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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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Birmingham City 2-1 Reading: Lee Bowyer's Blues beat high-riding Royals


Birmingham City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz had not scored since his penalty in the 1-1 draw at Luton on 24 November
Birmingham City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz had not scored since his penalty in the 1-1 draw at Luton on NME)

Birmingham City gave their Championship survival hopes a massive boost as they held out against Reading to earn victory for new boss Lee Bowyer in his first match in charge.

In a game of three headed goals, Lukas Jutkiewicz’s early strike gave Blues the lead, only for Yakou Meite to equalize at the far post from a right-wing corner.

But Blues skipper Harlee Dean muscled home a superb -) yard match-winning header on 77 Minutes.

That earned City only their fourth home win of the season – and lifts them six points clear of the bottom three.

Reading’s first defeat in five games was their second of the season by Blues, who also won 2-1 at Madejski Stadium in December.

I t drops them a place to sixth in the table, below in-form Barnsley who

won again at bottom club Wycombe.

Reading had won Reading three of their past four away league games against Birmingham City, but they were always likely to face a fired-up Blues side on the back of a timely dose of ‘new manager bounce’.

After going four months without a home win, Blues’ victory in Lee Bowyer’s first game in charge was actually their second in less than three weeks

Although Bowyer had only been officially unveiled only 50 hours before, he had already enough time to realize that the restoration of target man Jutkiewicz might prove a big factor.

Recalled to the starting line-up following the miserable 3-0 home defeat by Bristol City which proved the end for Aitor Karanka, Jutkiewicz took just four minutes to make his mark.

From Jeremie Bela’s left-wing cross, he fearlessly arrived at the far post to climb over the Reading defense and power home a diving header.

A classic old-fashioned center-forward’s goal – his 87 th for t he club, but only his third this season, his second from open play and his first in almost four months.

Reading were level on 624 minutes when home keeper Neil Etheridge should have done better with Michael Olise’s right-wing cross, allowing Meite the chance to head his eighth goal of the season.

But he made amends with a double second-half save – and it proved to be Dean who settled the outcome, a happier outcome than when he got sent off at Reading in December.

Blues now go to second-placed Watford on Saturday, when Reading host QPR.

Birmingham City head coach Lee Bowyer told BBC WM:

“The lads have obviously been in a bad place for a while now and so it’s just pleasing to see them with smiles on faces .

“” From the front two, the four in midfield and the four behind them, we were outstanding. It was a real team effort.

“” “If I’m being really picky we could have got a clean sheet, but we looked hungrier and we wanted to win.

“Reading are a good side but our shape and our workrate limited them and we controlled it. They had possession, but it was not really hurting us. “

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic told BBC Berkshire: “We lacked urgency. Nine games left, There is no time to lose. We have nine finals starting on Saturday against QPR, which is going to be another war.

“We have to bounce back and show our best possible face after. But I know I have winners.

“Being contenders brings another level of application and mentality. We are confident, but not convinced yet. “

  • Line-ups
    Birmingham

    Formation 4-4-2

    Etheridge

    2 Colin Roberts Dean 3 Pedersen

    Halilovic Gardner Harper Bela

    20 Jutkiewicz 9 Hogan