Leeds United travelled to St Andrews on Saturday as new manager Brian McDermott took charge of his first away game. After recording two wins in his first two games, McDermott was looking to become the first United manager to win his first three games and the former Reading boss named the same side that defeated Burnley 1- 0 at Elland Road a few days earlier. Steve Morison did return to the match day squad though and took up his place on the United bench.
The first half was a fairly open affair with both sides being the recipients of very good chances. The first of the game fell to Ravel Morrison after some good work from the Manchester United trainee saw him bear down on goal. His chip beat Paddy Kenny but not the crossbar and the Whites escaped. United's best chance of the game came shortly after Morrison's effort and it fell to last weeks hero, Luke Varney. A tame long range shot from Rodolph Austin was spilled by England hopeful Jack Butland and the ball found it's way to Varney. His effort was blocked by a defender and a great chance was spurned.
Michael Tonge also went close for Brian McDermott's side. Tonge curled in an effort from just outside the area but this time Butland was ready and made up for his early error by making a fine save. The game was end to end and was there for the taking for either side and the next United half-chance fell to Ross McCormack. The Scotland International connected well with the ball on the half-volley but Butland was once again equal to it and it was set to be a 20th game in a row without a first half goal for Leeds United.
In the first half Birmingham looked dangerous every time they came at United but the second half started a little differently. Leeds looked slightly more in control as they started the second half in a stronger fashion. McCormack saw a free kick clip the cross bar whilst Jack Butland fumbled another cross at the feet of Sam Byram, who had been pushed into a more advanced role following the introduction of captain Lee Peltier at right back. The youngster couldn't force the ball in though and his effort hit the side netting only.
It was somewhat against the run of play when with just under twenty minutes to play, Birmingham took the lead. Nathan Redmond fired in a fierce shot and Paddy Kenny could only parry it straight into the path of Hayden Mullins, making his 550th career league appearance. The 34-year old, former West Ham midfielder made no mistake in dispatching the rebound and the Whites were behind.
United's best chance of an equaliser was once again from long-range and the ball sat up nicely for Rodolph Austin to smash a volley on goal. Butland once again provided a good save on an afternoon where he could and should have been punished for his errors, the England International pulled off some good saves as well. That was the closest Leeds would come to an equaliser as Steve Morison was thrown on but to no avail.
It wasn't a terrible away performance by any means and a draw would have been a fair result. If United fail to win away at Watford on the final day of the season, they will have gone all season having won only three games away from home which is terrible. The important thing is that we can no longer be relegated from the Championship this season and it is a case of 'Job Done' for Brian McDermott. Lets see what the former Reading manager can do during the summer and see if we can come back stronger ready for next season.
Below are the manager's thoughts on the game, taken from BBC Sport.
Birmingham Manager Lee Clark:
"I thought that the way Leeds were playing with a new manager I just wanted an older head to look after the likes of [Ross] McCormack and he [Hayden Mullins] did it well.
I didn't include Hayden to be the match winner but it was a good occasion to celebrate his 550th game.
It was a terrific win so far as I am concerned. I'm delighted with the three points and a clean sheet."
Leeds Manager Brian McDermott:
"I thought we should have got something out of the game. When it was 0-0 we were on top and then they scored from nothing.
When I arrived at the club I put my reputation on the line and to make sure Leeds remained in this division. So far as I am concerned it is job done.
Everyone must be going in the same direction. If that occurs in this club you have a major chance."