COOL HAND LUK GROUNDS OWLS

Rowett’s changes in­spire vic­tory at the very last

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

FOR­TUNE favoured the brave as sub­sti­tute Lukas Jutkiewicz’s 93rd-minute header sent Birm­ing­ham soar­ing into the play-off places.

Jutkiewicz looped a deft­ly­timed header be­yond Owls goal­keeper Keiren West­wood from a bril­liant cross by Jac­ques Maghoma barely 60 sec­onds af­ter At­dhe Nuhiu thumped the bar at the other end.

Vic­tory was richly de­served af­ter striker Clay­ton Don­ald­son’s penalty can­celled out Gary Hooper’s 76th minute goal that came against the run of the sec­ond-half play.

Owls man­ager Car­los Car­val­hal said: “We came here to win, to play our foot­ball and cre­ate our chances and we did. We had a lot of clear chances in the first half and I don’t re­mem­ber our goal­keeper mak­ing a save.

“In the sec­ond half we were still try­ing to win – that’s why we brought on Gary Hooper who made it 1-0. “I don’t talk about ref­er­ees’ de­ci­sions but I had a chat with him on the pitch at the end. “I am very proud of my play­ers and the fans and we ran to the end. You have to say con­grat­u­la­tions to Birm­ing­ham but that’s foot­ball.” Owls im­pressed in the open­ing 25 min­utes with their fluid pass­ing style be­fore Birm­ing­ham eased them out of their stride and got back into the game be­fore half-time. Fer­nando Forestieri had the clear­est sight of goal in the sev­enth minute af­ter a near pass from Steve Fletcher only for goal­keeper Adam Legzdins to nar­row the an­gle and block his shot. Barry Ban­non’s ad­ven­tur­ous chip drifted nar­rowly over, Al­men Abdi flashed a header onto the roof of the net and

de­fender Ryan Shot­ton made a cou­ple of good blocks as Brum had to weather a storm.

A mist­imed tackle from skip­per Glenn Loovens on Maghoma had the Blues ap­peal­ing for a penalty. The Owls es­caped but the pat­tern of the half changed from that flash­point.

Che Adams volleyed Maghoma’s cross over and Don­ald­son be­gan to make in­roads, win­ning a free-kick from which West­wood saved from Maghoma and then vol­ley­ing wildly over.

Birm­ing­ham re­tained the ini­tia­tive af­ter the break with West­wood mak­ing a cou­ple of solid saves in the open­ing five min­utes from Maikel Kieften­beld and Maghoma.

Don­ald­son then shot wide from an acute an­gle be­fore a su­perb piece of skill by Fletcher. He flicked the ball to Hooper – de­spite be­ing on the ground – giv­ing the for­mer Celtic striker the chance to open the scor­ing.

Don­ald­son’s drive res­cued Blues five min­utes later as his pace lured West­wood into a des­per­ate chal­lenge. Con­tact was prob­a­bly min­i­mal but the striker calmly con­verted the spot kick, and then came Jutkiewicz’s in­ter­ven­tion.

Blues man­ager Gary Rowett said: “We don’t come back from be­hind too of­ten – so that made it an even big­ger vic­tory for us.

“We should have had a stonewall penalty in the first half. The ref­eree was only four yards away but didn’t give it.

“I felt the Wed­nes­day goal came against the run of play but Clay­ton put on the burn­ers and got us back in the game. He has taken re­spon­si­bil­ity with the penalty be­fore Lukas came up with his elu­sive goal.”

PARTY TIME: Birm­ing­ham cel­e­brate their late win­ner

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