The 113th meeting between Birmingham City and Aston Villa ended in a goalless draw at St. Andrews on Sunday afternoon, with both sides producing everything but a goal in a thoroughly gripping affair in the Championship.
The result sees Birmingham stay just above the relegation zone in 21st place with 12 points - two higher than Burton Albion in 22nd place while Aston Vlla lie in 6th - one ahead of Derby and Norwich City.
Birmingham had the better of it in the first-half, showing good composure on the ball to work their way around Aston Villa's midfield. However, a series of half-chances weren't taken, with Steve Cotterill's side almost made to pay the ultimate price when Aston Villa had two shots cannon off the woodwork.
We had just about everything but a goal at St Andrews...
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Birmingham dominate local rivals as record signing impresses on home debut
Despite a goalless first-half of action, there were plenty of positives for Birmingham City at St Andrews, with the home team dominating the large majority of the forty-five minutes - particularly in the closing stages.
Most of their good work came through Jota down the right-hand side, with the attacker cutting in well on numerous occassions to get a shot off on goal. Although easily dealt with by Sam Johnstone, the manager will have been pleased to see far more attacking impetus and intent from his side on the back of a poor result last weekend.
The biggest chance came to Ndoye, who really should have done better with his close range header. Getting up well in the air, the midfielder failed to truly test the Villa goalkeeper , with his effort going straight down the middle of the goal. A chance spurned for the hosts, who almost got lucky a few minutes prior when Johnstone's clearance bounced off the back of Isaac Vassell and just wide of the post.
It was all Birmingham in the early stages of the second-half too, with Jota again the talisman in the final third. The forward really should have capped off an impressive afternoon when he intercepted a sloppy pass out from defence. Running free on goal, you'd have put your house on him to carefully slot the ball into the corner and beyond the reach of Johnstone. However, that proved not to be the case with the club's record signing blazing his shot well over the bar to squander another huge chance for the hosts.
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Aston Villa nearly make Birmingham pay for spurned chances
The away side looked bright in the opening stages of the game with Jonathan Kodjia's bright movement allowing his teammates to feed off him and get forward. Most of the threat came down the left-hand side through Hutton and Onomah, albeit failing to truly test Kuszcak in between the sticks.
Villa's front three played a rather pedestrian role from then on, with Birmingham dominating the lion's share of possession. However, Steve Bruce's in-form attack so nearly made the home side pay for their spurned chances when Adomah picked out a great ball for Kodjia at the far post. The striker rose well to direct his header towards the top corner for looked a certain goal before Kuszcak got across to make a brilliant diving save.
From then on, the away side grew more and more into the game. John Terry, who scored his first goal for the club from a Hourihane free-kick last weekend, almost did so again, steering the ball just wide from a brilliant delivery. The screw kept on turning with Aston Villa having two shots cannon off the woodwork in the final 15 minutes of the match. Substitute Davis turned well in the box only to smash his shot onto the bar before Kodjia rattled the woodwork with a curling effort towards the top corner.