St Andrew's late show keeps unbeaten run intact
- Andy Davies
Late goals from Dominic Solanke and Jaidon Anthony helped AFC Bournemouth maintain their unbeaten start in the Championship.
Solanke drew first blood for the Cherries 13 minutes from time before Anthony bagged his first senior goal for the club ten minutes later.
Scott Parker’s team enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and were rewarded for their endeavours in the closing stages.
Victory ended Birmingham's unbeaten start to the season as the visitors triumphed for the sixth game in succession against the Blues at St Andrew's.
Leeds United loan signing Leif Davis was handed his full Cherries debut as head coach Parker made one enforced change to his starting line-up.
Davis, who replaced Emi Marcondes during the second half of Saturday’s win at Nottingham Forest, came in for David Brooks who served a one-match ban following his sending off at the City Ground.
Goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, who signed for the Cherries on the eve of the contest, was named among the visitors’ substitutes.
Tahith Chong, on loan to Blues from Manchester United, drew a fine save from Mark Travers after just 90 seconds.
The frontman stepped inside and let fly with his left foot from around 15 yards, Travers diving full length to parry his stinging drive.
Lloyd Kelly looked to mount a couple of attacks with searching through balls to Anthony and Marcondes, but the Birmingham defence averted the danger on both occasions.
And although the Cherries enjoyed a spell of good possession, the next shooting opportunity came from the hosts with Chong again pivotal in the move.
His slide-rule pass picked out Jonathan Leko arriving on the edge of the 18-yard box and, after he had taken aim, Travers was again well placed to beat away the striker’s powerful shot.
Another break started by Chong near the halfway line ended with Leko seeing his shot blocked before an effort from the lively Manchester United loan man was deflected for a corner.
Jeremie Bela whipped a couple of free-kicks into the danger zone which the Cherries defence did well to deal with.
A sweeping move in the first minute of the second half ended with Jordan Zemura working an opening with Anthony whose shot was turned past the post by Blues goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.
Zeno Ibsen Rossi did well to cut out Chong’s driven low cross before Anthony fired straight into the arms of Sarkic after being picked out by Marcondes.
Junior Stanislas replaced Marcondes on the hour before Chris Mepham bravely threw himself in front of a Bela piledriver.
Lukas Jutkiewicz thought he had broken the deadlock when he headed home a Maxime Colin cross after 62 minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Ben Pearson replaced Davis after 69 minutes, the midfielder having his first taste of action this season following an injury-interrupted few weeks.
Phil Billing burst into the 18-yard box but dragged his shot wide of the target before Bela felt the full force of a challenge from the Danish midfielder and required treatment.
And after the loose ball had been collected by Anthony, he was upended by Blues defender Kristian Pedersen who received the first booking of the contest.
Solanke made the breakthrough when he put the finishing touches to a well-worked team goal, started by Mepham’s pass out from the back to Anthony.
The young winger then laid the ball into the path of Pearson who played a precision first-time pass to Solanke.
And after outmuscling defender Marc Roberts, Solanke squeezed the ball past the outstretched hand of Sarkic and inside the far post.
Zemura then made a crucial goal-saving interception to prevent a cross from Chuks Aneke being met by an onrushing striker at the far post.
Anthony doubled the Cherries’ lead three minutes from time, the 21-year-old netting his first senior goal for the club.
He applied a superb right-foot finish, sweeping the ball into the back of the net after Ibsen Rossi had headed Stanislas’s corner to him.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Mepham, Ibsen Rossi, Kelly, Zemura, Davis (Pearson, 69), Kilkenny, Marcondes (Stanislas, 60), Anthony, Billing, Solanke.
Unused subs: Camp, Moriah-Welsh, Taylor, Saydee, Nyland (g/k).
Birmingham City: Sarkic, Pedersen, Dean, Roberts, Colin, Woods, Gardner, Chong (Sanchez, 87), Leko (Hogan, 79), Jutkiewicz (Aneke, 70).
Unused subs: Friend, Sanchez, Castillo, Sunjic, Trueman (g/k).