Troy Deeney makes Birmingham City debut as club dominates Derby County in 2-0 victory

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Troy Deeney in action on his debut for Birmingham - GETTY IMAGES EUROPE
Troy Deeney in action on his debut for Birmingham - GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Birmingham City celebrated the long-awaited Troy Deeney homecoming with a victory that lifts them into fourth place in the Championship at the start of the weekend programme, two points behind joint-leaders Fulham - due at St Andrew’s next Wednesday - and West Bromwich Albion.

Deeney, wearing the shirt of his hometown club for the first time at the age of 33 following his free transfer from Watford, could not make his mark on the scoresheet after Lee Bowyer gave him the nod midway through the second half.

But the home crowd - frustratingly restricted to half the stadium’s capacity because of structural safety issues at St Andrew’s - went home happy nonetheless, after goals by Scott Hogan after 31 minutes and Jeremie Bela after 81 deservedly secured the points.

They have a new favourite, too, in the 21-year-old Netherlands player Tahith Chong, on loan from Manchester United, who delivered a performance full of energy and creativity from behind the front too, winning high praise from Bowyer.

“We knew we were getting a very good player and everyone talks about him in possession, how he glides past people and is beautiful to watch, but it is credit to Manchester United that he is not only a player with great talent but one who is also prepared to work so hard for the team,” Bowyer said, adding that he was delighted with the impact made by Deeney, even if he was not able to mark his debut with a goal.

“Troy coming on gave a big lift to the crowd at a time it was probably needed, so he played a part. It will take him a little time to adjust but he loves this club, he wants to play for this club, he is a winner and will help us through the season.”

Tahith Chong goes for the ball in a Championship match - PA
Tahith Chong goes for the ball in a Championship match - PA

The result left Wayne Rooney’s Derby, with the threat of a points deduction for financial irregularities still hanging over them, with just one win from their opening six matches.

“We played some nice stuff at times and started the game well but we weren’t good enough in the final third today,” Rooney said. “It was a frustrating performance and I’m probably as disappointed as I have been so far this season, but I can’t fault the players’ attitude, they are trying to play the way I want and if there are mistakes they are on me.”

One such mistake that led to the opening goal as a poor attempted pass by left back Lee Buchanan let in Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Derby ‘keeper Kelle Roos blocked the striker’s shot, and got a hand to the ball as Jutkiewicz whipped it back across goal, but his touch only helped it on to the far post, where Hogan hooked in his third goal of the season.

Deeney’s entrance sparked a rapturous reception from the home crowd. That he struggled to make the immediate impact he and his new fans would have wanted was no matter in the end as Birmingham escaped from a spell of pressure as Derby tried to regain a foothold in the game with a sweeping counter-attack that ended with Bela arriving as an extra man on the left to drive the ball past Roos and confirm the points.

Match details

Birmingham City (3-4-3): Sarkic; Roberts, Dean, Pedersen; Colin, Sunjic, Wood, Bela; Chong, Jutkiewicz (Deeney 68), Hogan (Gardner 74).

Substitutes not used: Trueman (gk), Friend, Aneke, McGree, Sanderson.

Derby County (4-2-3-1): Roos; Byrne, Jagielka, Davies, Buchanan; Bird, Shinnie (Stretton h-t); Sibley (Williams 82), Morrison, Lawrence (Knight 83); Baldock.

Substitutes not used: Allsop (gk), Stearman, Brown, Watson.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Bookings: Birmingham: Sunjic, Roberts. Derby: Shinnie, Morrison, Lawrence.

Attendance: 14,912.

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