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Match Report


Posted Sat 11 Jul 15 at 07:56 AM

Town had to settle for a share of the points despite dominating much of the second-half at Portman Road.

Blues had to come from behind again after David Cotterill put Birmingham ahead with a terrific right foot finish. 

Town were level on the half hour, with Brett Pitman scoring his first goal in the blue shirt on home soil, expertly converting from the penalty spot.

David McGoldrick almost won it for Blues in the last few minutes, thumping a right foot effort just past the far post but Birmingham held on for the point.

Town made three changes from the side that beat Leeds in midweek, Pitman and Freddie Sears were paired in attack with Ryan Fraser, who was a doubt for the game, taking a place on the bench - Larsen Toure handed his first Championship start. 

Town started positively, Pitman tested Tomasz Kuszczak from distance, Tommy Smith then directed a header against the frame of the goal. 

Sears went just as close with an instinctive shot as the visitors spent much of the first 10 minutes defending in their box.

It needed an excellent save from Dean Gerken to keep Town on level terms though when Jonathan Grounds got on the end of Andrew Shinnie’s clever pass. 

Cotterill chipped into Gerken’s hands as Gary Rowett’s side settled into the game, while at the other end Toure fired over from distance.

It was the midlanders who broke the deadlock on 22 minutes, Shinnie again at the heart of it, taking advantage of Christophe Berra’s slip to set up Cotterill who buried his shot into the roof of the net.

Town were level on the half hour, Ainsley Maitland-Niles went on a 50 yard run before crossing but Jonathan Spector was judged to have made contact with a sliding tackle inside the box and Pitman did the rest from the penalty spot.

Gerken did well to beat out Cotterill’s wicked free-kick that bounced right in front of him as Birmingham looked to regain the initiative immediately, Clayton Donaldson then seeing his shot blocked by Jonas Knudsen’s head.

Berra cleared from Donaldson as he threatened to get on Cotterill’s cross as an even first 45 minutes came to an end. 

Pitman almost found a way to goal inside the first few minutes of the second-half, evading two challenges, the ball then cannoning to Sears whose shot was cleared off the line.

Toure fired over as Town began the second-half in the same way as the first, Maitland-Niles blocked as he looked to get in down the right. 

A cleverly-worked free-kick saw Maitland-Niles find space but his cross was hacked clear, then Toure’s deft cross beat everyone to go wide of the far post.

Smith had to be alert to block Donaldson’s shot eight yards out, the  Birmingham striker then inches away from a Cotterill cross. 

Town made a first change with Daryl Murphy on for Pitman midway through the half, the Republic of Ireland international linking up with Toure to force a corner, Luke Chambers jabbing the ball wide from 12 yards.

Toure was given a warm ovation by the home fans as he made way for McGoldrick on 71 minutes and seconds later Town should have been ahead, Maitland-Niles smashing high and wide from a great position.

Gerken was quick off his line to volley clear from Donaldson outside his box before Town made a final change with Fraser introduced for the last 10 minutes, Maitland-Niles making way. 

Murphy headed over from Fraser’s corner, Sears’ shot was blocked, then Stephen Gleeson flashed a shot just wide of Gerken’s post from a free-kick. 

McGoldrick was inches away from a dramatic winner for Mick McCarthy’s side, his shot beating Kuszczak but going the wrong side of the far post, then the Birmingham ‘keeper held on to Fraser’s strike to secure his side the draw.  

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