Birmingham City continued their revival under Gary Rowett with a vital win at relegation rivals Rotherham. The victory lifted the Blues out of the drop zone where their opponents now find themselves. 

Birmingham started the game on the front foot and had numerous chances to take the lead. Andrew Shinnie and David Cotterill both struck the post with efforts in the first half while Donaldson was thwarted by Adam Colin. They deservedly took the lead just past the hour mark. Donaldson found space after a slip by Craig Morgan and was played through on goal by Andrew Shinie. Adam Colin did brilliantly to save his initial effort but the rebound fell kindly for Donaldson who gleefully tucked away the rebound to send the 2600 travelling fans into raptures. The hosts, who have now gone four games without scoring; never looked like getting anything out of the game. Their best chance fell to Paul Green who found himself on his own in the box but dragged his shot horribly wide and out for a throw in. In truth the 1-0 scoreline flattered the home side as the visitors missed many other clear cut chances to score. Birmingham out thought and out battled their opponents and Gary Rowett will be more than encouraged by this performance. Rotherham now have a must win game against Blackpool at the New York Stadium next week while Birmingham will be relishing taking on Nottingham Forest at St Andrews.

Rotherham United

Adam Colin: The score line would have been much worse without him in the side. Did his bit prior to the goal too with a good save before Donaldson tucked away the rebound. He was let down badly by his defence. 6.9
Frazer Richardson: Slightly better than his last performance with a couple of decent challenges. Despite this he had a tough afternoon against Demarai Gray. 6.4
Craig MorganDid okay with his challenges in the air. Caught out massively for pace with the goal. 6.5
Kari Arnason: His form has declined recently and yesterday it showed. He gave the ball away much more than usual. His error led to the goal too. He got the wrong sides of Clayton Donaldson and reacted very slowly from the rebound. 6.0
Joe Skarz: Slightly better than Richardson but not by much. 6.5
Paul Taylor: Flatters to deceive massively has some nice tricks and good pace. Often dribbled into a blind ally and his final ball or lack of it was alarmingly poor. Rightly substituted at half time. 5.0
Lee Frecklington:  I really like Lee Frecklington as a player. Sadly he has been a shadow of the player he was last season and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s carrying a long term injury or if he’s just found his level. Either that or it’s just a poor run of form. I hope it’s the latter. 6.0
Richard Smallwood: One of Rotherham’s better performers. Broke up the play well enough and picked out some decent passes. The lack of movement didn’t help him. 6.5
 Ben PringleGot in some good positions and looked like he was trying to make something happen. Got some crosses into the box and did well when he was moved into a more central role. 6.5
 Jonson Clarke-Harris: Didn’t really offer much today. Doesn’t help when the ball is constantly put in the air, it doesn’t seem to be his game. Got into a good goal scoring position but decided to cross instead, why? 6.2
 Alex Revell: Spent too much time complaining to the referee. In truth he was marshalled well by the Birmingham defender. 6.2

Substitutions

Paul Green: Steve Evans said he was ill and therefore didn’t start the game. One question I’d ask is why was he then brought on? It was a like for like change and he even played like he was under the weather. Missed a sitter too. 5.8
Jordan Bowery: Came on and offered very little to the cause. 6.1
Emmanuel Ledesma: Came on and looked like he could make something happen down the right. Despite this he didn’t receive the ball enough to make a real impact. 6.4

Birmingham City

 Darren Randolph: I’d be surprised if he’s had an easier afternoon in his career. He had one shot from Paul Taylor which was straight at him to deal with. In truth he was a spectator. 6.8
Paul Caddis: Did well defensively and offered an option going forward. 6.8
Michael Morrison: Very solid display. Looks to be a good addition to the side. 7.0
Paul Robinson: Like Morrison was very solid. Looks like it has the makings of a good partnership. 7.0
Jonathan Grounds: Rounded off a very good day for the Birmingham back line. Solid throughout the game. 6.8
Stephen GleesonAllowed the dictate the play from the middle and did it very well. Impressive display. 6.9
David DavisDid the dirty work in midfield. Broke up play and sprayed the ball to City’s more creative players. 6.9
Demarai Gray: Birmingham’s best player. Very lively until he came off with his pace and willingness to get forward. 7.5
Andrew Shinnie: Looked lively throughout and was a constant threat. Produced a superb curling shot in the first half which had Colin beat but hit the post 7.1
 David Cotterill: Unleashed a thunderous shot in the first half which smacked the post and went to safety. His crossing and shooting ability provided his side with a constant threat. 7.4
 Clayton DonaldsonLed the line very well and took his goal brilliantly second time around. Three goals in three for Donaldson now, seems like he’s finding his feet at this level. 7.4

Substitutions

Callum Reilly: Came on too later to make much of an impact. More of a cameo role from him. N/A
 Lee Novak: Came on with twelve minutes left and held the ball up well for his side. 6.5

Man of the Match

Demarai Gray: His pace and trickery was key for Birmingham as it unlocked a defence that so obviously lacks it. His persistence and willingness to run at defenders gave Rotherham’s full backs a torrid afternoon.  7.5


About Author

Rotherham United season ticket holder and aspiring sports journalist. Plan to go on to study Journalism at University.