Birmingham City secured their first win of the season at Elland Road, with a 2-1 victory against the previously unbeaten league leaders Leeds United.
A first half brace from Che Adams, the first a low drive into the corner beyond Leeds’ Bailey Peacock-Farrell from the edge of the area, and second finishing of a fine counter attack, sealed a much-needed first win of the season.
Leeds improved after the break and produced a second half fightback, pulling a goal back through Ezgjan Alioski with five minutes to play, but Birmingham held firm to secure the win.
The victory against Leeds lifted Birmingham up to 17th place, with nine points from their opening nine matches. Heading into Saturday’s meeting with the league leaders, Birmingham were somehow winless in their opening eight fixtures, despite performing well in most of their matches so far this season. A lack of a clinical edge has hampered Monk’s sides ability to turn draws into wins in the opening matches of the campaign.
The Blues have drawn six of their opening nine Championship matches and had opportunities in most of those to win the game. In games against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground Birmingham were 2-0 up heading into the final 15 minutes, but a late fightback from the hosts saw Birmingham held to a 2-2 draw. In Birmingham’s 1-1 draw at home to West Brom, the hosts dominated most of the game and missed a penalty to double their lead, before being punished by West Brom and being held to another draw.
Monk’s side are now unbeaten in their last five league games, since a 1-0 defeat at Bolton Wanderers, and are showing signs of progress under the former Swansea City and Leeds manager. Last season Birmingham struggled to both create and take chances, scoring just 38 goals in their 46 matches, changing managers on three occasions as they fought against relegation, before Monk eventually guided them to a 19th place finish.
However, so far this season Birmingham have shown an improved ability to both control games and create opportunities for their forwards. The only missing link in their opening eight games was their failure to convert their chances into goals, but Saturday’s win at Elland Road highlighted Birmingham’s potential to be clinical. If Monk’s side can continue to convert their opportunities, they will begin to secure more victories and climb up the table.