Match ends, Birmingham City 2, Derby County 0.
Goals from Scott Hogan and Jeremie Bela helped Birmingham City beat Derby County and move up to fourth in the Championship.
Hogan grabbed his third of the season from close range in the first half before Bela secured the win late on.
Derby had more possession but apart from one Tom Lawrence effort in the second half, they struggled to create chances and drop to 16th.
Troy Deeney made his Birmingham debut as a second-half substitute.
All the attention before the game was on Deeney, who had joined the club he supported as a boy, just before the end of the summer transfer window to end his 11-year association with Watford.
But he was only a sub as manager Lee Bowyer opted to continue with Lukas Jutkiewicz and Hogan up front, and it was the former Brentford and Aston Villa man who put his side ahead.
However, it came from a bad backpass by Rams left-back Lee Buchanan, which put Jutkiewicz in on goal. He was denied initially by goalkeeper Kelle Roos, but the ball was worked across to Hogan, who made no mistake from close range.
That played into the hands of Bowyer’s team and a second goal on a counter-attack from Bela wrapped things up. At the other end, it was a fourth clean sheet in six games and no team has conceded fewer in the Championship than their three goals.
But it also highlighted Derby’s problems in attack, despite enjoying 67% possession. Lawrence was closest when he forced a second-half save out of Matija Sarkic in the Blues goal, but only Sheffield United have scored fewer than Wayne Rooney’s team, who have managed just four in their six matches.
Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer told Sky Sports:
“It was very satisfying to get our first three points at home in front of the fans. A clean sheet, we created chances and we worked extremely hard as a group, so it was very pleasing.
“Because of the players we have in the attacking third, if we keep clean sheets, we are going to win a lot of games. All I can do is say well done to the players for that because it isn’t just the defenders and the goalkeeper, it’s the whole team.
“There are going to be lows, but we can enjoy tonight. And all we can do as a club is keeping trying to build and move forward and that’s what we’re doing.”
Derby County manager Wayne Rooney told Sky Sports:
“We played some OK stuff but we didn’t really create that many clear-cut chances which was frustrating, but I don’t think Birmingham did enough to win the game.
“It was a mistake for the first goal and for the second, but we weren’t at our best tonight. We didn’t deserve to win but I still feel Birmingham didn’t do enough.
“There are going to be mistakes the way we’re trying to play, and I take full responsibility for that.”
- 4RobertsBooked at 76mins
- 34SunjicBooked at 57mins
- 10JutkiewiczSubstituted forDeeneyat 68′minutes
- 9HoganSubstituted forGardnerat 74′minutes
- 11MorrisonBooked at 76mins
- 4ShinnieBooked at 24minsSubstituted forStrettonat 45′minutes
- 17SibleySubstituted forWilliamsat 82′minutes
- 10LawrenceBooked at 76minsSubstituted forKnightat 83′minutes
- Gavin Ward
Second Half ends, Birmingham City 2, Derby County 0.
Offside, Birmingham City. Gary Gardner tries a through ball, but Maxime Colin is caught offside.
Nathan Byrne (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City).
Jason Knight (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ryan Woods (Birmingham City).
Ravel Morrison (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City).
Jason Knight (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary Gardner (Birmingham City).
Substitution, Derby County. Jason Knight replaces Tom Lawrence.
Substitution, Derby County. Dylan Williams replaces Louie Sibley.
Goal! Birmingham City 2, Derby County 0. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner following a fast break.
Foul by Jack Stretton (Derby County).
Kristian Pedersen (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Nathan Byrne (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City).
Jack Stretton (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tahith Chong (Birmingham City).