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Report: Birmingham City 1-0 Rovers

Tony Mowbray's men suffer a narrow defeat to The Blues on the road after Maxime Colin's first half header

22 October 2019

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Rovers suffered a narrow defeat away at Birmingham City despite having chances to grab an equaliser late on.

Maxime Colin's first half header from a Dan Crowley cost proved to be the difference between the two teams after a really disappointing first half showing from the visitors.

Tony Mowbray's men did improve after the interval and had a number of good chances towards the end of the encounter to nick something, but some poor finishing and good defending resulting in Birmingham holding out for all three points.

Mowbray made one alteration to the side in the Midlands, withs Sam Gallagher starting up front in place of Lewis Holtby, who missed out on a spot in the squad after picking up a hamstring injury earlier in the week.

Gallagher played 34 times for The Blues, scoring seven times during a season-long loan spell with the club in 2017-18.

The 24-year-old striker tested Lee Camp early on, but his snapshot inside the opening two minutes went just past the veteran goalkeeper's right-hand post.

At the other end, Christian Walton remained big to block an effort from Fran Villalba before Crowley curled an effort from the edge of the box just over the crossbar.

Walton was called into action on the 25th minute, this time beating away a Jude Bellingham drive as the hosts pressed for an opener.

But with the next opportunity came the first goal of the night, with Colin nodding past Walton from a couple of yards out from Crowley's crafty dink to the back post just after the half hour mark.

Rovers offered almost nothing in the first half, but improved after the break, with Lewis Travis' strike taking a deflection on the way to flying just over.

A moment later and Tosin Adarabioyo's search for a first professional goal went on as he looped a header from a Stewart Dowing corner way over the bar.

Mowbray made a double change just after the hour mark with Joe Rothwell and Danny Graham entering the action and almost immediately the latter almost bagged an equaliser, with the forward seeing his effort blocked.

Stewart Downing thrashed a half-volley inches past the post as Rovers continued to probe for that equaliser with the time ticking down.

Walton made a big save to deny Villalba with his feet after the Spanish schemer was picked out in the box by Lukas Jutkiewicz's smart pass.

The big striker went close himself to doubling the home side's tally, but he crashed a shot against the upright, onto the line and away from danger with just under 20 minutes of the game remaining.

Inside the final 10 minutes Graham had a glorious chance to equalise, but he slotted the wrong side of the post after being found by Adam Armstrong.

Elliott Bennett's deflected drive forced a scampering Lee Camp to flick over the upright four minutes later as Rovers looked to force a late leveller.

Bradley Dack was next to go close, but he saw his header drift wide of the target at the back post after Derrick Williams had pushed up to whip a cross in from the left flank.

Williams tried his luck from range a moment later, but his right-footed effort whistled low past Camp's post as Rovers kept pushing right until the end.

But it was all for nothing, as the hosts ran out winners at a chilly St Andrew's.

Birmingham City: Camp, Roberts, Pedersen, Dean (c), Bellingham (McEachran, 62), Villalba, Jutkiewicz, Mrabti (Gimenez, 79) Colin, Crowley (Maghoma, 72) , Davis.

Unused substitutes: Stockdale, Harding, Bailey, Clarke-Salter.

Goal: Colin, 31

Booked: Dean, 55, Davis, 67

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe, Adarabioyo, Williams, Bennett (c), Travis, Johnson (Rothwell, 62), Armstrong, Dack, Downing (Buckley, 76), Gallagher (Graham, 62).

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Evans, Rankin-Costello, Bell.

Booked: Williams, 85, Buckley, 90

Referee: Darren England.

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