Birmingham 2-1 Stoke: Blues comeback heaps more pressure on Nathan Jones
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at St Andrew's
Last Updated: 31/08/19 6:51pm
Stoke's search for a first Sky Bet Championship victory of the season goes on after Birmingham came from behind to win 2-1 at St Andrew's.
The Potters had the perfect platform to end that winless run when Liam Lindsay headed them into a 58th-minute lead.
However, two goals in four minutes, from Lukas Jutkiewicz and 16-year-old Jude Bellingham kept Stoke without a victory.
The fact both sides made significant changes to their starting line-ups pointed towards two teams still looking for the right combinations.
Nathan Jones made five alterations to the team who lost against Leeds in their last Championship match, Pep Clotet two with Jefferson Montero coming on for his full Birmingham debut.
It did not last long for Montero, the on-loan winger was carried from the field in the 29th minute, to be replaced by Bellingham.
Other than that there was little of note about a drab first half in which there was only a single shot on target.
That came in the fourth minute when Lee Gregory escaped down the right of the Blues' box and from an acute angle hammered a shot which Lee Camp parried away.
It was 37 minutes before Blues threatened the Stoke goal - and even then Ivan Sunjic comfortably cleared the crossbar from the edge of the area.
But two minutes before half-time the hosts had a strong appeal for a penalty when Alvaro Gimenez caught Lindsay in possession on the edge of the box.
The Spaniard tried to break clear but despite being hauled back by the Stoke defender, referee James Linington waved away Blues' claims.
Stoke so nearly broke the deadlock six minutes after the restart when Sam Clucas freed Gregory.
The striker steered his shot across Camp but not inside the far post as the ball ricocheted out. Joe Allen retrieved but could only shoot into the side-netting.
The visitors took the lead in the 58th minute when Tommy Smith sent a curling free-kick from the right.
The ball went through to Lindsay at the back post and the 23-year-old nodded home.That finally brought a response from Birmingham - who not only equalised but turned the game on its head.
First, a sweeping move saw Maxime Colin presented Jutkiewicz with the kind of far post header he gobbles up. He did once again, powering down past Adam Federici.
And three minutes later Bellingham advanced on goal and watched as his scuffed drive flicked off a defender and wrong-footed the Stoke goalkeeper.
The home team should have extended their lead in the 85th minute when Dan Crowley set Gary Gardner away but the midfielder was denied by Federici.
Pep Clotet: "He came and played on the level of the team. This summer he has matured a lot with the first team, he made his debut in the cup and had a few minutes at Swansea last week. As soon as the option was there he was ready for it and he took it. He scored a goal that has given us the three points but he is very well-grounded and he will keep working hard because it is his hard work that has given him the chance today. The fact he did that for us in front of our fans is a memorable day.
"He is quiet, he is very professional in his football, he is a confident lad in his ability but he is someone you can talk to, he is very mature as well. I think his goal should be to try to get established in this squad and play as many times for the club he loves.
"I know that the fans might give me a little bit of stick if I don't start him every game but I need to think of him and these young players cannot handle the same physical pressure of training and games as the more senior players. My priority is always to protect him - today was the right game for him - I hope he has a lot of right games for him."
Nathan Jones: "We have to change our luck, we were the better side up until we scored, we hit the post and then we seemed to lose all control of the game. Apart from Preston and Leeds we have probably been the better side in every game but we have got no points for it.
"We have changed shape - given the players a little bit of what they have wanted and we have still got no result and that's a frustrating thing.
We feel they are a little bit more used to playing with wider men rather than playing with a diamond system but it's the same result.
"The chairman will see the same as me because he is an educated guy but you can't continue like this - you can't continue losing games. We have to change the momentum. But nothing is going for us at the minute and that's the frustrating thing."