Birmingham 1-2 Bournemouth: Cherries come back to win
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 22/08/17 10:24pm
Bournemouth put their poor start to the season to one side as they came from behind to defeat Birmingham 2-1 in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
The Cherries have lost both of their opening Premier League fixtures and it seemed their woes would continue when they fell behind to Maikel Kieftenbeld's 12th-minute opener.
However, they equalised in the opening minute of the restart through Ryan Fraser and deservedly booked their spot in the next round when Marc Pugh struck what would prove to be the winner midway through the second half.
Bournemouth, pointless in the top flight after defeats to West Brom and Watford, could take solace from the fact they were unbeaten on their previous eight visits to St. Andrew's.
And with Jermain Defoe making his first start for Bournemouth, the difference in league status was plainly evident although Championship side Birmingham battled at every turn to gain in confidence.
Lewis Cook was a midfield inspiration setting up several promising moves for the visitors but there was no real finishing power in the early skirmishes.
Birmingham did not appear to pose any real trouble either but in the seventh minute Isaac Vassell was only prevented from scoring by a desperate Tyrone Mings tackle.
From the resulting corner by Stephen Gleeson, the ball was headed to the far post by Jonathan Grounds where the unmarked Kieftenbeld coolly slotted his shot home from close range to give the game a real edge.
Defoe responded with a low swerving shot which Tomasz Kuszczak did well to block. A few minutes later Defoe hammered in another powerful drive which Kuszczak could not hold, while the Birmingham goalkeeper was tested with another effort from Pugh.
Birmingham, injected with a sprinkling of youth by manager Harry Redknapp, suddenly gained in confidence to take the game to the Premier League side, with the pace of Vassell and Jacques Maghoma a promising feature.
In the 32nd minute Vassell accelerated past Artur Boruc but over-ran the ball with his shot hastily cleared by Mings who finished up in the back of the net injured and requiring treatment.
Intensive Bournemouth pressure eventually paid off 52 seconds into the second half. A low right-wing cross from Adam Smith was turned home by Scottish international Fraser.
The Blues tailed off badly in the second half and the superior skill of Bournemouth eventually earned them their just reward with Pugh's 68th-minute winner.
Lys Mousset, always a strong player going forward, casually set up Pugh on the left. He dragged the ball back before unleashing a powerful drive into the far corner of the net.