Birmingham 1-0 Cardiff: Steve Cotterill off to a winning start
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 14/10/17 12:01am
Steve Cotterill got off to a winning start with Birmingham as they earned a 1-0 victory over Sky Bet Championship leaders Cardiff on Friday night.
Che Adams struck the only goal of the game in the first half at St Andrew's to seal the win for the Blues and lift them out of the relegation zone.
Steve Cotterill made five changes for Birmingham in his first game in charge, while Craig Bryson returned for Cardiff.
It was a very flat display from Cardiff, as Neil Warnock's side struggled to build up any real momentum following the international break. They stay top but could surrender that position to Wolves or Sheffield United on Saturday.
Birmingham started brightly under the lights and they took the lead after 19 minutes after some good work by Adams. Neil Etheridge's somewhat sloppy attempt at a clearance found the forward just inside Cardiff's half, but he still had plenty of work to do as he surged forward and got into the box, before cutting onto his right foot and slotting into the bottom corner.
And Adams had a glorious chance to add a second for Birmingham after 55 minutes when Sean Morrison free-kick headed a free-kick into his path, but he scuffed two efforts from close range before Jacques Maghoma's deflected attempt was cleared off the line by Bruno Manga.
Birmingham: Kuszczak (6), Colin (6), Morrison (8), Roberts (7), Grounds (7), Davis (7), Ndoye (7), Kieftenbeld (6), Maghoma (6), Adams (7), Vassell (8)
Subs: Gardner (n/a), Gallagher (n/a), Jutkiewicz (n/a)
Cardiff: Etheridge (5), Peltier (5), Manga (6), Morrison (6), Bennett (5), Bamba (5), Bryson (5), Ralls (5), Hoilett (5), Mendez-Laing (4), Zohore (5)
Subs: Ward (n/a), Feeney (n/a), Gunnarsson (n/a)
Man of the match: Isaac Vassell
Cardiff tried to turn up the heat in the final half an hour in an attempt to seek a way back into the game, but they couldn't find a way through the resilient Birmingham defence - who saw out the game for a vital three points.
Man of the match
Isaac Vassell was a constant threat up front for Birmingham as he ran Cardiff's defence ragged with a tireless display throughout the 90 minutes.
Steve Cotterill: "I'm really pleased. I just thanked the lads and all the staff for their efforts over the last two weeks. They've been first class. The work we've done showed tonight because we knew what type of game it was going to me. You can't surrender and you have to stand and fight your corner against them.
"We didn't have enough passes for me, we could have taken the sting out of the game late on and got control of it, but that takes time to get into a football club. If we could have retained possession a little better than I think there would have been another goal. But the game plan tonight couldn't have gone any better."
Neil Warnock: "I thought we started sluggishly, but then we got into it before half-time and if we could sort ourselves out then we'd have a good chance second half. But one or two things went against us tonight and I thought the linesman and referee were very, very poor between them.
"[When Adams caught Joe Bennett in the box] it was a certain penalty and he said apparently if it was anywhere else on the pitch it would have been a free-kick. But you've got to have some gumption there to give it. There was also a foul before their goal. I'm so disappointed and I don't think we got the rub of the green."
Birmingham travel to Millwall next Saturday in the late kick-off in the Championship, which is live on Sky Sports Football, while Cardiff travel to Middlesbrough at 3pm.