August 14, 2016 by Shane Ireland
By Kane Styles
Birmingham City registered their first win of the new season with a solid display at Elland Road.
It was the home side who started on the frontfoot. A Pablo Hernandez corner deflected off Clayton Donaldson and the ball whistled just wide of the post. Leeds’ pressure almost paid off shortly after, forward Marcus Antonsson struck the crossbar after his initial effort was blocked by Jonathan Grounds.
But in the 15th minute, a sharp counterattack resulted in Blues taking the lead. The move was spearheaded by Jacques Maghoma who raced through the middle before passing to Stephen Gleeson, the Irishman then placed the ball through the heart of the Leeds defence before Maghoma beat the onrushing Robert Green to put Blues 1 up.
Blues’ lead almost doubled, Maghoma was again at the forefront of things when he burst inside from the left before layingoff David Cotterill who’s effort flew narrowly wide via a deflection off 18-year-old Ronaldo Vieira.
Maghoma was superb all afternoon, he was a constant threat and provided relief for Blues with his desire to break quickly from defensive areas.
Despite Blues enjoying a large majority of the play, Leeds managed to draw level. In the 27t hminute, Leeds loanee Hadi Sacko beat former Manchester United keeper’ Tomasz Kuszczak at his near post after he was able to get on the end of Alex Mowatt’s through ball.
Leeds almost went ahead just 5 minutes later, debutant Luke Ayling who signed from Bristol City on Thursday attempted an audacious 25-yard volley which stung the palms of the Blues ‘keeper.
Just before halftime, David Davis blasted a leftfooted effort wide after he beat two Leeds players. Davis was my man of the match on the day, he was enthusiastic, energetic and showed glimpses of real quality.
Blues looked excellent in the secondhalf. Rowett’s men were immediately on the attack when Stephen Gleeson drilled a low effort just wide of Green’s right post.
The early pressure Blues had in the secondhalf paid off, Michael Morrison blasted home from 7 yards after Leeds failed to clear a Jonathan Grounds cross from the left.
Leeds striker Chris Wood, formerly of Blues, was substituted by Monk and replaced by Kemar Roofe. This came as a bit of a relief for Blues in terms of the style Leeds would go on to play. Wood offered an imposing aerial threat, but with Marcus Antonsson not having that aerial presence, Leeds’ long balls in search of a chance were comfortably dealt with by the Blues defence.
But, Antonsson had a golden opportunity to take a share of the points when he was just 8yardsout but he could only fire straight at Tomasz Kuszczak.
Robert Tesche replaced the terrific David Davis and looked comfortable. Tesche showed composure and slowed the tempo of the game down when Leeds looked to up a gear.
The way in which Leeds looked vulnerable on the counter may have people wondering why Blues didn’t look to add to their two goals. Fabbrini, Che Adams and Greg Stewart were all unused substitutes and possibly could have added to Blues’ lead. Nevertheless, given that Blues were in a winning position, Gary Rowett was reluctant to change things.
On to Wigan on Tuesday where a win would see Blues have 7 points after just 3 games.