Birmingham dig in for a point at Luton

John Ruddy kept a clean sheet for the visitors at Kenilworth Road.

By Press Association Published: 30 July 2022 - 4.18pm

Luton were held to a 0-0 draw by a dogged Birmingham in their Sky Bet Championship opener at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

The hosts came close to breaking the deadlock in the sixth minute when James Bree’s free-kick saw goalkeeper John Ruddy clear with his legs, Jordan Clark lashing the rebound over from the edge of the box.

Summer signing Luke Freeman had the next chance for the Hatters. Found by Clark, he showed good skills to make space before a scuffed shot which drew a save from Ruddy.

Birmingham threatened midway through the half when Juninho Bacuna bundled his way into a shooting position, despite appearing to handball on the way through, before dragging an effort well wide.

The Blues then had their best spell of the game and in the 31st minute they were able to find an overlapping Maxime Colin. His drilled effort was easy for Ethan Horvath to parry away, before the home stopper had to punch an inswinging corner out from underneath his own bar.

At the other end, Bree tried his luck from 25 yards, his effort bouncing wide, before Luton had an even better opportunity just before half-time, Elijah Adebayo sent Carlton Morris away but he opted to cut back onto his left foot and Birmingham got enough bodies back to repel the danger.

USA international Horvath adjusted well to claim Przemyslaw Placheta’s dipping snapshot from 22 yards, before – in the second half – Morris glanced a header wide and Placheta had another go, although he did not overly trouble Horvath.

Freeman’s attempt from range only narrowly missed the target, before Blues responded when Marc Roberts caused some aerial problems from a corner and Bacuna drilled into the side-netting.

Morris continued to threaten on his debut, outpacing his marker to bend a shot that flew inches wide, before then using his right foot from distance, with  Ruddy able to save.

Bacuna appeared to be Birmingham’s main threat and he powered through the middle and saw a drive deflect behind.

Midfielder Allan Campbell almost opened the scoring for Luton in the 65th minute but, when found by Bree, he saw a covering Blues defender get back in the nick of time.

Bree advanced down the right once more, his cross nicked off the toes of Campbell by an alert Ruddy, who then was able to fall on an instinctive effort from home substitute Cauley Woodrow.

The goalkeeper was almost beaten with eight minutes left, substitute Harry Cornick curling an effort that looked like it would nestle in the corner, only to scrape the side-netting.

However, Birmingham might have won the contest late on. Roberts was left unmarked from a corner but could only head the ball into the visiting supporters, as the spoils were shared.

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