Birmingham City 2 - West Bromwich Albion 3

Date: Saturday 14th December 2019 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Birmingham:
5.8
WBA:
6.6
Johnstone 6.1, Ferguson 5.8, Bartley 6.1, Ajayi 6.3, Townsend 5.1 (Furlong, 61 6.3), Livermore 6.8, Sawyers 6.2, Phillips 6.0 (Austin, 70 8.4), Pereira 7.3, Diangana 6.9 (Edwards, 40 6.2), Robson-Kanu 6.7
Unused subs: Bond, Krovinovic, Barry, Hegazi
Manager: Slaven Bilic 7.8
Scorers: Diangana (10), Austin (73, 81)
Referee: Darren England 4.9
Attendance: 20,796   Home Fans 4.9   Away Fans 7.9
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 18

Brendan Clegg:

Another very tough game for us and it was really impressive how we found a different way to win again.

Bilic returned to probably our strongest 11 but we behind before we knew it - failing to deal with the second phase of a set play. It looked to me like Bartley got his positioning all wrong after charging out when the first phase was cleared but it was a pretty free header and a poor goal.

I thought Blues did a decent job of making it tough for us - they made the pitch tight, doubled up on us where they could and got decent joy out of hitting the ball long. They also made the tempo high like a proper derby and were pretty physical.

We were a bit sloppy in possession - it did look like a few tired legs - but got back in the game quickly through Diagana poking in at the back post.

For the rest of the half we were better and we could've gone in ahead with better decision making, although we also needed a good save from SJ to keep us level. It was a blow to lose Diagana who was a threat.

2nd half we conceded another cheap goal but thankfully it was early enough for a reaction. It looked to me like Blues got caught between trying to steal a third and sitting in deep.

I don't know if it's our video team but, when we needed it, Bilic made some impressive tactical changes to really change it for us - as he has done frequently this season in a way I have never seen an Albion manager do, and the fact that it's more or less every game tells you it isn't coincidence.

Bartley and Ajayi stepped right up high but also were allowed to defend in front of Jutkiewicz.

This prevented Blues from getting out as well and they tired. He also went sort of 2 up top (HRK and Austin) and got Furlong on at right back but pretty much playing as a right winger.

Austin scored a real beauty for his first - teeing up before smashing home from the edge of the box and then Furlong crossed for him to head the winner.

It was quite a remarkable turn around by an increasingly remarkable team and a manager who is really able to influence games.

  • SJ - 6 Some big saves but some erratic moments too.
  • Ferguson - 6 Didn't have it all his own way but did a decent job.
  • Ajayi - 7 Mopped up well but struggled a bit first half.
  • Bartley - 6 Some moments of poor judgement but kept going and much better 2nd half.
  • Townsend - 6 Tried to get forward and give us width but was targeted on set plays.
  • Livermore - 7 Just keeps on running and battling away. Some poor passing but overall led the charge.
  • Sawyers - 6 I thought he had another casual game. Would be nice to see him show some grit in the opening 20 minutes of away games. He's almost like a spectator early on but, as always, grew in influence as the game went on.
  • Phillips - 6 I thought he did well and was a threat when he gave us width. One poor pass when we were in a great position cost us a goal.
  • Pereira - 6 Some moments of magic but was closed down quickly and get a lot of the rough stuff again. Set plays were well off it.
  • Diagana - 6 Was looking like the player who would do the damage before his injury. A blow to lose him.
  • HRK - 7 Held it up well and got stronger as we took control of the game.
  • Edwards - 6 Did well again. Good pace and looked after the ball well.
  • Furlong - 7 Once he got up to speed with the game he was key to our victory and gave us the width we needed.
  • Austin - 8 Two great goals and does look a different player when we have another striker up with him.