Birmingham City 0-1 Luton Town: Hatters edge past struggling Blues
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Story of the match 

1st half:

Both sides struggled to get a foothold of the game in the early exchanges with the hosts just about seeing more of the ball. 

Neither side were able to create much in the opening 15 minutes, with the pitch playing its part in 

The Hatters created the first opportunity of the half, when James Collins showed his strength to latch onto Tom Lockyer's lofted ball over the top, but the Irish international's lobbed effort fell the wrong side of the post. 

In the 21st minute, Matty Pearson nearly broke the deadlock for the visitors, nodding Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's corner straight at Neil Etheridge in the Birmingham City goal. 

Dan Potts then headed Luton Town into the lead in the 31st minute, heading home after the hosts failed to clear from Harry Cornick's long throw into the area. The scrappy nature of the goal somewhat typified the first half, but the Luton full-back ensured he was in the right place at the right time to convert from close range. 

Despite not dominating the ball, the Hatters certainly created the better chances in the first half. Jordan Clark was the next Town player to go close, when he saw his volleyed effort palmed away by Etheridge.

2nd half:

Birmingham started the second half a lot brighter, with Gary Gardner recording his side's first shot on target in the 51st minute with a tame header straight at Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga. 

Blues' manager Aitor Karanka then made five substitutions in 15 minutes in pursuit of a second-half equaliser, bringing on striking duo Sam Cosgrove and Lukas Jutkiewicz.

In the 77th minute, Cornick once again caused problems with a long throw, which eventually saw captain Sonny Bradley acrobatically fire wide. 

Takeaways 

A game that lacked goal scoring opportunities

For the majority of the game, both sides struggled to get the ball down and play, which led to a lack of goal-scoring opportunities. As a result, chances were forced rather than created. The Hatters worked particularly hard in the first half, with Collins and Cornick both causing trouble with their persistence in running in behind.

The threat of relegation will be worrying the Birmingham faithful

It is now 11 games at St Andrews without a win, a run goes back to October. For the Hatters, they are now nine points above the relegation zone and back up to 14th in the table.

Standout performers

For the hosts, Kristian Pederson put in a strong performance. He was tasked with containing the lively Harry Cornick, and the Danish international rose to that challenge by stopping the winger have any threat whatsoever (bar the long throw). He provided an attacking threat at left-back too and he put some dangerous balls into the box. 

On a day where creativity and pretty attacking football was absent, Luton striker James Collins caused mayhem with his work ethic and physical presence. He won a number of aerial battles and got in behind the backline a couple of times too. The 30-year-old was also clever possession and he constantly linked up with his midfield too. 

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