic that he produced for Brentford in a Blues shirt. This was yet another game where he failed to have any big impact on the game, too many short passes went astray, and he just couldn’t really get going. Even for the Blues goal it came from a poor Jota corner that didn’t even beat the first man.
Jutkiewicz – 7
Lukas Jutkiewicz came back into the starting line up in place of the injured Che Adams. It was a very difficult afternoon for him coming up against 3 very good Sheffield United centre backs, he had to do a lot of selfless chasing to try and move Blues up the field. He did really well to win the corner that lead to the Blues goal, but should have been a bit less selfish with near the end of the first half.
Maghoma – 6
Had no real effect on the game when coming off the bench.
Adams – 6
Had one good run at the Sheffield United defence late on which very nearly opened up a chance for Blues.
Gallagher – N/A
Came on too late to have any real affect on the game.
Attendance: 27,427 – 2,239 Blues Fans
Sheffield United Fans – 7
It was a big attendance for a Sheffield United side who have done very well over the last few months since their return to the Championship. Their supporters got frustrated by the referee in the early stages of the second half but on the whole they created some good noise throughout.