Match Report | Cardiff City 1-1 Birmingham City
Cardiff City fought back to earn a draw against Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon in the final home game of the campaign.
Bluebirds boss Steve Morison made two changes to the team that faced Middlesbrough last time out, with Eli King and Mark Harris coming into the starting eleven.
The visitors created an early chance to take the lead, as midfielder Juninho Bacuna found space in the box to fire at goal from close-range, forcing Dillon Phillips into an early save. City responded well however, as academy products Eli King and Harris combined, with the latter’s low cross claimed by former Bluebird Neil Etheridge.
In another positive Bluebirds attack, Harris found Perry Ng with a shrewd switch out to the left and offered an option in the box, but the defender’s cross towards the Wales international was just overhit. Midfielder Tommy Doyle broke down the right and delivered low towards striker Jordan Hugill, with a Blues defender getting a crucial touch.
As City continued to push for an opener, some intricate build-up play saw Doyle square to Ng on the edge of the area, whose left-footed drive flew just wide. The visitors opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, as Jérémie Bela beat the offside trap and finished clinically past Phillips.
Morison’s men reacted well to falling behind, creating a series of opportunities to equalise. Defender Ng beat his man on the edge of the box and drove at goal, forcing Etheridge to save, before loanee Cody Drameh was also denied. Shortly before the interval, Harris’ direct run saw him find space on the edge of the box, but his effort flew wide of the post, with the score at the break 1-0 to the visitors.
Lee Bowyer’s side went close to doubling their lead early in the second period, as captain Gary Gardner headed powerfully at goal, only to clear the woodwork. The visitors’ skipper was again involved in a chance, heading a corner just over the bar. City looked to have equalised through Hugill, who finished clinically into past Etheridge, only for the offside flag to be raised.
As the Bluebirds pushed to get level, Drameh squared to Vaulks on the edge of the box, whose curling drive at goal was caught by Etheridge. The Blues remained a threat however, as Bela looked to double his tally for the afternoon, but fired over from a free-kick.
Playmaker Doyle found himself in space on the right following some tenacious work from Drameh, crossing dangerously into the area, only for his delivery to just evade Hugill. In a chance at the other end, Onel Hernández drove into the box and squared for substitute Jordan James, who struck narrowly wide.
City were rewarded for their second-half persistence, as substitute Max Watters beat Etheridge to the ball, winning a penalty for the Bluebirds. Midfielder Vaulks stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty to level the scoring in the 82nd minute.
Despite applying late pressure, City couldn’t find a winning goal, as the points were shared. The Bluebirds return to action on Saturday, May 7th to take on Derby County at Pride Park in the final game of the season.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1–1 BIRMINGHAM CITY
Cardiff City: Phillips, Drameh, McGuinness, Nelson, Denham, Ng, Wintle (Vaulks 45’), King (Colwill 45’), Doyle (Watters 77’), Harris, Hugill.
Subs not used: Luthra, Flint, Semenyo, Collins.
Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Roberts, Friend, Gordon, Bela (Graham 75’), Gardner, Bacuna (James 63’), Šunjić, Hernandez, Taylor.
Subs not used: Trueman, Woods, Jutkiewicz, Hogan, Deeney.