Birmingham City 0-2 Norwich City Player Ratings: Impressive Pritchard

Murphy and Tettey celebrate the second – edp24.co.uk

Birmingham City’s 2-0 defeat to Norwich City on Saturday afternoon was a game in which blood and guts was outdone by skill and finesse, thanks to goals from Alex Pritchard and Josh Murphy. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Birmingham City

David Stockdale – made a good double-save to deny Oliveira and Pritchard shortly before the break and was partly to thank for the latter not grabbing a hat-trick. Shouldn’t have been beaten from such a tight angle at his near-post for the first goal though and for the second, he showed indecision when deserting his six-yard box. 3

Maxime Colin – got forward reasonably well in the first half hour and tried to link up with Jota. Appeared to lose some confidence though once Blues fell behind. 4
Michael Morrison – dominated Oliveira for much of the first half and cut out one or two crosses at the near-post. Commanding in the air. 6
Harlee Dean – better distribution than Morrison, which may be down to his Brentford schooling, but closed down prematurely in the lead-up to the second goal. 4
Jonathan Grounds – provided the biggest test of Gunn all game with an impressive curling effort on 26 minutes. Got forward well and his energy levels never dropped, making him the best of the bunch. 7

Maikel Kieftenbeld – on 49 minutes he had Blues’ closest second half effort, a stinging long-range shot that flew just over the crossbar. Let the initial pass into Pritchard for the second goal. get beyond him though. 4
Craig Gardner – the home side’s most inventive player in the first half, always willing to try through balls. Had about 500 shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half, of which the accuracy left a lot to be desired. 5
Cheikh N’Doye – pressed high up the pitch alongside the striker, but didn’t offer enough in possession to be a threat in those areas. Taken off at half-time. 3

Jota – sometimes too clever for his own good. Tried one or two flicks that might have worked at previous clubs, but here he found his teammates weren’t quite on his wavelength. His casual response to losing the ball didn’t endear himself to the home fans or Cotterill, who took him off at the break. 2
Jeremie Boga – showed moments of pace and skill but not as frequently as he could have done. A man capable of the goal he scored at Bramall Lane last month should have delivered more quality final balls and shots that tested the goalkeeper. 4
Lukasz Jutkiewicz – won the odd aerial ball but needed better quality service to truly maximize the target man’s strengths. Threatened on 10 minutes but fired into the side netting. 4

Jacques Maghoma (on 45) – has a knack of improving the tempo of games from the bench and did that again briefly with plenty of energy and a couple of decent runs down the left. Offered more than Jota, the man he replaced. 6
David Davis (on 45) – there were times when he tried to press Lewis but didn’t get enough support from his teammates. Cotterill knew he could rely on him to give his all, but the problem is he didn’t provide much quality from the wing. 5

Norwich City

Angus Gunn – denied Grounds with a wonderful, flying stop on 26 minutes. That was the only save he had to make but had he not made it, Pritchard might not have scored the opener and his teammates might not have been able to play the game out on their terms. 7

Ivo Pinto – guilty of backing off Boga on one or two occasions, but was an asset going forward. Patiently held the width, waiting for the pass that switches play on his side before ruthlessly attacking the byline, as we saw in the build-up to Pritchard’s first chance on 29 minutes. 7
Christoph Zimmerman – looked happy to let Jutkiewicz win the initial headers, allowing him to hold his ground and deny space in behind. A disciplined performance. 8
Timm Klose – one or two nervy headers at the start of the second half aside, this was a good performance from Klose. Quicker to loose balls than his partner. 8
Jamal Lewis – more tactically restrained than Pinto and was happy to let Murphy do most of the attacking work down the left. For a player making his first professional league start, he looked calm under pressure in an error-free display. 6

Alex Tettey – it may not be the greatest coincidence that the Canaries have dropped just two points in the six games Tettey has started this season. He provides the presence balance that is not quite there when Vrancic and Reed start in the same position. 7
Tom Trybull – covered a bit more ground than his partner and was not shy to engage in challenges when asked to. His energy and tenacity gave Norwich a base from the attacking players built. 8

Alex Pritchard – on paper a right winger but looked intent on cutting inside to get into goalscoring positions. That allowed him to score the first half opener with a rifled finish inside the near post, before playing an impressive reverse pass for the second after the break. Could have had a hat-trick on another day. 9
James Maddison – supplied Pritchard for the opener after a cleverly-worked free-kick on 34 minutes, after he had nearly set up the ex-Brentford man five minutes earlier. Never took too long on the ball yet orchestrated their play in the final third. 8
Josh Murphy – looked bright in flashes, even in the first half hour when Norwich weren’t at their best, curling just wide of Stockdale’s far post during that period. Held the width for most of the game to create space for the others, but was also deadly when he cut inside, as he did to wrap the game up on 71 minutes. 7

Nelson Oliveira – dominated by Morrison in the first third of the game and when he did get the better of the centre-back, he was also beaten by Stockdale on one or two occasions. Linked up selflessly with his teammates but will probably have more individually memorable games in future. 4

Marley Watkins (on 76) – his teammates were camped deep in his short time on the pitch, which hindered his ball-retention. 5
Harrison Reed (on 80) – kept hold of the ball well in the closing stages and added a little more protection. 6
Yanic Wildschut (on 85) – only touched the ball twice in his short time on the pitch. N/A