Birmingham 1-0 Cardiff Player Ratings: Magnificent Morrison

Adams nets the winner –

A committed, organized display saw Birmingham City beat league leaders Cardiff City 1-0 on Friday night thanks to Che Adams’ first half strike. Here’s our player ratings from the match.

Birmingham City

Tomasz Kuszczak – played in the first game since January’s 0-0 draw with Forest in which he didn’t have to make a single save. 5

Maxime Colin – gave Birmingham passion, energy and intent. The one blemish in his evening came just before half-time, but he made up for that with some good defensive headers in the second half. 7
Michael Morrison – made two last-ditch blocks that helped preserve Blues lead and was imperious in the air. One of the best centre-backs in the Championship when placed in the right system. 10
Marc Roberts – showed ability on the ball with a couple of good passes over the top for Vassell, but fundamentally this was somebody who wanted to defend. 9
Jonathan Grounds – his discipline was key to keeping Mendez-Laing quiet and he did a lot of good work in his own box in the latter stages. 7

David Davis – covered every blade of grass, showing boundless energy. Hasn’t been at his best this season but tonight he looked more like his old self. 7
Maikel Kieftenbeld – Birmingham fans must be glad his deadline day transfer to Derby did fall through, because on this evidence, he could play a key role in their survival bid. 8

Che Adams – switched to the left to score the winner, where he cut inside superbly and hit a powerful shot. From then on, he protected Colin well, perhaps at the expense of more moments of attacking prowess. 7
Cheikh N’Doye – this unusually big number 10 would give Riquelme a run for his money! Joking aside, N’Doye imposed his physicality high up the pitch and helped disrupt Cardiff’s rhythm. 6
Jacques Maghoma – he showed plenty of energy, but not quite enough poise in possession for his performance to be considered a good one. No key passes, only one dribble and poor deliveries from corners. 4

Isaac Vassell – not the best technically, but was always an outlet with his pace and tenacity, which saw him cause problems for Manga. Won many free-kicks and helped get his team up the pitch. 6

Lukasz Jutkiewicz (on 90) – didn’t quite have the pace to lead breakaways. Unsuccessfully tried to go alone and ended up getting overcrowded as pressure came back. 4
Sam Gallagher (90+6)
Craig Gardner (on 90+6)

Cardiff City

Neil Etheridge – wasn’t to blame for the goal, but didn’t have a lot else to do. 4

Lee Peltier – out of position for the goal and his ballooned 87th minute effort summed up a tough evening for the 30-year-old. 3
Sean Morrison – bailed out Manga on the odd occasion and enjoyed a solid evening, winning nine aerial duels. 7
Bruno Ecuele Manga – struggled to handle the pace of Vassell, although he did make one clearance off the line in the second half. 4
Joe Bennett – the ex-Villa left-back might have won a penalty at the end, but didn’t provide the width Cardiff needed. Him and Peltier may be too similar in style to both play against bottom six opposition. 4

Craig Bryson – looked uncomfortable when given so much time on the ball. No lack of desire but there was a lack of product. 4
Sol Bamba – often caught too high up the pitch, leaving a big gap in front of the centre-backs. Hasn’t had many bad games for the Bluebirds but this was one of them. 3
Joe Ralls – nowhere near his industrious, lively best. Anonymous throughout. 3

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – unable to make his usual bursts down the right, with just one dribble all evening. 2
Kenneth Zahore – often forced to drift away from the penalty area to make things happen. Crossed for two of Cardiff’s better opportunities either side of half-time, but he was needed attacking the ball. 4
Junior Hoilett – threatened to get on the end of a couple of crosses but was beaten by a dogged defence. Didn’t offer his usual creativity. 3

Aron Gunnarsson (on 68) – some decent long throws prior to his late injury that saw Cardiff finish the match with 10 men. 6
Danny Ward (on 81) – provided some good movement, but perhaps should have been brought on earlier. 6
Liam Feeney (on 81) – unclear why he came off the bench instead of Tomlin. 5