Blues survived a late scare to grab all three points from a dangerous but wasteful Reading side.
It was the biggest opening day attendance in seven years. The Blues boss fielded three debutants against Reading – and each of them made their mark in their own separate ways. Goals from David Cotterill and Jon Toral were enough to seal the victory, just…
Reading fans will feel they should have come away with at least a point. A shot which hit the bar looks to be over the line but the referee didn’t spot it. Blues were definitely lucky yesterday, but a win is a win.
Here’s the reaction on Twitter from the game:
Post Match interview with Reading supporter David Andrews
First off all what’s your reaction for a bitter defeat for you ?
Gutted to be fair, we had a lot of possession, but couldn’t stick the ball in the net. You did, so fair play you got the 3pts.
You had a shot that seemingly crossed the line, what’s your opinion on that & how important would goal line technology in the football league be?
Think goal line technology would be good, because it could cause cost clubs points if that was to have crossed the line, it basically cost us a point. It happens in football, we move on now, the ref and linesman made their decision. You win some, you lose some.
Although you lost, you must be happy with the way you played, how confident are you of a good season after s second half performance like that?
Absolutely mate. We had a good test against you, we had a fantastic match, apart from not putting the ball in the net. So I’m confident with the players we’ve got to come in to the team. We can have a good season. I wish Birmingham good luck too.
Let’s move on to Blues, despite a below par performance but still won, do you think we should be worried by the performance or feeling good knowing we won despite playing that bad?
Not really. It happens, you play badly sometimes. You win. A mark of a good team.
Which blues player was you impressed by?
Toral. Fitted in well.
Finally what’s your message to the Blues fans?
Good luck for the season, feel we both have a great chance of doing well. Enjoy the roller coaster of the season.
With 3 points secured following late drama at St Andrews yesterday I give my view on the performances of the blues. With three of the new signings getting game time I also give my opinion on how I feel they will contribute this season from my first impressions of the trio.
Tomasz Kuszczak – 4
A lot of hype around him when he joined due to his C.V but there is clearly a reason he has primarily been a number two at past clubs. Kuszczak seemingly lacks confidence in dominating the area when crosses are delivered around the 6 yard line as well as not trusting himself to handle the ball. The ex-Manchester United man was responsible for the Reading goal but his saving grace was the penalty. The penalty itself seemed weak but that could be down to the size of the former Polish international who made the save but almost undid the good work in the same motion pushing the ball to the opposition player, luckily Reading didn’t capitalise. I’m reserving judgement as it was only the first game but his performance left me doubtful of how he will do this season but at the moment Kuszczak has saved Birmingham two points.
Paul Caddis – 6
Usually one of the best attacking outlets in the team due to his willingness to push forwards and support the winger the Scotsman was kept pinned back by Reading yesterday. Despite the lack of an attacking presence Caddis played his part defensively by giving a responsible 90 minutes for the team. Look for a more typical Caddis performance as the season progresses and he is not pinned back as much.
Jonathan Spector – 7
The versatile American slotted in at centre back for the opening game of the season and despite a shaky start soon became unnoticeable in the defence. I mean that as a positive as despite not being his natural position Spector under the guidance of Morrison quickly adapted to the role and was unlucky not to leave will a clean sheet to his name.
Michael Morrison – 8
Assertive and dominate from kick off until full time the former Charlton man took the captains armband and led by example. All game Morrison tracked his man and ensured that Reading had to work to get through to goal as well as this Morrison worked well with the aforementioned Spector to form a solid partnership which looks to be the go to pairing at the back this season.
Jonathan Grounds – 6
A standard performance from the left back who although not the most ambitious player going forward managed to keep the left hand side of the pitch threats quiet and also provided good height whilst defending set pieces. One criticism is because he doesn’t push forward to far it often leaves the left winger isolated and out of the game.
Stephen Gleeson – 6
Gleeson fresh from signing a contract extension continued from last season by sitting deep and controlling the game constantly moving the ball around looking for the right time to play a killer pass. Worked well with new signing Kieftenbeld and between them managed to control possession to great effect in the first half.
Maikel Kieftenbeld – 7
The second player making his debut for blues was Dutch midfielder Kieftenbeld who was going to be man of the match but he faded due to a lack of fitness as well as tackling his way to a yellow card which lowered his rating. In the first half Kieftenbeld added a physical presence to the midfield by breaking up the play with crunching tackles as well as showing good ball distribution by helping maintain the ball. Due to a lack of preseason and the speed of English football the midfielder faded but was a noticeable absentee when he went off as all the midfield shape was lost quickly after. This season Kieftenbeld will become one of the best players at the club and controlling a game but he will pick up suspensions due to his committed tackling a man who could become the signing of the season.
David Cotterill – 7
Scored a good free kick albeit with a deflection but a goals a goal. Looked lively in the first half frequently being involved in dangerous attacks but as Birmingham became more defensive he lost his way due to the lack of pushing forwards as the second half came to a close.
Jon Toral – 7
Showed some flashes of brilliance, on his debut, as well as bringing a quick passing mentality to the attack Toral did well to take his goal. Although not being physically strong the youngster did try and win the ball back which was good to see but like Kieftenbeld he faded in the 2nd half. The argument is he is not as “entertaining” as Fabbrini before him but end product wins games and Toral managed to find the back of the net.
Demarai Gray – 6
A reasonable performance by Gray who was not allowed any freedom by the Reading defence. Despite not reaching the heights he did last season in this same fixture Gray did trackback and worked hard to help out defensively as blues looked to hold out for the win.
Clayton Donaldson – 7
Last year’s top scorer and player of the season began the campaign off by working tirelessly up top and showed some excellent hold up play whilst attempting to bring others into the game. Had a few chances at goal and was unlucky not to score but he did manage to assist Toral at the start of the second half before doing his bit tracking back.
David Davis – 4
A generous mark for a player who gave his worst performance in the royal blue shirt. As soon as he came on the team lost all of its shape and began to be overran by Reading. Davis then gave away a cheap penalty which was luckily saved to spare his blushes. It was a poor performance by Davis but it was very unlike anything before yesterday and I am putting it down to a lack of competitive football.
Andrew Shinnie – 5
Was brought on by Rowett when the game was trying to be closed down so it was not suited to Shinnie and his style of play. A very strange option when the work rate and pace of Wes Thomas may have been a better choice to pressure and close down Reading.
Paul Robinson – N/A
Was not on the pitch for long and I had to leave as the club captain made his way to the pitch but as far as I have seen he did nothing of note in the game. I feel this will often be the story for Robinson who is around for his experience and not a frequent option from the bench.
In short, not the greatest game for blues and the overly defensive tactics at the end nearly costs blues who had been playing well until then. I feel Kuszczak needs a run of games until judgement is given on him but three points on the board is always good.
As always thank you for reading but now I want to hear your rating from Saturdays match in the comments. Who was your man of the match and who do you want to see more from? Keep right on and hope for a blues win in the cup versus Bristol Rovers.