Birmingham City 1 Blackburn Rovers 0: Gleeson fires Blues back into the top six

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October 2, 2016 by Shane Ireland

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Stephen Gleeson scored his first goal of the season to earn Birmingham City all three points against Blackburn Rovers at St Andrew’s.

The Irish midfielder stroked home David Cotterill’s low cross just after the hour mark.

Gleeson had previously fired two shots over the bar before breaking the deadlock and Cotterill hit the post, while Adam Legzdins was forced into a good save to deny Marvin Emnes at the other end.

Blues are now unbeaten in seven and sit inside the top six, and manager Gary Rowett praised his side’s second-half display.
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“You can play against teams near the bottom who can turn you over. We have to be mindful of these teams,”said Rowett.

“We caused them problems but they caused us one or two. Our second half was better.

“We tend to start slowly but get stronger and that is testament to our experience and game management.

“The key moment for me was early in the second half when Adam Legzdins made a fantastic save from Marvin Emnes. It was a crucial save and we went away to score the winner.”

Rowett made two changes to his starting eleven, bringing in the goalscorer Gleeson for Maikel Kieftenbeld, and David Davis for Greg Stewart.

Davis was a key figure in Blues’ midfield in the first-half, thwarting a number of Blackburn attacks with interceptions and tackles.
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Che Adams shot just wide from the edge of the box and Jacques Maghoma inadvertently got in the way of Jonathan Grounds’ goal-bound header as Blues pushed but couldn’t quite take the lead in the opening 45 minutes.

Gleeson also spurned the first of his chances, shooting off target from inside the box.

Blackburn, meanwhile, should have been ahead heading into the break but Tommy Hoban headed over the crossbar from close range.

Gleeson missed another opportunity just five minutes into the second period, racing onto Maghoma’s cut-back but firing an effort over Jason Steele’s goal.

The visitors then had a chance of their own to take the lead. Marvin Emnes unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards which was spectacularly turned round the post by Legzdins.

But Blues continued to push for a goal, which came on 64 minutes. David Cotterill was sent down the right by Jonathan Spector and the Welshman delivered a pinpoint pass to Gleeson who was running in. The former MK Dons man picked his spot in the top left-hand corner to secure a deserved 1-0 win for the hosts.

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Made in Brum man of the match: David Cotterill

Birmingham: Legzdins, Spector, Morrison, Shotton, Grounds, Cotterill, Gleeson, Davis (Robinson 90 +0:43), Maghoma (Wiggins 85), Adams (Fabbrini 63), Jutkiewicz

Subs not used: Brown, Stewart, Trueman, Storer

Attendance: 16,781

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