HIGH-FLYING ROBINS ARE LEFT FEELING THE BLUES...
Maghoma seals comeback win
BRISTOL CITY were brought back down to earth with a bang yesterday despite taking the lead at Birmingham after just 48 seconds.
There was plenty of tension between both sets of fans before a ball had even been kicked due to the ongoing transfer saga surrounding Aden Flint.
It has been no secret over the summer that the Blues are interested in signing the City centre-half, and as he was left out of Lee Johnson’s match-day squad it has only stoked the fire.
Despite Flint’s likely departure there is still plenty of reason for optimism for Robins supporters, of whom 1,943 made the journey to St Andrews.
New signing Famara Diedhiou continues to show signs he is capable of filling the void left by last season’s top-scorer Tammy Abraham, despite not being able to add to his debut goal on the opening day against Barnsley.
Fellow new signing and Sweden Under-21 midfielder Niclas Eliasson came off the bench to make his debut despite only receiving international clearance from FIFA yesterday morning.
Bristol City manager Lee Johnson said: “For 65 per cent of the time I was happy with our performance but the other 35 per cent got sloppy and saw it slip away
from us. If we play like that for the next 44 matches then we’ll win more than we lose.
“As good as our play was, and as many chances as we created, we haven’t tucked them away. I don’t want to be critical of my team because I thought we played some outstanding stuff. I’ll go and pick (the players) up, they’re down but they don’t need to be.
“Aden Flint’s situation is the same. I want players fully committed to Bristol City; the door is still open.”
Bobby Reid’s opener was the Robins’ ninth goal of season following comprehensive 3-1 and 5-0 wins over Barnsley and Plymouth respectively.
But the goal only seemed to spur Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham side into life, and they were level after half-an-hour when Craig Gardner’s low drive from the edge of the box beat Frank Fielding.
Jacques Maghoma won it for the Blues deep into the second half with the pick of the afternoon’s goals. He collected a throw-in from the left, burst inside and fired the ball past Frank Fielding to send St Andrews into raptures.
Birmingham substitute Maikel Kieftenbeld piled the pressure on his team-mates deep in the second half when he received a second yellow card for a late challenge which did look harsh on the Blues midfielder.
Under the management of Redknapp, Birmingham are being tipped to push for promotion and make a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2011.
But big improvements will need to be made in the transfer market if that is the case. Redknapp has already been busy and with plenty of time still left in the summer window, don’t expect the Blues to be finished with their business.
“They worked hard, they were incredible,” said Redknapp when asked about his players’ performance. “I can’t fault them, they worked tremendously hard and got a result that needed guts.
“I made the changes at halftime to try and thicken up our midfield and stop them coming through us.
“City looked very dangerous going forward and caught us off guard a little bit, but once we had settled into the game I backed my players to go and get something .
“I’m excited for the season ahead but we aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves. We look forward to Bolton on Tuesday now.”
JOB DONE: Jacques Maghoma, right, wheels away after scoring Birmingham’s winner
LEVELLER: Craig Gardner scores Birmingham City’s equalising goal after Bobby Reid, inset, had Bristol City ahead in the first minute