Birmingham 1-0 Burton Albion: Sam Gallagher goal earns FA Cup third-round victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/01/18 6:36pm
Sam Gallagher scored the only goal as Birmingham continued their recent revival with a 1-0 victory over Burton in the FA Cup.
Gallagher's 57th-minute strike earned Blues a place in the fourth round and a third successive victory without conceding a goal, having also toppled Leeds and Reading to move off the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship.
Burton were in good form themselves, picking up three wins and a draw in their previous five games, and they can feel aggrieved not to have got anything from their trip to St Andrew's.
Both teams struggled to get into top gear, although the pace of Lloyd Dyer was always a potential threat for Burton.
Their best chance of taking command came from a Will Miller free-kick, which forced David Stockdale to flick the ball over the bar for a corner.
Although they had the majority of the attacking play Birmingham started to become a little frustrated, and some poor clearances from Stockdale also caused them some worries at the back.
On one occasion Burton gained possession and Stockdale had to make amends by grabbing a Dyer cross as Lucas Akins closed in.
The much-travelled Dyer - who counts Birmingham among his former clubs - then created a shooting chance for himself, only for Harlee Dean to make a last-minute intervention.
Dyer continued to cause his old side problems and his cross found John Brayford, whose effort hit the side-netting.
Birmingham midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld might have considered himself fortunate only to have received a yellow card for his challenge on Tom Flanagan in the 37th minute, before the home side had another let-off at the start of the second half.
Ben Turner's header looked set to give Burton the lead just moments after the restart, but Craig Gardner's goalline clearance kept the score level.
The Brewers were looking a threat going forward, but it was Birmingham who broke the stalemate somewhat against the run of play.
Gallagher played in Jacques Maghoma down the right and the former Burton winger, who has been Birmingham's inspiration in recent games, cut in and pulled the ball back into the path of the on-loan Southampton striker to ram home a shot into the roof of the net.
The 22-year-old's goal certainly livened up Birmingham with the pace of Maghoma suddenly having an impact as Burton were forced to abandon a defensive plan in their search for an equaliser, although ultimately without success.
Steve Cotterill (Birmingham): "I had a long chat with Nigel Clough before the game. We both put out unchanged teams as we wanted to maintain our recent momentum and fortunately for us we were able to win. What pleased me with our third successive win is that it was also our third successive clean sheet. If you have a clean sheet it means you don't lose and this is something we've been working on as it is a big confidence boost for the team."
Nigel Clough (Burton): "Losing to Birmingham was only our second defeat in six games and we shouldn't have lost either game. We are comfortable with our pattern of play and the team is picking itself. We looked solid and dangerous. Unfortunately Birmingham scored with their only shot on target. We are disappointed to be out of the cup because we should have got through."