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Match Reports

Birmingham City 1 Albion 1

14 September 2018

ALBION shared the derby spoils with neighbours Birmingham City following a 1-1 draw at the St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Jota put the hosts ahead from close range midway through the first half and the Baggies were indebted to Sam Johnstone just minutes later as he saved the Spaniard's penalty - the third spot-kick he has faced this season without conceding.

But Albion levelled courtesy of Matt Phillips before the interval and, despite seeing the hosts largely dominate the second period, held firm in what was the first league meeting between the two sides for seven years.

The visitors almost secured the spoils late on as Dwight Gayle rattled the crossbar, with a hard-fought Sky Bet Championship encounter ending all-square across the midlands.

Darren Moore made one change from the starting XI who triumphed against Stoke prior to the international break, Conor Townsend making his full league debut in place of Kieran Gibbs, who had been struggling with a virus.

A finely-balanced opening quarter was largely played out in the middle third as both defences dominated, with Dwight Gayle flicking an effort into the side-netting when found by Phillips after 18 minutes.

Phillips then flashed a strike narrowly wide himself shortly afterwards but it was Blues who took the lead in the 26th minute.

Gary Gardner's long ball was headed back across goal by Lukas Jutkiewicz and Jota was on hand to convert from close range.

It could have been worse for the Baggies just three minutes later but Johnstone did superbly to save Jota's spot-kick after Kyle Bartley was adjudged to have handled in the area.

And the save proved crucial as Albion levelled six minutes before the break, Phillips embarking on a mazy run down the right, riding a challenge, before composing himself to convert from eight yards.

Che Adams blazed over a clear-cut chance to put the hosts back in front just before the interval as an entertaining first 45 minutes ended level.

Johnstone got down well to save from Adams shortly after the restart before Lee Camp produced an even better stop to deny Harvey Barnes at the other end.

City went on to enjoy a period of dominance as the second half progressed, with Albion's passing wayward, and they spurned another chance as Jota blazed over having been sent through.

But Albion stood firm and could have claimed all three points in the closing stages when Gayle saw his powerful strike rebound off the crossbar, with the Baggies unable to force home the rebound.

ALBION: Johnstone, Dawson, Hegazi, Bartley, Phillips, Livermore, Brunt (c) (Barry 77), Townsend, Barnes, Rodriguez (Robson-Kanu 75), Gayle.

Subs: Myhill, Mears, Adarabioyo, Edwards, Burke.


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