The city is ours.
Fireworks occurred at the St. Andrew’s Stadium when Aston Villa ‘traveled’ to Blues in another edition of the Second City Derby.
There were yellow cards, bouts of shoving, and pitch invader who cowardly struck Villa captain Jack Grealish. It took the EFL ninety minutes to issue a statement, whereas Birmingham City did not acknowledge the problem until after the final whistle.
Lineups & First-Half:
Dean Smith called on an unchanged midfield from the one that demolished Derby County the week prior. John McGinn was added among the substitutes’ bench following a two-game ban, while Neil Taylor took his nominal place at left-back for the injured Tommy Elphick. Kortney Hause shifted inside to central defense.
For Birmingham City, Jota was reintroduced to the starting XI. Former Villan Craig Gardner took a place on the bench while Villa loanee Gary Gardner was ineligible for the game. 31-goal pairing Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz started up top.
Blues controlled early possession in the attacking third, but it was Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings who dominated in the early going through some keen dispossession.
Then, that incident occurred.
In the 9th-minute, with Villa in the attacking third, a stoppage in play allowed a Birmingham City supporter from the Tilton End on the pitch. His ensuing, cowardly action was to punch Jack Grealish clear in the face (a sucker punch from behind, no less).
In most cases, the match would be abandoned, but the derby day atmosphere, coupled with Jack’s calm reaction, allowed play to go on. Villa slowly grew into the first-half, but by the 35th-minute both sides were content seeing out the half 0-0.
Birmingham City took control early in the second-half. Dean Smith called on two substitutes in the 63rd-minute to deal with dribbling out of pressure and get a vital three points. John McGinn and André Green entered for Glenn Whelan and Albert Adomah and immediately changed the course of play. Grealish was able to find a pocket of space inside the box, dribbled, and delivered a cross to Green – whose header was blocked from going in by Wes Harding.
Like poetry, Grealish scored minutes later from a superbly placed left-footed shot.
In the end, that was all that was needed. Conor Hourihane struck the crossbar and Craig Gardner missed two clear chances to equalize late on. Villa remain four points from the play-off places – a remarkably quick turnaround after successive victories.
Villa complete the league double over Blues. UTV.