Birmingham leave it late for draw against Burton
Lukas Jutkiewicz rescued Birmingham City from a shock home defeat with a face-saving 87th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 home draw against Burton.
Against all the odds it appeared as if Burton, battered for long spells, would emerge with three points following a 47th-minute goal from Lloyd Dyer.
But the Brewers finally capitulated and slipped to the bottom of the Championship table when Jutkiewicz put Birmingham back on level terms.
Dyer’s goal was hardly a surprise as the former Blues player had scored in each of his three previous games against Birmingham for the Brewers.
But Birmingham deservedly shared the spoils – for the first time in four Championship games against Burton – to boost their survival hopes.
It was, nevertheless, a surprise to drop two points to struggling Burton following three successive wins.
They swamped Burton in the first half but with goalkeeper Stephen Bywater in outstanding form to take the man of the match honours, they were denied three points in their fight to avoid relegation.
There was controversy early in the game when Jeremie Boga netted in the sixth minute only for the goal to be disallowed.
Jota was fouled on the edge of the area but referee Darren Bond waved play on as Boga latched on to a loose ball to go around goalkeeper Bywater – only to be denied by an assistant referee’s flag. Bond then brought play back for a retrospective free-kick.
Bywater, playing for his 14th club, then made a superb save from Boga’s free-kick and shortly afterwards distinguished himself again with a reflex save from a shot on the turn from Jutkiewicz.
Burton found themselves under siege and only Bywater and a successful offside trap kept them in a hectic game in which Birmingham repeatedly swarmed over the opposition.
The ball often appeared to be attracted to the bright orange kit of Bywater as he continued to thwart the Blues.
But even when he was beaten in the 25th minute in a hectic goalmouth scramble, Kyle McFadzean was on hand to clear Jota’s close-range shot off the line.
As Birmingham took their foot off the pedal Burton grafted their way back into the game with skipper John Brayford their main inspiration.
Two minutes into the second half Burton created a major shock when Dyer, who had a very quiet first half, opened the scoring.
A pass from Hope Akpan went through the legs of Wes Harding straight to the trusty left foot of Dyer who hammered a characteristic low drive past David Stockdale.
Birmingham, who missed the industry of the suspended Che Adams, strived for an equaliser and David Davis clipped the crossbar in the 70th minute.
But three minutes from time, Jutkiewicz was on hand to head home a right-wing cross from Boga.