EFL

Andre Dozzell’s goal ensures a losing return to Birmingham for John Eustace

By Sports Desk February 13, 2024

New Blackburn boss John Eustace made a losing return to St Andrew’s as his side were beaten 1-0 by former club Birmingham.

Andre Dozzell struck the only goal of the Sky Bet Championship contest in the 77th minute to end City’s 388-minute drought and reward their dominance.

Tony Mowbray’s side were good value for their first win in four matches, which saw them climb to within a point of 16th-placed Rovers.

Marc Roberts hit the post and his namesake Tyler also missed two one-on-one chances for the hosts.

Eustace, who watched Saturday’s 3-1 win at Stoke from the stands, was back in the familiar surroundings after his sacking as City head coach in October.

Birmingham’s former Rovers boss Mowbray did not get the chance to enjoy any pre-match pleasantries with 44-year-old Eustace as the City manager was forced to take a seat in the stands, banned for receiving three yellow cards.

Koji Miyoshi blotted his copybook when he sized up a shooting chance after a Blues corner was partly cleared, slicing horribly wide.

However the Japan attacking midfielder got his next involvement right, threading through Tyler Roberts – only for the striker to steer the ball wide when clean through with only goalkeeper Aynsley Pears to beat.

Roberts’ namesake Marc went even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 35th minute. The towering defender, lingering upfield following a corner, clipped the outside of the post with a glancing header from Miyoshi’s hanging cross.

Little had been seen of Sammie Szmodics until the 22-goal Blackburn marksman lifted a rising effort narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.

Szmodics forced John Ruddy into his first save when he tried to catch the veteran keeper out with a quick first-time effort which the former Wolves man palmed around the post.

Birmingham then wasted two chances in quick succession. After Marc powered a header over from close range from Dozzell’s free-kick, Tyler Roberts skied high and wide from six yards out after Pears completely mishit a pass to leave him one-on-one.

The hosts lost their momentum and Mowbray made a double switch, bringing Juninho Bacuna and Siriki Dembele on for Paik Seung-ho and Miyoshi.

Dembele flashed a rising angled effort over the bar after Tyler Roberts teed him up deep inside the box.

Dozzell spared City’s blushes when he finally poked home 13 minutes from time.

The scrappy goal came after Dozzell and Adam Stansfield had shots blocked before Cody Drameh’s cross fell back into his path off Kyle McFadzean’s foot.

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