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Birmingham 0-0 Stoke: Impressive Ruddy helps hosts earn a point
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John Ruddy impressed (Joe Giddens/PA)
John Ruddy impressed (Joe Giddens/PA)

John Ruddy made a crucial stop to earn Birmingham a much-deserved point in their 0-0 draw at home to Stoke.

Overall a draw was certainly a fair result for both sides after Stoke dominated the majority of the proceedings in this mid-table Championship clash.

However, it could be argued Blues had the better chances with Krystian Bielik missing an open goal three minutes from time.

The first chance of the game fell to the hosts in the second minute after Juninho Bacuna latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the area before playing it through to Lukas Jutkiewicz who snatched at his chance as he smashed it wide of the target.

The following 20 minutes proved to be a very dull affair with the windy conditions at St Andrews making it extremely difficult to retain possession for an extended period of time.

The Potters’ first chance of the match fell to Ben Pearson in the 22nd minute after Will Smallbone carefully teed up the Southampton loanee on the edge of the area, only for Pearson to curl the ball just wide of the goal.

Stoke were unfortunate not to find themselves ahead in the 31st minute after Tyreece Campbell was denied by the fingertips of former Wolves stopper Ruddy after Blues failed to clear their lines following a Smallbone corner.

Ki-Jana Hoover cleverly found a pocket of space on the edge of the area where he threaded a ball through to Campbell who curled his effort towards the top left corner, but Ruddy did superbly well to tip it wide.

Blues did well to weather a 15-minute period of Stoke dominance midway through the first half and really should have gone into the break with the lead.

A long kick by Ruddy caused confusion between a couple of the Potters’ defenders which resulted in George Hall and Tahith Chong being through on goal, however neither forward was truly able to get the ball under control.

Chances really seemed to dry up in the second half with Alex Neil’s men appearing the more dominant side in the second 45.

Therefore it was no surprise when the first chance of the second half fell to the visitors when Josh Laurent’s cross was only cleared as far as Campbell who sliced his effort well over the bar from range.

The Potters continued to dominate but were unable to carve out any clear-cut opportunities.

Despite the Potters dominating it was Blues who nearly snatched it at the death as Bielik had a shot blocked off the line in the 87th minute after Jack Bonham spilled the ball into the path of the Derby loanee who saw his shot heroically blocked on the line by Nick Powell.


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