Alex Dicken's player ratings after Birmingham City are left on the brink at Huddersfield

Huddersfield Town's Rhys Healey celebrates with teammates after equalising against Blues
Huddersfield Town's Rhys Healey celebrates with teammates after equalising against Blues -Credit:Shutterstock

Birmingham City need a dramatic turnaround on the final day to avoid relegation after failing to beat Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Koji Miyoshi’s goal was cancelled out just after half-time by Rhys Healey and Blues couldn’t react. Results elsewhere effectively relegated Huddersfield and Blues will need to beat Norwich City on the final day and pray someone does them a favour.

The first genuine chance of the afternoon fell to Blues’ Keshi Anderson. Jay Stansfield and Miyoshi cleverly worked the ball to Anderson inside the box but he scuffed his shot wide from eight yards. Anderson really should have tested Huddersfield goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

Huddersfield grew into the game and had a good chance of their own midway through the half. Pinball inside Blues’ penalty area ended with Jack Rudoni flashing a volley just wide of the upright.

RECAP: Huddersfield Town vs Birmingham City

READ: Gary Rowett made Knighthead prediction ahead of Birmingham City’s relegation shoot-out

Ex-Huddersfield man Juninho Bacuna – who was restored to the starting line-up by Gary Rowett after two games on the bench – put a free header over the bar soon after.

With half-time approaching and results elsewhere going against Blues, the crucial breakthrough arrived. Anderson glided down the left and crossed to the far post where Miyoshi was waiting to guide the ball past Nicholls. Elation on the pitch, relief in the away end.

Rowett must have emphasised the importance of keeping things tight at the start of the second half but Blues surrendered their lead in under two minutes. The dangerous Rudoni drifted into space down the right and squared for Healey to draw Huddersfield level.

Blues struggled to stop the flow of Huddersfield attacks but they almost regained the lead against the run of play through Stansfield. Miyoshi flicked the ball through to Blues’ top scorer and his first-time effort drifted an inch or two wide of the post.

Rowett introduced Siriki Dembele, who was the scourge of Huddersfield in October, and made a triple substitution with 15 minutes to go. Marc Roberts, Alex Pritchard and Lukas Jutkiewicz were the proverbial kitchen sink.

There wasn’t a grandstand finish, though. If anything, Huddersfield looked more likely to find the winner in the closing stages. It’s all on next week’s game against Norwich City now.

Birmingham City players celebrate after Koji Miyoshi scored against Huddersfield
Birmingham City players celebrate after Koji Miyoshi scored against Huddersfield -Credit:2024 Getty Images

John Ruddy 6

The goalkeeper made a good save from Helik after the ball dropped loose inside his 18-yard box not long after Healey had equalised. Ruddy had to deal with a lot of balls into his box from Huddersfield set pieces.

Ethan Laird 5

Laird had a very mixed game. He did well on occasions defensively but his touch let him down in the final third. Laird lost the ball twice in quick succession at one stage in the second half to the frustration of the away end.

Krystian Bielik 6

Bielik has been Blues’ best player under Rowett and he was solid enough in this game. He defended well and slotted into midfield for the closing stages.

Dion Sanderson 6

Sanderson produced an adequate performance at the back. He tried to play out when he could and defended his box well enough.

Lee Buchanan 5

Buchanan struggled to cope with Rudoni and did well to stay on the field after an early booking. His distribution and quality in the final third left a lot to be desired.

Ivan Sunjic 5

Sunjic battled and worked relentlessly during the first half to help Blues establish their lead. When they got themselves ahead, Sunjic wasn’t able to keep possession at the start of the second half and take the sting out of Huddersfield’s attacks.

Paik Seung-ho 5

The South Korean midfielder was unusually poor in possession. Too many of Paik’s set pieces failed to beat the first man, too.

Koji Miyoshi 6

Miyoshi scored at the John Smith’s Stadium and showed some quality in possession but too many times he ran into trouble and lost possession. Never

Juninho Bacuna 5

Bacuna managed to combine well with Anderson in the first half but his influence disappeared after half-time. A few lax touches inside his own defensive third almost put Blues in trouble during Huddersfield’s onslaught immediately after the break. It was no surprise to see him withdrawn.

Keshi Anderson 6

Anderson produced the moment of quality in the first half for Blues to create Miyoshi’s goal. He wasn’t able to carry it on into the second half.

Jay Stansfield 6

If everyone fought for the cause like Stansfield then Blues wouldn’t be in this position. He played his heart out until the final whistle and won’t be in League One next season - even if Blues are.


Siriki Dembele (for Bacuna, 65) 6

Dembele showed some of his quality when he came on. There’s a good argument that he should have started.

Marc Roberts (for Sunjic, 76) N/A

Alex Pritchard (for Miyoshi, 76) N/A

Lukas Jutkiewicz (for Anderson, 76) N/A

Not used: Etheridge, Gardner, James, Hall, T Roberts

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