As always with a derby against Birmingham City, tensions and emotions were mixed on the morning of the game. Some excited while others were nervous. Various fans congregated in different areas of the City for a beer breakfast before making their way to St Andrew’s.
Steve Bruce selected the same starting eleven that had beat Fulham a week before at Villa Park with Mile Jedinak returning to the matchday squad but only on the bench.
The game kicked off and in truth, it was a pretty poor game of football. Villa supporters would have expected so much more while I would expect most Birmingham fans would have taken a share of the points before kick off.
Villa looked the better side to start with but Birmingham grew into the game as the minute’s tickets by on the clock.
In fact, Birmingham was nearly gifted the lead just after the half-hour mark when Sam Johnstone’s clearance hit Isaac Vassell but the rebound went just wide of the post to spare the keepers blushes.
Birmingham continued to get stronger and should have taken the lead a few minutes after the break. Conor Hourihane’s back pass was intercepted by Jota and he raced through for a one on one with Johnstone only to blaze his chance over the bar.
The next chance fell to Villa just after the hour mark. Albert Adomah’s cross found Jonathan Kodjia’s head and the ball looked destined for the top corner only for him to be denied by keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Villa began to come back into the game after that chance and started to push Birmingham further back.
John Terry headed a Hourihane free kick just wide of the post and both Kodjia and Keinan Davis rattled the Birmingham crossbar in the space of a couple of minutes.
It wasn’t to be though and a draw was probably a fair result for both sides. Villa would have been disappointed as they were off their game and I thought Birmingham did a lot better than I expected.
Now Villa turns their attention to Preston on Wednesday and will hope to remain in the playoff positions.
Steve Bruce: “I think we were better when we made the changes. Physically it was important we stood up to the barrage they had, then the longer the game goes on you’re hoping you can produce a bit of quality at the top end of the pitch.”
Steve Cotterill: “I just said to the players that I love them all. I didn’t like them last weekend but I still loved them, now I’m back to loving them all again. We could have won it, I know they’ve hit the bar with a couple of chances but they were on the counter-attack, I thought we were the better side in the second half but the stoppage in the game slowed us down a bit.”