Championship
BirminghamBirmingham City2ReadingReading1

Birmingham City 2-1 Reading: Lee Bowyer's Blues beat high-riding Royals

Birmingham City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz had not scored since his penalty in the 1-1 draw at Luton on 24 November
Birmingham City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz had not scored since his penalty in the 1-1 draw at Luton on 24 November

Birmingham City gave their Championship survival hopes a massive boost as they held out against Reading to earn victory for new boss Lee Bowyer in his first match in charge.

In a game of three headed goals, Lukas Jutkiewicz's early strike gave Blues the lead, only for Yakou Meite to equalise at the far post from a right-wing corner.

But Blues skipper Harlee Dean muscled home a superb 12-yard match-winning header on 71 minutes.

That earned City only their fourth home win of the season - and lifts them six points clear of the bottom three.

Reading's first defeat in five games was their second of the season by Blues, who also won 2-1 at Madejski Stadium in December.

It drops them a place to sixth in the table, below in-form Barnsley who won again at bottom club Wycombe.

Reading had won three of their past four away league games against Birmingham City, but they were always likely to face a fired-up Blues side on the back of a timely dose of 'new manager bounce'.

After going four months without a home win, Blues' victory in Lee Bowyer's first game in charge was actually their second in less than three weeks
After going four months without a home win, Blues' victory in Lee Bowyer's first game in charge was actually their second in less than three weeks

Although Bowyer had only been officially unveiled only 24 hours before, he had already enough time to realise that the restoration of target man Jutkiewicz might prove a big factor.

Recalled to the starting line-up following the miserable 3-0 home defeat by Bristol City which proved the end for Aitor Karanka, Jutkiewicz took just four minutes to make his mark.

From Jeremie Bela's left-wing cross, he fearlessly arrived at the far post to climb over the Reading defence and power home a diving header.

A classic old-fashioned centre-forward's goal - his 50th for the club, but only his third this season, his second from open play and his first in almost four months.

Reading were level on 35 minutes when home keeper Neil Etheridge should have done better with Michael Olise's right-wing cross, allowing Meite the chance to head his eighth goal of the season.

But he made amends with a double second-half save - and it proved to be Dean who settled the outcome, a happier outcome than when he got sent off at Reading in December.

Blues now go to second-placed Watford on Saturday, when Reading host QPR.

Birmingham City head coach Lee Bowyer told BBC WM:

"The lads have obviously been in a bad place for a while now and so it's just pleasing to see them with smiles on faces.

"From the front two, the four in midfield and the four behind them, we were outstanding. It was a real team effort.

"If I'm being really picky we could have got a clean sheet, but we looked hungrier and we wanted to win.

"Reading are a good side but our shape and our workrate limited them and we controlled it. They had possession, but it wasn't really hurting us."

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic told BBC Berkshire:

"We lacked urgency. Nine games left, There is no time to lose. We have nine finals starting on Saturday against QPR, which is going to be another war.

"We have to bounce back and show our best possible face after. But I know I have winners.

"Being contenders brings another level of application and mentality. We are confident, but not convinced yet."

Line-ups

Birmingham

Formation 4-4-2

  • 30Etheridge
  • 2ColinBooked at 22mins
  • 4Roberts
  • 12Dean
  • 3Pedersen
  • 35HalilovicSubstituted forSeddonat 87'minutes
  • 20GardnerBooked at 28minsSubstituted forSunjicat 63'minutes
  • 24Harper
  • 11BelaSubstituted forLekoat 63'minutes
  • 10JutkiewiczSubstituted forCosgroveat 72'minutes
  • 9Hogan

Substitutes

  • 1Prieto
  • 5Friend
  • 14Leko
  • 16Cosgrove
  • 17Sánchez
  • 18McGree
  • 19San José
  • 34Sunjic
  • 42Seddon

Reading

Formation 4-3-1-2

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 17Yiadom
  • 29Holmes
  • 6Moore
  • 3Richards
  • 30SemedoSubstituted forRinomhotaat 77'minutes
  • 5McIntyre
  • 28LaurentSubstituted forEjariaat 73'minutes
  • 7Olise
  • 11MeiteSubstituted forPuscasat 70'minutes
  • 18Lucas João

Substitutes

  • 2Pontes Esteves
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 9Baldock
  • 14Ejaria
  • 15Gibson
  • 22Southwood
  • 24Aluko
  • 34Tetek
  • 47Puscas
Referee:
Andy Woolmer

Match Stats

Home TeamBirminghamAway TeamReading
Possession
Home33%
Away67%
Shots
Home13
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away2
Fouls
Home15
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Birmingham City 2, Reading 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Birmingham City 2, Reading 1.

  3. Post update

    Hand ball by Jonathan Leko (Birmingham City).

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sam Cosgrove (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Foul by George Puscas (Reading).

  6. Post update

    Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Birmingham City. Steve Seddon replaces Alen Halilovic.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ovie Ejaria (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom McIntyre.

  9. Post update

    Andy Rinomhota (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City).

  11. Post update

    Foul by Tom McIntyre (Reading).

  12. Post update

    Sam Cosgrove (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Michael Olise (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Tom McIntyre.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Birmingham City. Kristian Pedersen tries a through ball, but Alen Halilovic is caught offside.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Andy Rinomhota replaces Alfa Semedo.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jonathan Leko (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Rekeem Harper.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Ovie Ejaria replaces Josh Laurent.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Birmingham City. Sam Cosgrove replaces Lukas Jutkiewicz because of an injury.

  19. Goal!

    Goal! Birmingham City 2, Reading 1. Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Tom McIntyre.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich37257555262982
2Watford37219752262672
3Swansea36209745281769
4Brentford361910764382667
5Barnsley37197114840864
6Reading371871251401161
7Bournemouth3716111055371859
8Middlesbrough37168134638856
9Cardiff3715101254371755
10Millwall371116103736149
11Stoke371213124142-149
12QPR361310133842-449
13Bristol City37154183948-949
14Luton36138153041-1147
15Blackburn37129164941845
16Preston37135193948-944
17Huddersfield37119174152-1142
18Nottm Forest371011162937-841
19Derby371010172741-1440
20Coventry36911163248-1638
21Birmingham37911172847-1938
22Rotherham3395193647-1132
23Sheff Wed3698192646-2029
24Wycombe3768232561-3626
View full Championship table

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