Burton Albion 2-0 Birmingham: Match Report
Burton make it an unhappy return for Gary Rowett
Birmingham-born duo Lloyd Dyer and Jamie Ward sank their hometown side to secure a second successive home win for Burton, 2-0 over Gary Rowett's Blues.
Much was made in the build-up to the game about Rowett's return to the club where his managerial career started but he and his ex-Brewers endured a miserable night.
Albion put five points between themselves and the Championship bottom three and sit 13th in the table ahead of the weekend's fixtures. It was also a third clean sheet in four games for Nigel Clough's side, who are starting to look resilient in the second tier.
Birmingham started the game much brighter, with Rowett keen to put sentiment to one side and let his side's football do the talking, but once Burton found their feet in the game chances started to come.
Dyer and Ward linked up twice in quick succession, with the Nottingham Forest loanee failing to hit the target on both occasions.
Missed chances cost Burton victory against Ipswich in midweek but this time they found their shooting boots as former West Brom trainee Dyer opened the scoring on 32 minutes.
Ex-Aston Villa youngster Ward was the architect with a sharp turn and run to the edge of the box before resisting the urge to shoot, sliding Dyer in for an excellent finish with the outside of his foot.
Birmingham's former Albion winger Jacques Maghoma, who was booked in the first period for a clumsy foul on Lucas Akins, spurned a good chance from a 25-yard free-kick before clattering into Jackson Irvine but avoiding a second booking.
In between, Ward had given Burton breathing space with his second goal in Burton colours. This time it was more direct, John Brayford sending the ball over the Birmingham defence for Ward to run on to and calmly slot past former Albion keeper Adam Legzdins.
Birmingham tried to get back into the game but skipper Michael Morrison was guilty of putting a free header wide of the post from a corner after substitute Che Adams had seen a shot deflected just over the bar.
Chris O'Grady almost made it three, firing a left-foot shot wide of the target from the edge of the box after more good work from Ward, who left to a standing ovation for his excellent effort.
Although Birmingham huffed and puffed in the closing stages there was to be no comeback for Rowett or his promotion-chasing side.