SkyBet EFL Championship
at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton upon Trent
Burton Albion (1) 2
Lloyd Dyer 32, Jamie Ward 62
Birmingham City (0) 0
Admission £20. Programme £3
Attendance 5,818 (inc. 1,754 in sold out away fans sections)
|Team sheet picture courtesy of Simon Matters.|
I didn't take any photos apart from the signs.
City manager Gary Rowett, was in charge at Burton for two seasons before taking over the reigns from Lee Clark at St Andrews, having overseen a successful two-year spell at the Pirelli Stadium. Although technically he actually followed on from the caretaker duo of Richard Beale and Malcolm Crosby who held the fort for two games, a 1-0 away defeat at Blackburn Rovers and a 8-0 reversal at home to Bournemouth.
When Hasselbaink was headhunted by QPR in December of last year, Nigel Clough, who had previously managed at Burton between 1998 and 2009, returned to take up his old job at the Pirelli Stadium, following stints in the hot seat at both Derby County and Sheffield United.
Tonight's game marked the first ever competitive fixture between these two sides, although Birmingham provided the opposition for a pre-season game at Burton in 2015.
Tom Naylor slipped a measured through ball into the path of Ward, but Adam Legzdins was quickly off of his line to smother the lively Brewers strikers shot.
Maghoma ran diagonally across the face of Burton's area, but the referee waved play on when he was surrounded by three players and tripped a fraction after loosing the ball.
From the Brewers next attack, Chris O'Grady got underneath Ryan Shotton's attempted clearing header and nodded an arcing effort over Legzdins, that fell wide of his left hand post. Legzdins, is of course a former Burton Albion player, in fact it wouldn't have surprised me if a few dozen of the spectators stood around me had played for either Burton, Birmingham or both teams, given the extent of the 'ex' factor on show tonight.
Birmingham had started the first half looking like they were building up a head of steam, but having got to grips with their visitors, Burton certainly had the better of the opening forty five minutes and were good value for their interval lead. In fact, they could have gone in at the break three or four goals to the good.
HT: Brewers 1 v Blues 0
David Cotterill attacked down the right flank but his cross was cut out by John McLaughlin... cue Gary Rowett telling Che Adams and Clayton Donaldson to get stripped for action, while David Davis and Cotterill made way.
Adams, of course, was signed by Nigel Clough from non league Ilkeston FC, when Clough Jr was still managing the Blades,
Lukas Jutkiewicz had been monitored well in spite of Cotterill and Jon Spector trying to provide the service the lone front man required.
He was offside, but Ward deserved a goal for his efforts thus far and if truth be told, it had been on the cards.
The goal prompted City's manager to make their final substitution, when Greg Stewart replaced Maghona.
Stewart drove a free kick into Burton's defensive wall, a wasted opportunity from just outside the D on the edge of Burton's area.
Adams shot was deflected over for a corner and when Stewart delivered his kick to Michael Morrison at the back stick, the visitors captain headed wide from a free header.
With the visitors trying to get back into the game they were vulnerable to Burton breaking on the counter and O'Grady wasn't far away from the edge of Legzdins area,
Ward was substituted with ten minutes remaining, as Will Miller was introduced and there was a swap of former Stags players when Lee Williamson came on in place of Tom Naylor to see out the remaining few minutes.
Full time came and one former Burton Albion manager (who came back) had beaten another, to scupper Birmingham's hopes of climbing to up to third place in the Championship table.
FT: Burton Albion 2 v Birmingham City 0
Friday night football doesn't suit Birmingham City.
O'Grady and Ward were fairly awesome tonight and Dyer looked almost unplayable at times.
In conclusion, the best team won. End of!
Blues next two fixtures are: the second city derby v. Aston Villa next Sunday (Noon kick off) at St Andrews, followed by early season pace setters Huddersfield Town away. The Brewers face Yorkshire opposition on the next two weekends, travelling to Elland Road next Saturday to face Leeds United before hosting Barnsley seven days later.