Birmingham City 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1

Date: Friday 14th September 2018 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Birmingham:
6.1
WBA:
5.1
Johnstone 6.1, Dawson 4.4, Hegazi 4.4, Bartley 3.7, Phillips 7.9, Livermore 5.0, Brunt 4.0 (Barry, 78 5.9), Townsend 4.9, Barnes 6.1, Rodriguez 4.6 (Robson-Kanu, 75 4.9), Gayle 5.9
Unused subs: Myhill, Gibbs, Burke, Edwards, Adarabioyo
Manager: Darren Moore 4.4
Scorers: Phillips (39)
Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire) 6.1
Attendance: 22,715   Home Fans 5.1   Away Fans 7.1
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 16

Summary:

Albion were somewhat fortunate to come away from St Andrews with a point after a conceding a goal and a penalty in the first half against a side that has still not won a game this season.

Jota managed to squeeze the ball between Sam Johnstone and the post after 26 minutes, and a few minutes later a cross hit Kyle Bartley's outstretched arm and referee Andy Madley awarded a penalty. However, Jota's spot-kick was too easy for Johnstone to read and he made a comfortable save.

Matt Phillips levelled the scores six minutes before the break when a mazy run from the right cut through the Blues' defence with ease and beat Lee Camp at the near post. Both sides had chances in the second half, the best of which for Albion was Harvey Barnes hitting the crossbar, but the game ended with honours even.

Albion climbed to fifth place but will surely drop again after the rest of the weekend's games.

Brendan Clegg:

Wasn’t great was it? We really got away with one here.

I found the bench really disappointing with no place for Field or Harper given Morrison being missing again and centre mid being our weakness.

I thought Blues played it right with 2 up top to press our back 3 and their aggressive quick marking of Barnes.

It nullified us and the worry was that our coaches didn’t change it until very late having watched our back 3 and keeper have a nightmare on the ball, our midfield offered nothing and our top 3 showed zero initiative to get themselves into the game. Only Phillips had a decent game.

Another terrible goal against, another careless penalty conceded, another disappointing away result.

Our total lack of a plan B was a worry. We actually managed to get passes off through the middle when Barry came on but, had he started, we’d probably have overrun in his position as he’s virtually immobile these days.

We can’t simply rely on being a bit shambolic before Phillips, Barnes or Gayle score us out of trouble and I’m not sure this formation and system is worth the investment if our aim is promotion because if, by crazy chance that happens, we can’t play this way in the top flight.

  • Johnstone - 6 Another good penalty save but no command or authority.
  • Dawson - 5 Terrible on the ball but midfield didn’t offer anything.
  • Hegazi - 5 As above, was played into trouble too often.
  • Bartley - 4 Terrifying on the ball on his wrong side but also defended poorly. Crikey.
  • Phillips - 8 Strong, fast, end product. Our best player by miles.
  • Livermore - 6 He tries but didn’t show well enough for the ball.
  • Brunt - 5 Couldn’t got onto the ball and when he did his passing was woeful. Spoiling his legacy a bit - he can’t play here.
  • Townsend - 6 Looked rusty and desperate for minutes. Showed promising moments but dodgy ones too. Needs to play at this stage in his career but not as good as Gibbs so perhaps not a great career move.
  • Barnes - 6 Blues did a job on him and he didn’t really show initiative to get on the ball.
  • JRod - 5 Worryingly ineffective again.
  • Gayle - 5 No service/no point.
  • Barry & HRK did okay but then they couldn’t have done much worse.

AllenKevanHogg:

Maybe it's the swinging and roundabouting of the Championship, or maybe we expect too much of an away game, however local, but that Albion performance (as seen on TV) looked worrying. 2 down early on but for the penalty save, and Birmingham's poor shot conversion "saving" three more with the defence beaten.

The defenders barely mustered a "5" between them with Dawson not quite right yet, Hegazi good one minute and not good the next (yikes....that pass)and Bartley...dear oh dear.

It was sometimes hard to find Brunt, Livermore and Rodriguez - he presumably played out of the game by a bright Birmingham group - not only because those red numbers on green & yellow are hard to see.

If Johnstone, Phillips, Barnes, Gayle get a sizeable tick, that's too few although both subs played better than those whom they replaced.

With a relatively immobile central midfield, neither screening the defence reliably nor charging forward threateningly, the issue is whether or not Albion can afford Barnes, Gayle and Rodriguez as opposed to having a Yacob-style play breaker-up, perhaps Barry.

Now surely is the time to find out which of the youngsters who can defend and/or play box to box can fare well starting in the first team, not leaving it until a later experiment.

Mark Koppel:

The Team Who Cannot Score v The Team Who Cannot Defend

I predict if West Brom persist on playing the 3-5-2 formation then we will not get promoted. Don't get promoted and then you watch 'Cost Cutting Bean Counter' Jenkins take us down yet another level.

The stats tell us all about this stupid persistence of playing Hegazi, Bartley, and Dawson. No clean sheets in the league yet, even against a poor Blues attack that had only converted 8% of their chances prior to this game. If this belligerence is all down to Graeme Jones then Big Dave needs to show leadership and tell him its not working. Quite simply we are not Belgium so don't try and fit a system to players who cannot play it. For example, my wife asked me to cook sunday lunch last week. She won't again because I simply cannot do it.

Player ratings as follows:

  • Johnstone 6 - He is no Ben Foster and got beat on his near post. But he is young and keepers tend to get better with age.
  • Townsend 5 - I really hope Gibbs was genuinely injured as this lad really struggled as his replacement. Up the pitch when he should have been back, and back when he should have been up.
  • Dawson 6 - We have always said it, his best position is centre half. Distribution not as bad as the other 2 which says something about them.
  • Chuckle Brother Hegazi 4 - Asleep again for the Blues goal just like in the Middlesbrough match and countless others. Very, very poor passing, especially second half when he decided better to give the ball away in dangerous areas to Blues! Just like Darren Moore himself, good stopper but don't ask him to be Franz Beckenbauer.
  • Chuckle Brother Bartley 3 - Surely we didn't pay a transfer fee to sign him??? Also why does he keep pulling opponent's shirts, and in the box ? If he wants a shirt of every single team we play against, then just buy them.
  • Phillips 8 - Rescues us again as in the Forest game. His quality on the ball was streets ahead of his colleagues.
  • Brunt 5- I do like Brunt but this was his worst game since we last played at Blues in the FA Cup. In both games I lost count of his total number of uncompleted passes.
  • Joke Livermore 6 - Still disappears for large portions of the game. I mean where had he gone ? Morrisons ? But when on the ball actually did ok and was comparatively accurate with his passes.
  • Barnes 6 - Great pace and looks dangerous when running with the ball.Pity he little opportunity to show it.
  • Rodriguez 5 - Hasn't scored for a few games now and like Livermore was out this game for large periods.
  • Gayle 5 - Needs much more service. Not his fault, but very little help from our midfield to set him up.

Subs:

  • Barry 7.5- Game changed when he came on. Passed 10 times more effectively than Brunt. Even if it is for only 60 mins, I would start with him on Tuesday.
  • HRK 5- Sky Sports called him "Super Sub". Set up Gareth Barry quite well for a shot but didn't show not much else.