Match: Birmingham City v Aston Villa
Date Sunday 10th March 2019
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Venue: St. Andrew’s
Steer; Elmohamady, Mings, Hause, Taylor; Whelan (McGinn), Hourihane, Grealish (Bjarnason); Adomah (Green), Abraham, El Ghazi. UNUSED SUBS: Kalinic, Jedinak, Kodjia, Davis.
Story in brief
Jack Grealish was the hero on derby day in the Second City as his goal was enough for Villa in a 1-0 win against Birmingham City at St. Andrew’s.
A cagey first half yielded little in the way of clear-cut action in front of goal with the better chances arguably falling to the visitors.
Grealish’s invention on the edge of the box saw him slip a neat through ball into the path of Anwar El Ghazi inside the area but the Dutchman’s shot was turned behind by Lee Camp.
Minutes later, Tammy Abraham directed a bouncing ball over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
At the other end, Che Adams’ snapshot whistled past the upright but neither side could break the deadlock in the first forty-five.
The second half began with Grealish and Lukas Jutkiewicz both exchanging efforts off target for their respective sides.
The introduction of John McGinn and Andre Green from the subs bench almost brought about an immediate reward, the former clipping a pass into Grealish who crossed for the latter but his diving header from close range was blocked by a defender.
Minutes later, McGinn was involved again, turning a ball out to the left wing where it was eventually fed into Grealish. The midfielder advanced into the box and picked out the bottom corner of the net with a left-footed shot to give the visitors the lead.
Grealish then nearly turned provider for Conor Hourihane who rattled the crossbar with a first-time effort from the edge of the box.
As the Blues pushed for an equaliser, former Villan Craig Gardner was presented with an opportunity to level but blasted over from inside the box. The midfielder spurned another chance in stoppage time, heading wide from a corner.
On his first derby day encounter at St. Andrew’s, Jack Grealish proved to be the difference between the two sides as his goal on 67 minutes was enough to settle matters.
Drifting into the box from a position on the left-hand side, he struck a firm left-footed effort across goal that beat the dive of Lee Camp before nestling in the bottom corner.
Cue scenes of jubilation in the away end.
The 1-0 victory over Blues means that Villa complete a league double over their near-neighbours this season having run out 4-2 winners at Villa Park earlier in the campaign.
It’s a quick turnaround for Dean Smith’s men.
On Wednesday evening, the claret and blues head to Nottingham Forest before welcoming Middlesbrough to B6 next Saturday afternoon.