October 14, 2017 by Kane Styles.
The stage was set; Steve Cotterill’s first game as Birmingham City manager, under the lights and in front of the Sky cameras at St. Andrews.
The game didn’t disappoint. Blues put on an organised, disciplined and professional performance against Neil Warnock’s league-leaders Cardiff. Che Adams’ first-half solo effort was enough to secure all three points for Cotterill’s Blues.
The returns of Maikel Kieftenbeld, Marc Roberts and Che Adams were pivotal. Harlee Dean was benched and Roberts’ performance justified that decision, he didn’t look in a spot of bother all evening.
Talking of being comfortable all game, it’s hard to think that we were a misplaced signature away from selling Maikel Kieftenbeld for less than £1 million. For me, the Dutchman should have been awarded man of the match. He broke up play, ran tirelessly and provided support when the time was right. A top performance from a man who deserves a place at Birmingham City football club.
Che Adams looked as lively as ever. He has a healthy habit of running direct at players, and this was the reason he marked his return with a deserved goal. He is Blues’ top scorer this season with four.
Adams’ fellow attacker, Isaac Vassell, won man of the match. His energy and work ethic warranted a goal which he came close to getting on two occasions. His left footed effort from inside the 18-yard-box was saved, and Davis’ inviting cross was perfectly set-up for Vassell to head home but it was brilliantly cut-out by Sean Morrison. A good shift on his first championship start.
Like many on the night, Cheick Ndoye enjoyed his best game in a Birmingham City shirt so far. He dominated his aerial battles and launched counter-attacks. Quite surprisingly he played in a more advanced role and he didn’t look out of place. Coincidentally, Ndoye scored a 30-yard screamer in his last game for his country, Senegal. More to come from him.
Overall, a solid performance which would please any new manager after coming off the back of a 6-1 defeat. The back four of; Grounds, Roberts, Morrison and the brilliant Maxime Colin were sensational.
Cardiff, who have one of the best strikers in the division in Zohore, didn’t have a single shot on target. It’s remarkable what an injection of belief and motivation can achieve.