Leeds’ unbeaten run came to an end at St. Andrews as The Whites lost 1-0 to an in-form Birmingham City side.

The only goal of the match came on 35 minutes when Nikola Zigic finished off a scrappy opener for the home side.

Despite Birmingham’s lead, it was the visiting Leeds side that created the better chances. Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack had already fired wide, and Adam Clayton tested the goalkeeper with a good long-range strike before the opening goal.

The statistics show a dominant Leeds United side – 11 shots to Birmingham’s 8, 11 corners to Birmingham’s 5 – but Leeds couldn’t make their chances count and will be disappointed to have left St. Andrews with nothing after holding their own against Birmingham’s Europa League side.

The truth is, Birmingham are an awful side to play. No side in this division will get the better of them in the air, and they’re so well organised defensively that Leeds were often forced to shoot from range.

That didn’t stop us going close on a number of occasions, despite looking a little off our usual pace, perhaps slowed by the dogged Birmingham City side.

However, Birmingham are undoubtedly one of the Championship’s strongest sides and our fans should take some satisfaction from the fact we were unlucky to leave with nothing to show for our resilient, if somewhat below-par, display.

We were equal to, if not better than a side who will undoubtedly finish the season in the top six. Birmingham will scrap results out all season long, rarely conceding but impressing no one with the God-awful style of football they play – think George Graham, only slower… and duller…

If Birmingham are a yardstick by which we can judge our own potential then Leeds should have no problems finishing in the top six this season. It’s an entirely different style Birmingham play to that of Leeds – on their own turf, they dictated the tempo and forced us to play them at their own game, and despite falling into that trap, we never looked second best.

At the start of this campaign, West Ham and Birmingham were the two teams I expected to pose the biggest threat. Having now played them both away from home, I’m not fearful of any team in the Championship. Those two teams are the best the Championship has to offer, and we looked just as capable as both. In the reverse fixtures at Elland Road I’ll be disappointed with anything less than a win.

A summer of disappointment and a testing start to the campaign has gave way to the beautiful realisation that we’re a much better team than we were last season. The defence is stronger, everyone is playing for each other, their determination is unwavering and overall, we just look more balanced. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but isn’t there always? Make no mistake, this is a play-off side… feel free to quote me on that come May.

On and on…

  • Airforce005

    Top man, living out in india, followed the game online throughout the night, disappointed with the result but grateful i can log on come morning to read your well written views & analysis, there appears to be some cause for optimism. With thanks

  • Matt

    100% agree. My colleagues at work were surprised when I jauntily said we’d lost but I didn’t mind – we never looked in trouble, we worked hard and we were unlucky with the result. If you’re going to lose, 1-0 away to one of the league’s best sides is about the best way to do it.

    It should have been 0-0, and we need Lonergan back soon.

  • Swings and Roundabouts

    Interesting that you say Birmingham are a yardstick. As a Southampton fan, and having turned them over 4-1 at our place, I thought they were pretty poor. A central midfield of Fahey and Spector/Gomis is distinctly average, and other than King, they don’t pose much of a threat in the forward line either. Thought you lot deserved something last night, had the better chances, and played the better football. I can see them fading as the season takes it toll (especially as it looks like they are going to qualify in Europe).

  • Gerry Sparrow

    not excellent

  • Tony Whiston

    Always going to be a tough one
    3 points at the weekend should keep us back on course

  • Mark Edward Carter

    Whoever was responsible for keeping the fans waiting to exit should be investigated.bang out of order