Birmingham City 1-0 Blackpool: Heroes, villains & player ratings as super-sub Juke saves the day

Lukas Jutkiewicz’s late goal sealed the three points for Lee Bowyer’s side

Substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz’s 81st minute header was enough to hand Birmingham City their first win in four games at a freezing cold St Andrew’s.

Blues started well and nearly opened the scoring within 30 seconds when Jeremie Bela’s fierce strike rippled the side netting.

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Kristian Pedersen then forced a fingertip save from Daniel Grimshaw after he was the first to Marc Roberts’ long throw.

But as the half progressed Lee Bowyer’s side got gradually worse and Blackpool began easing their way into the game - Gary Madine & Demetri Mitchell both going close for the visitors.

It wasn’t until the hour mark when either side fashioned a chance in the second-half and it should have resulted in a goal.

Scott Hogan found himself through on goal but got the ball caught under his feet and the chance went begging yet again.

And just as the game looked to be petering out for a dull 0-0, up popped substitute Jutkiewicz to head home and hand the Blues a precious three points.

It wasn’t the prettiest game of the year but a win is a win - Birmingham move up to 16th in the Championship table.

Lukas Jutkiewicz of Birmingham City (10) scoring their first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Blackpool

Heroes

  • Jordan James

After being thrown into the deep end over the course of the last few weeks due to the lack of bodies at Bowyer’s disposal, Jordan James was given his first senior start against Blackpool.

And he only went and repaid the manager’s faith with an assist for Jutkiewicz’s winner. Not a bad day’s work, kid.

  • Lukas Jutkiewicz

The substitution raised a few eye-brows when it was first made - Jutkiewicz on for Deeney when the Blues needed a goal.

But it showed why Bowyer earns the big bucks as it turned out to be the one that won the game for the home side.

Blackpool struggled to get near Jutkiewicz following his introduction and he was in the right place at the right time to muscle his way past the Tangerines back-line and head home James’ flick-on.

Villains

  • Weather

I can’t feel my fingers.

Winter certainly introduced itself to Birmingham this afternoon. The snow had cleared up by the time the game got underway at 3PM but the brisk winds were making themselves known.

Fair play to everyone that traveled to St Andrew’s today.

  • Corner flag

It just didn’t do it’s job today unfortunately.

Didn’t deal with the conditions very well and kept falling over - the referee even had to stop the game at one point and ordered Matija Sarkic to prop it up.

Shocker.

A view of a corner flag at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, home of Birmingham City prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Blackpoo

Player ratings

Birmingham City (3-4-1-2): Sarkic 7; Pedersen 7, Roberts 6.5, Sanderson 6.5; Graham 6, James 7.5*, Sunjic 6, Bela 6.5 (65’ Aneke 6); McGree 6.5; Deeney 6 (75’ Jutkiewicz 7.5), Hogan 6

Blackpool (4-2-3-1): Grimshaw 6; James 6, Husband 6, Ekpiteta 6, Sterling 6; Connolly 6, Dougall 6; Anderson 6.5, Dale 6 (75’ Lavery N/A), Mitchell 6 (67’ Bowler 7) Madine 6 (83’ Yates N/A)

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