Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Match Report Birmingham 1 Leeds 0

Simon Grayson made one change to the side which beat Peterborough on Saturday with Robert Snodgrass replacing Mika Vayrynen in the starting line-up.United were seven unbeaten going into the Blues clash while the home side were six unbeaten in all competitions and it was a meeting of two in-form sides.Birmingham had won at Bristol City on Sunday, and it was the home side who started the brighter of the two with Chris Burke looking lively down the right.But it was United who fashioned out the first chance on 11 minutes following a great build-up involving Darren O'Dea, Andy Keogh, Danny Pugh and Ross McCormack before Robert Snodgrass slid a shot wide. It was a terrific pattern of play from Leeds.At the other end, Burke found space again down the right, but Jonathan Spector was unable to connect with his cross despite a diving header.
Yet, despite looking a little off the pace, United still created the better chances, and after winning a couple of corners, Adam Clayton tested Boaz Myhill with a glove-stinging strike from distance which forced a terrific save from the home goalkeeper.Moments later, McCormack had a shot deflected wide while, on the break, Jean Beausejour had a low effort saved by Paul Rachubka.But it was Birmingham who went 1-0 up in the 36th minute. The ball initially came out from the home defence and after it came into the Leeds boss from the right, and wasn't cleared, Nikola Zigic was able to finsh off an untidy goal to give the hosts the advantage. Zigic was also denied by Rachubka in stoppage time.Leeds did threaten before half-time when Paul Connolly whipped in a cross from the right which was turned for a corner, From the set-play, Keogh headed over the bar. Connolly had to alert at the other end on the stroke of half-time to deal with Marlon King cross when Zigic was again closing in.The hosts, who were well organised and hard working, but with no real sparkle, started the second half in similar fashion with Leeds struggling to win possession and giving Birmingham too much of the ball.As the game ticked past the hour mark, Leeds were becoming starved of chances against a home side who were working hard and looking to move the ball quickly. The Blues moved the ball from back to front at pace, and Zigic almost profited from one such move when he fired wide.When the home side threatened again, Darren O'Dea hacked the ball away from King for a corner, but Leeds were slowly starting to show some urgency. Luciano Becchio and Lloyd Sam both came on as Grayson looked to shake things up a little, the latter coming on with just over 15 minutes left on the clock.Mika Vayrynen was also introduced with 14 minutes left, replacing Adam Clayton in the United midfield.United were hanging on the game in the hope of salvaging something, and Snodgrass tried his luck with a shot which went wide on 82 minutes.
Leeds were looking livelier and McCormack tested Myhill again with a vicious strike which the keeper had to make an instinctive save, palming the ball over the bar. There were also calls for a handball when a O'Dea fired in a far post header which was scrambled clear.In the final minute, the two substitutes combined, but Vayrynen couldn't keep his header from a Sam cross. Aty the other end, Rachubka had to make a great save to deny Zigic in stoppage time.
But it was to prove a frustrating evening for a Leeds side who never really go going against an average Birmingham outfit, and the unbeaten run came to an end in the West Midlands.

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