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REPORT | LUTON TOWN 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY 2

Collins on target from the penalty spot, but Blues take the points

11 January 2020

The Hatters were left frustrated as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Birmingham City in the Sky Bet Championship this afternoon.

Lukas Jutkiewicz scored in the opening exchanges to put the hosts ahead, before James Collins equalised from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute.

Birmingham regained the lead seven minutes later as Gary Gardner slotted the ball home from inside the box.

Captain Harlee Dean was sent-off for the away side in the 86th minute but the Hatters couldn't make the man advantage count and suffered a third successive league defeat. 

Graeme Jones made five changes to the side that lost to Millwall on New Year’s Day, which included a home debut for Donervon Daniels. Simon Sluga, Andrew Shinnie, Luke Berry and Harry Cornick were also handed starts for the first game of the new decade at Kenilworth Road.

Town suffered an early setback as Birmingham went ahead in the fourth minute through Lukas Jutkiewicz. Jeremie Bela played an inch-perfect ball in from the left and the striker climbed highest to head past Sluga, despite the keeper getting a hand to it.

Berry led the charge to get the Hatters back into the game and almost did just that from 25-yards out. The midfielder’s free-kick initially hit the wall and then took another deflection on the way through, which went narrowly wide of the post.

Neither side created another meaningful opportunity in the first half but there was plenty of intensity from both teams at the start of the second period.

Cornick produced a good run inside towards the box and played the ball wide to Kazenga LuaLua, who took one touch out of his feet but blazed his shot over the bar.

The Hatters were awarded a penalty just after the hour mark as Matty Pearson was bundled over in the box by Harlee Dean following Berry’s free-kick. Collins took responsibility from the spot and sent Lee Camp the wrong way to bring the game back level.

After few opportunities to venture forward themselves, Birmingham took their chance and scored a second with just over 20 minutes to play.

Jacques Maghoma cut the ball back to Gardner inside the box and the midfielder finished first time past Sluga.

Town refused to lie down and in the 79th minute nearly got themselves another equaliser as Matty Pearson headed Berry’s corner towards goal, but Jutkiewicz managed to clear off the line.

Birmingham were reduced to ten men as Dean was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Collins on the halfway line with four minutes remaining.

Despite five minutes being added on at the end of the game, the Hatters couldn’t find a second goal as they remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship.

 

TOWN: Sluga, Daniels, Bradley (C), Pearson, Bree (Potts 45), Mpanzu, Shinnie (Moncur 56), Berry (Tunnicliffe 81), Cornick, LuaLua, Collins. Subs not used: Shea, Lee, Rea, Jones

Goals: Collins (62)

Yellows: Bree

 

BIRMINGHAM: Camp, Colin, Clarke-Salter, Dean (C), Pedersen, Maghoma, Davis, Gardner (Harding 88), Bela (Crowley 90), Mrabti (Bellingham 78), Jutkiewicz. Subs not used: Trueman, McEachran, Montero, Gimenez

Goals: Jutkiewicz (4), Gardner

Yellows: Mrabti, Dean, Gardner, Davis

Red: Dean

 

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 10,062 (1,035 away)


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