Blues and Potters share spoils
Beattie blow for Pulis' side as striker limps off
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 23/08/09 9:54am
All square at St Andrews
Birmingham and Stoke picked up a point each as headed efforts from Ricardo Fuller and Garry O'Connor failed to break the deadlock.
Tony Pulis' side travelled to St Andrews for the tie with Premier League new boys Birmingham, with Fuller and James Beattie heading the Stoke attack.
But Birmingham had the best chance of the half as defender Franck Queudrue made space for himself 25 yards out to crisply strike towards goal, which Thomas Sorensen was equal to.
Beattie had earlier limped off with a knee injury, making way for Stoke striker Dave Kitson who had a few half-chances.
After the interval the game livened up as Sorensen pulled off the save of the match to deny O'Connor and Fuller's header from a few yards out went over the bar.
Lee Bowyer came back into Alex McLeish's starting line-up, having served his three match ban imposed against Preston last season.
The Blues boss also had to make two other changes with the injured Gregory Vignal (hip) and Cameron Jerome (ankle) replaced by Stuart Parnaby and Kevin Phillips respectively.
Pulis recalled midfielder Liam Lawrence and Fuller after resting them for the 4-0 mid-week drubbing at Liverpool with Richard Cresswell and Dean Whitehead dropping down to the substitutes' bench.
Ex-Sunderland boss Peter Reid was spotted in the stands at St Andrews with Gerry Francis, who is working with Stoke on a consultancy basis. It is understood Reid will take up the number two post alongside Pulis.
Stoke struck first as Blues 'keeper Joe Hart palmed away a cross from Matthew Etherington when under pressure from Beattie, who landed awkwardly on his knee. The striker was later substituted after 12 minutes for Kitson.
Queudrue brought the home fans to life with the only worthwhile on-target effort from either side in the opening 45 minutes, forcing Sorensen to parry away.
Stoke had an escape when Glenn Whelan failed to make proper contact with a low James McFadden corner at his near post, which flicked up and hit a surprised Birmingham striker O'Connor sending the ball just wide.
Delap caused panic in the Birmingham box with one long range throw and Keith Fahey was forced to head over his own bar from almost on his goal-line.
McLeish made his first change after 53 minutes with the ineffective Phillips replaced by record signing Christian Benitez as he looked to inject some life into his attack.
Hart was called upon to make his first save after 56 minutes. Fuller got in behind the Blues defence but failed to make proper contact with his shot.
Fuller should also have done better when an O'Connor mis-hit clearance fell to the Jamaican but he headed over from close range.
McLeish brought on Larsson for Bowyer just after the hour mark. The winger immediately made a telling impact, whipping in a free-kick towards O'Connor whose fierce header forced a fine save out of Sorensen at full stretch.
The game started to open up with Kitson just off target with a glancing header from a Lawrence ball.Fuller was booked for handling a throw from Delap in the six yard box late in the game as both sides played out the point.
|Birmingham City||Team Statistics||Stoke City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||12|
Barclays Premier League
|6||West Ham United||19||31|
|15||Queens Park Rangers||19||18|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||19||17|