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Match Reports

Birmingham City v Norwich City

31 January 2015


BIRMINGHAM City and the Canaries shared the spoils after a scappy goalless draw at St Andrew's.

Norwich were the better team in the second half but couldn't find the cutting edge in the final third and had to settle for a point.

Nathan Redmond, returning to his boyhood club, and Russell Martin had their best opportunities in a game lacking in quality and thrust on each side.

The result closes the gap to the play-off places to three points, with Alex Neil's side still 8th in the Sky Bet Championship table.

Neil made sweeping changes to his team before kick-off, with Sebastien Bassong starting for the first time in the league this season. Elliott Bennett and Lewis Grabban were also in the eleven as Neil made five alterations in total.

It was a statement of intent from the Norwich boss but the first half was one to forget with neither side hitting any rhythm.

David Cotterill got the game's first shot away after four minutes, with John Ruddy making the save, but Norwich were generally the slicker outfit in the opening quarter hour.

Grabban volleyed over from Redmond's cross, but it was a tough chance for the returning forward under pressure.

Bennett was lively on the left flank and thought he had a shout for a penalty when he was brought down after Wes Hoolahan's excellent through-ball, but he had drifted just offside.

Redmond then offered the Canaries' best chance of the opening 45 on the half hour, striking sweetly from distance and forcing a decent stop from Darren Randolph.

Grabban drilled a shot wide as the game opened up, but a bobbly pitch made for an attritional contest at St Andrew's and it took until stoppage time for Norwich to threaten again.

Hoolahan got in behind the Blues' defence and flashed a ball across the six-yard box, but Bennett had made his run towards the front post so missed out a tap-in that would have given Neil's men the half-time lead.

HALF-TIME: Birmingham City 0-0 Norwich City

Three minutes into the second half, Birmingham went close when some poor Norwich defending allowed Lloyd Dyer to advance into the box, but Ruddy closed him down to make the save.

The lack of real quality in the game continued but Norwich, on the front foot, had an opportunity through captain Martin, but he volleyed Redmond's delivery over the crossbar.

It was a combination that created two more chances for City, from two Redmond corners.

Martin couldn't quite reach the first one, but for the second he connected well with his header, but Paul Caddis hooked the ball away from the close to the post.

Cameron Jerome replaced Grabban to come up against his old employers, and with quarter of an hour left Bennett was withdrawn to be replaced by Josh Murphy.

Chances were at a premium which incurred a tense atmosphere, but in the end, both teams took something from the game when the curtain was drawn.

FULL-TIME: Birmingham City 0-0 Norwich City

BIRMINGHAM CITY: Randolph; Grounds, Robinson (c), Gleeson, Donaldson (Zigic 77), Cotterill, Spector, Davis, Caddis, Gray, Dyer (Shinnie 68). Subs not used: Doyle (GK), Thomas, Novak, Reilly, Hancox.

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Johnson; Redmond, Hoolahan (Hooper 89), E Bennett (Murphy 76); Grabban (Jerome 68). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Turner, Lafferty, Garrido.

REFEREE: Darren Handley

ATTENDANCE: 17,835 (2,602)

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