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Report: Blues 1 West Bromwich Albion 1

As so often has been the case this season, Garry Monk's side did more than enough to claim all three points and should be proud of their efforts against a West Brom side tipped for promotion.

BCFC

It somehow ended honours even between Blues and West Bromwich Albion at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on Friday evening with each side netting a first-half goal apiece to share the spoils.

But as so often has been the case this season, Garry Monk's side did more than enough to claim all three points and should be proud of their efforts against a West Brom side tipped for promotion.

Jota fired Blues ahead on 27 minutes with Matt Phillips levelling just before the break for the Baggies.

In between the two goals, Jota was guilty of missing a penalty as he saw his spot-kick saved by Sam Johnstone just 120 seconds after he opened the scoring.

Blues game plan, work rate, organisation could hardly be faulted and the amount of chances created was again high. It was just that killer touch that was needed.

Some of the football that caused Albion's defence recurring nightmares was of quality; again further positives of the way Monk has got his group together and in synch, despite the frustration of the wait for that first victory.

Blues fashioned their first opening after just 90 seconds when Jota ran on towards the Albion area before trying his luck with a low shot which was comfortably held by Sam Johnstone.

And it took just a further two minutes for both sets of fans to join in a rousing song about their near neighbours Aston Villa.

The opening period of game continued to be competitive with much of the action taking place in the middle third of the pitch and both sides attempting to find a way through their opponents back lines.

Jota needed to be alert to head Harvey Barnes' dangerous cross away from just in front of his own far post.

With just over a quarter of an hour gone Jacques Maghoma won a free-kick in a dangerous position just in front of the Albion penalty box, but his curling effort was deflected behind for a corner.

Blues were given a scare when Phillips' low cross found Dwight Gayle, but the Baggies frontman was just off target with his chipped effort which had eluded Lee Camp.

Phillips himself then tried his luck with a piledriver of a shot from long-range which was not too far away.

But it was Blues that broke the deadlock in the 27th minute.

Gary Gardner swung in a deep ball towards the far post where Lukas Jutkiewicz rose highest and headed it back across the front of the goal for Jota to stab the ball home from a tight angle.

Blues should have made it 2-0 just two minutes later when the referee adjudged that Kyle Bartley had handled the ball in his own area.

Jota stepped up and hit it reasonably well but not far enough away from Johnstone and the Albion stopper was able to get a hand to it and push it away at full stretch.

With Blues looking the more likely side to extend their advantage, it was the visitors that found a leveller on 39 through Phillips.

But the hosts could and should have done much better in the build-up.

Phillips’ initial cross was not cleared properly, and the Albion man was able to collect the ball and drill it home from just six yards.

Blues should have regained the lead just before the break when a golden opportunity dropped to Che Adams.

But with the goal at his mercy, the Blues striker blasted a left-footed effort over the bar.

Half-time: Blues 1 West Brom 1

Blues started the second period kicking towards the Tilton Road end of the stadium.

Some neat attacking play involving Maxime Colin, Maghoma and Adams culminated in Adams firing towards goal, but Johnstone did excellently to save low down with the ball heading towards the far corner of the net.

At the other end of the pitch Camp produced an even finer left-handed save to somehow thwart Harvey Barnes.

The game was becoming to ramp up another level with both sides getting stuck in as they looked to find an advantage.

And Blues very nearly did just that as Adams pulled the ball back for Maghoma, but the Blues winger was just off target with his diving header.

Jota was next to his luck as he ran on with the ball at pace but just as he reached the edge of the Albion box he blasted his shot well over the bar.

The game threatened to boil over on 68 when Kieftenbeld bundled Barnes over and was yellow carded for his troubles.

Blues made their first change of the evening in the 73rd minute with Omar Bogle sent on in place of Adams alongside Jutkiewicz.

Blues were dominating much of the attacking play and Jota had a decent opportunity after Adams found him with a back-heeled pass, but the tricky winger failed to make the most of the opening and was unable to get his shot on target.

Blues were fortunate not to concede following a desperate goalmouth scramble in the final five minutes.Dwight Gayle's attempt struck the bar before and Barnes' follow-up was denied by Camp and the ball eventually cleared from inside the Blues area.

Blues: Lee Camp, Kristian Pedersen, Maxime Colin, Maikel Kieftenbeld, Che Adams (Omar Bogle, 73), Lukas Jutkiewicz (Viv Solomon-Otabor, 85), Harlee Dean, Jacques Maghoma, Gary Gardner, Jota, Michael Morrison.

Subs not used: Connal Trueman, Marc Roberts, Connor Mahoney, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Charlie Lakin, Wes Harding.

Bookings: Kieftenbeld (68), Dean (73)

Goals: Jota (27).

West Brom: Sam Johnstone, Kyle Bartley, Jake Livermore, Matt Phillips, Chris Brunt (Gareth Barry, 78), Conor Townsend, Harvey Barnes, Dwight Gayle, Jay Rodriguez (Hal Robson-Kanu, 74), Craig Dawson, Ahmed Hegazi.

Subs not used: Boaz Myhill, Kieran Gibbs, Ollie Burke, Kyle Edwards, Tosin Adarabioyo.

Bookings: None.

Goals: Phillips (39)

Referee: Andrew Madley.

Attendance: 22,715 (2,984 West Brom fans). 

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