The Riverside Stadium is a tough place to go at the best of times but It was made to be a disappointing second game of the season for Birmingham. Former West Brom boss, Tony Pulis, has his side well organised for the victory and his team very much produced that yesterday afternoon in Teeside.
On deadline week, Blues signed four players. Conor Mahoney on a season-long loan from Bournemouth, Omar Bogle on the same arrangement from Cardiff and goalkeeper Lee Camp joined on a free. As a final signing, on deadline day, Garry Monk bought in Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner on loan. A controversial move, but the central midfielder joins to play alongside his older brother.
Middlesbrough already had four points going into this one, after drawing against Millwall on the opening day and then beating Sheffield United in the week. Blues had a 2-2 home draw with Norwich last weekend. It was a game in which Birmingham just couldn’t get going, everything was going through Middlesbrough’s midfield. As a reflection, Birmingham had 7 attempts at goal, with only 1 on target.
Striker Britt Asombalonga scored a wonderful goal to put Boro in the lead, Blues looked pretty woeful at the back. It was a very nothing game though, neither side created much but Middlesbrough were clearly the team in control.
Stuart Downing had a wicked free kick, which struck the post and then a goalmouth scramble resulting in Conal Trueman saving the Boys in Royal Blue going two down.
The fact Birmingham never got into the game showed when midfielder Craig Gardner was shown a straight red card for a very late challenge. Birmingham were short of creativity in that game and Boro went back with their second three points of the season to top to table with seven, after a draw to go with the two wins. For Birmingham, still a solitary point on the board and a lot to improve on.
RB Shotton , RCB Fry , LCB Flint , LB Friend
RCM Wing , CM Clayton , LCM Howson
RW Downing , CF Assombalonga , LW Braithwate
RB Colin , RCB Morrison , LCB Dean , LB Pederson
RM Jota , RCM N’Doye , LCM C. Gardner , LM Maghoma
RS Adams , LS Jutkiewitz
Possession – Mboro 52% , Blues 48%
Shots – Mboro 10 , Blues 11
Shots on goal – Mboro 2 , Blues 4
Corners – Mboro 3 , Blues 9
Fouls committed – Mboro 9 , Blues 11