Birmingham City 3-0 Bristol City: Heroes, villains & player ratings as Blues down Robins

Birmingham put on a relentless attacking display against Bristol City on Tuesday evening

Birmingham City made it three wins in a row and four unbeaten in the league with an impressive 3-0 victory over Bristol City on Tuesday night.

Riley McGree, Scott Hogan and Gary Gardner all got their names on the score-sheet as Blues moved to within two points of the Championship play-off places.

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Gary Gardner of Birmingham City is congratulated after scoring their third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Bristol City at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium

Birmingham started well and as soon as Riley McGree’s deflected effort found the back of the net in the 14th minute, there was only going to be one winner.

Jeremie Bela and Scott Hogan both went close to adding to the lead for the hosts whilst the visitors struggled to muster up anything in Blues’ final third.

After the break it was more of the same, Hogan again fired inches wide and probably thought it was going to be one of those days.

But the forward finally got his goal just after the hour mark. A route one ball from Matija Sarkic was nodded on by Troy Deeney and Hogan finished brilliantly past the on-rushing Daniel Bentley.

Gary Gardner added the icing on the cake for Blues when he guided a lovely header past Bentley from a pinpoint Jordan Graham cross.

The result moves Lee Bowyer’s side up to 13th and just two points off the top six. All aboard?

Heroes

  • Riley McGree

Why on Earth did it take so long for this guy to get into the team this season?

His goal may have had a touch of fortune to it but his all round performance certainly didn’t. He was everywhere.

A threat going forward and solid in defence - he’s been key to the recent change in fortunes at St Andrew’s.

  • Troy Deeney

Deeney said it himself during the bad run - the run started when he had just got into the team so he was seeing part of the blame.

Well he’s now proving to everyone that he was blameless all along. His recent performances reflect those of the team - hardworking, full of fight and with a little bit of magic just for good measure.

No goals for the striker tonight but two valuable assists.

  • Formation

The formation again was something that saw criticism during the poor run of form but tonight it was pivotal in the torment Bristol City found themselves on the end of.

Jordan Graham and Jeremie Bela were both absolutely superb at wing-back, the former getting a well deserved assist to his name for Gardner’s goal.

The three centre-halves were faultless all night and even when Harlee Dean was introduced, nothing was disrupted and the team stood strong without having to actually do all that much defensively.

Troy Deeney of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Bristol City at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium

Villains

  • Charlotte FC

Ah, McGree’s parent club.

Tonight once again proved just how important the Australian has been to this recent revival and nobody wants to see him return to Charlotte in January.

Do everyone a favour and turn yourself a hero, Charlotte. Let him stay until the end of the season.

  • Time

Time was a villain tonight. Why? Because no Bluenose wanted that game to end.

It was a dominant performance from start to finish and the majority inside St Andrew’s would have been happy to sit back and watch a little more of tonight’s match.

The good news is, it’s only a few more days until the Blues are back home - Reading the visitors this Saturday.

Player ratings

Birmingham (3-4-1-2): Sarkic 7; Sanderson 7 (45’ Dean 7), Roberts 7, Friend 8; Graham 8.5 (84’ James N/A), Bela 8.5, Gardner 8, Sunjic 7; McGree 9*; Deeney 9 (73’ Jutkiewicz N/A), Hogan 9