Wovles vs Birmingham match report: Gary Rowett repairs restore Birmingham’s dignity

Wolves 0 Birmingham City 0

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The Independent Football

After the roof caved in on Birmingham City a week ago, the repair work began and new manager Gary Rowett proved himself an able labourer.

He erected a formidable barricade which promotion-chasing Wolves could not penetrate.

Their record 8-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth left Blues needing an urgent fix and the appointment of Rowett in midweek seemed to do the trick. The team which conceded five goals in a 27 minute spell found some structure and resilience to deny their opponents the chance of going clear at the top of the table – albeit for a few hours.

The new manager’s philosophy was a simple one. Forget what went on a week ago and start afresh. His players may have been bruised and battered but they took Rowett’s message on board and carried out his instructions.

“I never even mentioned the 8-0 defeat or what has happened here before,” said Rowett. “I told the players ‘you’ll be judged on what you do from now on.’ To come here and keep a clean sheet is a very good start. In the future we will need to show some more quality on the ball and create more chances.” To have reached half-time with a clean sheet was Rowett’s first achievement. His second, surviving a second half barrage from Wolves, was an even better accomplishment.

A solid first half defensive display built around the partnership of new on-loan signing from Charlton Michael Morrison and veteran Paul Robinson frustrated Wolves, who, not for the first time this season, suffered an attack of vertigo with the top of the table in sight.

The introduction of substitutes Bakary Sako, who started on the bench to protect a groin injury, and Dave Edwards brought the urgency and momentum which Wolves had lacked. Edwards chipped one effort onto the bar and had a header superbly saved by Darren Randolph and several times efforts flew across the Birmingham six yard box begging for a finishing touch.

A soaring header from defender Jonathan Grounds which brought Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme into serious action for the only time offered Birmingham their best effort but otherwise it was backs to the wall and the wall stood firm. “We came up against a well-organised and stubborn Birmingham rearguard and couldn’t break them down,” said Wolves manager Kenny Jackett. “We didn’t have that cutting edge in the final third. The emphasis was on us to get after them and we didn’t do it well enough.”      

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Ikeme; Doherty, Rowe, Batth, Ebanks-Landell; Jacobs (Edwards, 55), McDonald, Evans, Henry; Clarke (Sagbo, 78), McAlinden (Sako, 55).

Birmingham City (4-1-4-1): Randolph, Caddis, Grounds, Morrison, Robinson, Gleeson, Davis, Shinnie (Reilly, 65), Arthur (Shea, 65), Cotterill, Donaldson (Thomas, 76).

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Man of the match: Robinson (Birmingham City)

Match Rating: 6/10