Friday 11th November 2022
Birmingham City (0) 1
Lukas Jutkiewicz 78
Sunderland (1) 2
Ellis Simms 25, Amad Diallo 49
John Ruddy, Maxime Colin (Lukas Jutkiewicz 59), Dion Sanderson, Auston Trusty, Juninho Bacuna, Krystian Bielik, Hannibal (Tahith Chong 59), Jobe Bellingham (George Hall 59), Emmanuel Longelo, Scott Hogan, Troy Deeney (Captain).
Unused subs - Neil Etheridge, George Friend, Jordan Graham.
Anthony Patterson, Trai Hume, Bailey Wright, Danny Batth, Niall Huggins, Corry Evans (captain), Dan Neil, Amad Diallo (Patrick Roberts 65), Alex Pritchard (Jay Matete 85), Jack Clarke, Ellis Simms (Elliott Embleton 85).
Unused subs - Alex Bass, Abdoullah Ba, Jewison Bennette, Zak Johnson.
With the fixtures racking up thick and fast, it proved to be a game too far for Blues, who could have moved up into the top six of the Championship tonight, if they had beaten Tony Mowbray's Sunderland side.
But the clues that this wasn't going to be Birmingham's night were first spotted, when Troy Deeney's header left Anthony Patterson grasping at fresh air, but cannoned back off of the crossbar.
Subsequently Amad Diallo recovered possession, after it looked as if he'd had been blocked just outside Blues penalty area, twisted and turned himself out of a tight spot and rolled the ball to his right where Ellis Simms had blindsided the hosts flat-footed defence and he had the time to pick his spot, drilling his shot across the face of John Ruddy's goal just inside the far post.
Just before half-time Sunderland were let off of the hook again, when Deeney threaded an exquisite pass into the path of the prolific Republic of Ireland strike Scott Hogan, but Patterson advanced quickly from his line and managed to thwart the opportunity for Blues to draw level.
Diallo, the architect of the visitors first goal, claimed one for himself four minutes after the restart, when once again he seemed to have been halted in his tracks, but deceptively found another gear and cut inside from right side of the Blues area and let fly with a peach of a left-footed shot that curled into the far side of the goal, turning the steep hill that John Eustace's side already had to climb into something that now resembled the north face of the Eiger.
But Birmingham City circa 2022-23 have a far more resilient look about them this term and they manfully set about the task of grafting their way back into the game, I'd swear blind that I even saw Patterson turn the kitchen sink around an upright as Blues threw everything they had at the Black Cats.
Arsenal loanee, defender Auston Trusty has weighed in with a number of goals of late and he almost halved the deficit as he broke free, but he planted his shot just over the bar.
In a bid to reorganise, Eustace made a triple substitution, which paid off when one of the trio of players he introduced: Lukas Jutkiewicz swept an Emmanuel Longelo cross into the right hand corner of the Black Cats net.
Trai Hume got a foot in to clear Dion Sanderson's shot off the line and Patterson recovered to claim the ball from the rebound. Blues continued to huff and puff but the visitors house just couldn't be blown down no matter how hard they tried, while Sunderland defended stoutly to see the game out, as Tony Mowbray ranted and raved about the referee adding stoppage time. Ugly scenes ensued, but hey! He's never exactly been a looker. However, that sort of thing won't trouble any of tonight's 2,600 vociferous travelling Sunderland fans, who saw their side hang on to win the game and move into the top-half of the table, just a point behind this season's surprise package in the Championship: Birmingham City.
FT: Birmingham City 1 v Sunderland 2