Birmingham earn narrow win over MK Dons
Jacques Maghoma scored the only goal as Birmingham earned a 1-0 home win over MK Dons in the Sky Bet Championship.
It was a hard-fought success as they were indebted to a fine individual second half goal from Maghoma which turned out to be the highlight of a dour game.
Birmingham's win enabled them to complete their first double of the season and it could not have come at a better time following some inconsistent performances.
With the third worst goalscoring home record in the Championship Birmingham were hardly expected to produce a glut of goals.
There had been hopes that with striker Clayton Donaldson back in the starting line-up for the first time since spearheading a 5-2 win at Fulham nine games previously the Birmingham side would have a more positive attitude but generally it was a false illusion.
Birmingham initially they had to survive some strong attacks from a confident MK Dons side keen to build upon their weekend success over Cardiff.
Birmingham eventually found some attacking rhythm and could have gone ahead in the 12th minute.
Stephen Gleeson collected a pass from Jon Toral but his weak effort trickled the wrong side of the post.
A Toral free-kick then tested David Martin who kept MK Dons in the game as Birmingham slowly took control.
There was, however, an anxious moment for Birmingham when a Danny Powell shot was blocked by Tomasz Kuszczak. Sam Gallagher was on hand but his effort was hastily turned away for a corner.
Toral continued to be a menace for Birmingham. He was accorded space and the on-loan player from Arsenal produced several impressive passes with the best which set up Maghoma to fire in a low shot which was turned away for a corner by Martin.
There were strong appeals for a 36th minute penalty when Dean Lewington handled a cross from Viv Solomon-Otabor but referee Andy Davies ignored the pleas.
MK Dons survived another let-off when Toral's finishing left a lot to be desired as he shot across the face of the goal with the opposition on the wrong foot.
But the miss of the game came in the 56th minute when the ball ran loose into the path of Donaldson. The striker had only Martin to beat but inexplicably scooped the ball against the crossbar.
The incident summed up the often untidy opening 60 minutes although Birmingham then attempted to atone with some strong attacking play to put MK Dons' defence under siege.
Birmingham eventually broke the stalemate in the 63rd minute with an outstanding solo goal from Maghoma.
The winger twisted and turned several times before eventually getting back onto his left foot to fire his shot into the net despite the attention of six MK Dons players attempting to block his path to goal.
Demarai Gray made a belated appearance when he replaced Solomon-Otabor after 79 minutes in what could be one of his last appearances at St. Andrew's, if a much heralded move into the Premier League takes place.
He had a great opportunity to finish in style but blasted an 87th minute shot against the post.