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Birmingham City 2 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 23rd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea get the Chong idea and lose 2-1 at Birmingham City
Saturday, 23rd Oct 2021 17:42 by Gruff Stephens

Tahith Chong earned a clear man of the match award at St Andrews this afternoon, despite the swans aiding the blues cause with as many misplaced passes than they have made in any game this season. Possibly in the last five at least. It wasn’t despite the swans efforts it was because of their efforts this game was lost. And it wasn’t pretty.

First off we can’t say that because the swans were so bad Birmingham won this game. The blues were first all over the park for the majority of the game, and when the second half gave us the goals both sides yearned Swansea just couldn’t step up their quality. The style of play we have seen over the past two games was missing, and the passing was so bad at times Birmingham must have thought a completely different team had put on the Swansea third kit, it was that bad. Birmingham City however were first to everything that was worth winning. Their decisive energy and rapid breaking down of anything worthy of being called a swans attack won this game. Bullied off the ball all afternoon, and out muscled when it really mattered this tactic gave the home side the victory. They deserved it too.

The first half was pretty dour, a blues goal was struck off for an offside when it looked okay to the majority of people in the ground, but even that lifeline did nothing to spur on Swansea, in fact they rarely threatened. Numerous corners were gained by the swans but nothing of any note came from any of them, they seemed devoid of ideas. Birmingham City were slightly the better side in the first half, they too would not have been that happy with their performance, however the green shoots seen in the first half would come to fruition in the second.

Lee Bowyers team took the game to the swans in the second period, Ethan Laird was shaky, Joel Latibeaudiere again not up to the mark and with Chong pulling the strings with Hogan and then McGee it was difficult to see anything other than a blues win. Hamer again kept the score down saving a hard drive from Chong and at the other end Swansea movement broke down time and time again. It must have given heart to the home team, and it did when Troy Deeney retained all of his composure to slot his team in to the lead.

Troy Deeney puts the blues one up this afternoon

If there is any good news from this game for Russell Martin it will be the mobility and pace of Michael Obafemi, who as expected was named as a sub and came on to try and get something from the game with fifteen minutes left. He immediately made an impact with a scuffed shot that went the wrong side of Sarkic’s post, then a lofted well executed pass put him through and he skilfully controlled the ball and fired the swans back in to the game. It was totally undeserved on the play we had witnessed so far, but a goal is a goal and the travelling away support packed in to the away end were delighted.

Michael Obafemi, a rare ray of light for the swans today

Swansea did try and dominate matters after that, and had it not been for consistent misplaced passes and noticeable weakness in the challenge things may well have turned out differently. Unfortunately, and on the balance of play the blues latched on to yet another Swansea defensive error and sub McGree slotted the ball home after frantic efforts by Ben Hamer to stop him doing so. It wasn’t good from the swans, but it was good from the blues, they deserved this win and Russell Martin has six good days now to analyse, understand and work out what went wrong today. The swans weren’t outclassed, they were just second best, and after an exciting week of dominating football matches today just seemed a step too far.

Russell Martin lives in the now, and it’s now he has to prepare his team for a home game next Saturday against Peterborough United who beat QPR 2-1 at home today. Sometimes the possession stats don’t tell the tale of the game, the swans had seventy two per cent today, but the only stat that mattered was Birmingham City’s two goals.

Birmingham City: Sarkic; Sanderson, Roberts, Friend; Graham, Sunjic, Gardner, Pedersen; Chong*, Hogan (McGree 63), Deeney (C) (Aneke 85).

Subs not used: Etheridge, Woods, Jutkiewicz, Dean, Sanchez.

Goals: Deeney 47, McGree 82

Yellow cards: 🟨 Gardner 51, McGree 93

* Man of the match. Chong.

Swansea City: Hamer; Bennett, Naughton, Manning; Laird, Smith (Obafemi 57), Grimes (C), Latibeaudiere; Paterson, Ntcham (Walsh 62); Piroe (Cullen 71).

Subs not used: Benda, Williams, Cabango, Fulton.

Goal: Obafemi 77

Yellow card: 🟨 Bennett 52, fourth of the season.

Referee: Oliver Langford 7/10

Attendance: 16,132 (1,653 away) **

** Swans official sold well in excess of this amount of tickets so we will query that figure this week. Regardless, they deserved far more than the swans served up today.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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