Berra strikes and Town dominate but have to settle for point
Christophe Berra’s first goal for the Club wasn’t enough to see Town take the three points in a game dominated by Mick McCarthy’s side.
The Scottish international headed in from close range just past the half hour and Blues had several chances to wrap up the points with Darren Randolph denying David McGoldrick a hat-trick.
Birmingham grabbed a point though with 15 minutes left, Chris Burke’s left foot shot finding the corner of the net.
Town made five changes to the side that went down against Leeds last weekend. Dean Gerken came in for his League debut, with Berra, Paul Anderson and Ryan Tunnicliffe all handed their first Championship starts for Blues.
Luke Chambers was given the skipper’s armband from his right-back position and was immediately in the action, clearing at the far post from a Burke cross.
Darren Randolph almost delayed enough for Frank Nouble to make the block, the ‘keeper just getting his clearance away from the danger zone in time, the Birmingham No.1 showing much more awareness to gather an Aaron Cresswell free-kick and release Lee Novak for an opening at the other end.
Anderson’s trickery and then a testing cross almost set up Nouble, then the wideman’s astute pass inside Paul Robinson, opened up the space for Nouble again but the covering Dan Burn closed down the danger.
At the other end, Novak tested Gerken with a turn and shot that the ‘keeper dealt with comfortably in what was the only save he had to make in the first half hour.
Anderson headed over from a Cresswell cross as Town edged the exchanges and the goal came from another delivery from the left-back, McGoldrick getting a touch and Berra heading in from six yards.
Birmingham were forced into a change on 35 minutes, Scott Allan replacing the injured Neal Eardley.
McGoldrick headed over in another chance for the in-command Town, yet another delivery from Cresswell causing more uncertainty in the Birmingham box, Nouble eventually crowded out at the far post.
Birmingham’s best chance of the first-half came just before the break, Burke’s cross volleyed wide by Peter Lovenkrands but it was Town who went closest to adding to the scoreline before the whistle, McGoldrick’s brilliant strike kept out equally well by Randolph, who forced the ball onto the post. The ‘keeper then doing superbly again to deny McGoldrick from close range in a half when the points should have been done and dusted for Town.
The second-half started the way the first finished, McGoldrick denied by Randolph’s low save.
Birmingham responded though, Novak’s flick header from Burke’s corner forcing Gerken into a save, while at the other end the far busier Randolph kept out Luke Hyam’s drive from the edge of the box.
Carlos Edwards replaced Anderson in Town’s first change just past the hour, Daryl Murphy soon on for Nouble – with McGoldrick’s personal battle with Randolph continuing sandwiched between the changes, the striker firing just wide of the ‘keeper’s far post.
Randolph, easily Birmingham’s stand-out performer made yet another save, this time from Cresswell as Blues continued to carve out chances but against the run of play, the home side equalised on 76 minutes, Burke’s shot deflecting off Tunnicliffe and going in.
The goal lifted the home side and Berra had to be alert to clear from Shane Ferguson before Town made a final change, Jay Tabb on for Tunnicliffe.
Murphy was denied by Kyle Bartley’s challenge at the near post before
McGoldrick had a chance to win it for Blues but his free-kick on the edge of the box was blocked by the wall as two points slipped away at St Andrew’s.
Birmingham: Randolph, Eardley (Allan 35), Bartley, Burn, Robinson, Burke, Adeyemi, Spector, Shinnie (Ferguson 58), Novak, Lovenkrands (Green 64). Subs not used: Doyle, Mullins, Reilly, Elliott. Booked: Robinson.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Anderson (Edwards 63), Hyam, Skuse, Tunnicliffe (Tabb 80), Nouble (Murphy 67), McGoldrick. Subs not used: Loach, Hewitt, Wordsworth, Taylor. Booked: Hyam.