Birmingham City 1-2 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland’s last game before the World Cup break ended in victory against Birmingham City with Tony Mowbray’s men earning themselves a hard fought win in the Midlands.
With a three week gap in the fixture schedule to come after this weekend, the Lads ended the evening in the top half of the Sky Bet Championship table thanks to goals from Ellis Simms and Amad.
In the opening minutes of the game, Sunderland carved upon the hosts by breaking forward in numbers with Dan Neil teasing a pass into the path of Amad but John Ruddy made himself big and charged down his effort on goal.
Alex Pritchard was next to test the hands of Ruddy with a second bite of the cherry from a blocked free-kick but the Blues keeper stood firm.
A fast start at St Andrews saw seasoned frontman Troy Deeney rattle the crossbar with a firm header. Scott Hogan failed to convert the follow up heading down into the hands of Anthony Patterson.
Sunderland made the breakthrough at St Andrews midway through the first half when Amad manoeuvred his way out of a melee of blue shirts and fed the ball through to Simms. The Everton loanee took one touch to settle himself before burying the effort past Ruddy into the bottom right corner.
Both sides were playing out a competitive contest with plenty of physicality and commitment. Birmingham threatened to equalise before half-time when Scott Hogan and Troy Deeney combined with a neat one-two. With Hogan clean through on goal, the Championship’s top scorer was denied by a big save from Patterson.
After protecting their lead at half-time, the Lads extended it moments after the restart as Amad produced a moment of magic in the Midlands. Dan Neil twisted away from his marker inside his own half and set the Ivorian away down the right. Amad jinked his way inside onto his favoured left foot and bent a beautiful effort that kissed the inside of the post and into the net.
With the away side two goals ahead in the game, Mowbray’s side had to ride out a spell of pressure from the hosts with bodies on the line once again. Arsenel loanee Auston Trusty burst through but could only lift his side footed effort over the bar.
Birmingham continued to push hard for a goal and their pressure was rewarded with a goal when Emmanuel Longelo’s cross was met with a first time effort from Lukas Jutkiewicz who swept the ball home into the bottom right corner.
The home side continued throw all they had at the Sunderland. A well worked free-kick found its way to ex Black Cats loanee Dion Sanderson. His low drive was blocked off the line by Trai Hume and a second effort was charged down by Patterson as the Lads manfully kept the ball out of their net.
After a lengthy spell for stoppage time, the Lads dug deep to earn a hard fought victory on the road as a sold out away end sang loud and proud into a chilly November evening.
Goals: Simms (25’), Amad (49’), Jutkiewicz (78’)
Sunderland XI: Patterson; Hume, Batth, Wright, Huggins; Evans, Neil; Amad (Roberts 65’), Pritchard (Matete 85’), Clarke; Simms (Embleton 85’)
Substitutes: Bass, Ba, Bennette, Johnson
Birmingham XI: Ruddy, Bacuna, Colin, Sanderson, Trusty, Longelo (Hall 59’), Bielik (James 87’), Hannibal (Chong 59’), Bellingham (Jutkiewicz 59’), Hogan, Deeney
Substitutes: Etheridge, Friend, Graham