Report: Blues 0-2 Middlesbrough
Blues were beaten by Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday night.
Despite having the better of the opening knockings, Blues fell behind to an unfortunate Nico Gordon own goal.
Neil Etheridge saved an early Paddy McNair penalty in the second-half, but could do nothing about Folarin Balogun's second.
Kristian Pedersen was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence to add to a disappointing night for Lee Bowyer's side.
The Head Coach made four changes to the side that drew with Hull City on Saturday. Teden Mengi, Taylor Richards, Ryan Woods and Lukas Jutkiewicz came in for Ivan Sunjic, Tahith Chong, Juninho Bacuna and Lyle Taylor. The fixture also marked Jutkiewicz' 250th appearance for Blues.
Blues started brightly and created the first opportunity of the match. Jordan Graham delivered a searching cross to the back post where Jutkiewicz was waiting to head back across goal. Gary Gardner attempted a shot on the turn, but it ricocheted out to Richards who saw his shot blocked and eventually cleared.
That spell of pressure carved another opening when Onel Hernandez charged forward from just inside the Boro half, but his pass across goal just evaded the sliding Jutkiewicz.
It was then the towering striker who brought the ball down and fed through Pedersen, but his powerful strike hit the side netting.
Despite the home side's early chances, it was Chris Wilder's side that took the lead. Anfernee Dijksteel burst into the area and fired low towards Aaron Connolly, his initial effort was saved by Neil Etheridge before, unfortunately, bouncing back off Gordon and across the line.
HALF-TIME: Blues 0-1 Middlesbrough
Boro were handed the opportunity to double their lead five minutes into the second-half when Richards was adjudged to have tripped Isaiah Jones inside the area.
Paddy McNair stepped up, but Etheridge made a superb save to palm the ball onto the post, before the ball trickled along the face of the goal and away from danger.
However, itt was the visitors who doubled their advantage. Arsenal loanee Balogun was afforded space on the edge of the area and expertly bended the ball beyond the reach of Etheridge.
Blues were then reduced to ten men late on as Pedersen was shown a second yellow card after the Dane pulled Jones back on the edge of the area.
It was Boro's opener, through a Gordon own goal, that halted Blues' early momentum and turned the game in favour of the visitors.
Blues remain on 41 points from their 38 Sky Bet Championship matches.
Blues (3-5-2): Neil Etheridge, Nico Gordon, Marc Roberts, Teden Mengi (Scott Hogan 33), Jordan Graham, Gary Gardner (captain) (Juninho Bacuna 76), Ryan Woods, Taylor Richards (Tahith Chong 55), Kristian Pedersen, Onel Hernandez, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Substitutes not used: Zach Jeacock, Maxime Colin, Jeremie Bela, Ivan Sunjic.
Bookings: Pedersen 40 and sent off 86, Hernandez 80.
Middlesbrough (3-5-2): Joe Lumley, Anfernee Dijksteel, Paddy McNair, Dael Fry, Isaiah Jones (Lee Peltier 88), Matt Crooks, Jonny Howson (captain), Marcus Tavernier, Neil Taylor (Marc Bola 67), Folarin Balogun (Duncan Watmore 80), Aaron Connolly.
Substitutes not used: Luke Daniels, Sol Bamba, Caolan Boyd-Munce, Josh Coburn.
Booking: Crooks 90.
Referee: Darren Bond
A trip to South Wales comes next for Blues as they take on Swansea City this Saturday, kick-off 3pm. The fixture will be the side's last fixture before the first Men's European international break of 2022.