REPORT: BIRMINGHAM 1 ALBION 0
Brighton & Hove Albion went down to a 1-0 defeat in their first away match of the season, as Wes Thomas’s header, early in the second half proved the difference at St Andrew’s.
In a scrappy game, with few opportunities for either side Albion’s first chance of note came after 20 minutes of the game from Jake Forster-Caskey’s corner. The midfielder picked out Craig Mackail-Smith at close range, but the striker's header dropped just over the top of Darren Randolph’s crossbar.
Albion keeper David Stockdale was called into action at the opposite end just after the half-hour mark, as former Manchester United man Jonathan Spector got well forward into Albion’s box and fired goalwards, but Stockdale was equal to the American’s fierce effort.
Just before half time David Cotterill’s low drive was pounced on by Stockdale, before O’Grady worked an angle for Albion, but Randolph was down low to save.
Into the second half and LuaLua’s corner – won after good work from Mackail-Smith – picked out O’Grady in the box, and his well-placed downward header brought out a decent save from Randolph.
Birmingham took the lead with a break after Albion had seen a penalty appeal waved away. Mackail-Smith drove into the box and went down under a challenge, but referee Mark Brown waved play on and the home side countered.
Cotterill got clear on Birmingham’s right, and the former Swansea City man’s pinpoint centre was powerfully headed home by Thomas at close range.
Just after the hour Forster-Caskey brought a good save out of Randolph from a free kick on the edge of the box. The midfielder curled his dipping effort over the wall, but home keeper Randolph tipped over at the expense of a corner.
New signing Joao Teixeira – who linked up with his new colleagues at the team hotel last night – came on for his debut in the 64th minute, with LuaLua making way for the on-loan Liverpool midfielder.
Cotterill went close to doubling the home side’s lead with a fierce free kick, which dipped over the wall and whistled past the left post of Stockdale’s goal.
With time running out, a Bruno cross caused panic in the Birmingham defence, and almost gave substitute Shamir Fenelon the chance to equalise, but the home side cleared at the expense of a corner.
Albion’s squad will remain in the Midlands as they prepare for Tuesday night’s trip to Elland Road to face a Leeds United side who picked up their first win with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES
ALBION V bolton
saturDAY 23rd AUGUST, KICK-OFF 3PM
ALBION V charlton
SATURDAY 30th AUGUST, KICK-OFF 3PM
Albion v BLACKPOOL
SATURDAY 20TH september, kick-off 3pm