Birmingham City were dragged down to the same level as the Championship’s draw specialists during a tiring performance at St Andrew’s.
Given Swansea City’s form leading into yesterday’s game, this final scoreline would have come as no surprise.
Ever since the Welshmen were beaten 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium by Birmingham back on November 21, Roberto Martinez’ men had drawn every single Championship fixture leading into this match.
Now that bizarre run of drawn games stands at eight for Swansea as they returned to South Wales with a familiar-looking solo point.
For Birmingham, there were positives and negatives to take from this affair which keeps them level on points with Reading in second place, six points behind league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Reduced to ten men following David Murphy’s 68th-minute sending-off for a second bookable offence, Birmingham defended resolutely against a pacey and dangerous attacking side.
However, the home side never really looked capable of finding that winning goal and the introduction of Cameron Jerome and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie arguably came too late.
There would have undoubtedly been a few sets of heavy legs trudging off the pitch at the end of this stalemate; not only was it both teams’ second match in three days but this was a thoroughly tiring encounter in front of St Andrew’s second-biggest gate of the season.
Kevin Phillips and Marcus Bent returned in attack for Birmingham after being rested at Ipswich on Boxing Day, while James McFadden was switched to the right flank in place of Kemy Agustien.
Swansea opted to rest top-scorer Jason Scotland by only naming the in-form Trinidad and Tobago international amongst their substitutes.
Just as they did on that Friday November night in South Wales, Swansea took the game to Birmingham at a frantic pace and looked to use both flanks at every opportunity but, on this occasion, Alex McLeish’s defence were expecting their opponents’ high-tempo approach.
However, the Swans’ style combined with a bobbly surface to draw Birmingham into some late challenges as reflected by the three first-half yellow cards that were amassed by the home side.
While Swansea’s style may have been aesthetically pleasing, they often over-complicated things and never really threatened to break the deadlock before the interval.
Shots from distance, from Darren Pratley, Mark Gower and Angel Rangel, rained in on Maik Taylor’s goal but his net never looked like rustling.
A bouncing Jordi Gomez strike and a low Pratley effort, which went through the legs of Radhi Jaidi, proved tricky but not effective.
At the other end, Phillips looked to have opened the scoring for Birmingham in the 22nd minute. McFadden’s right-side corner was aimed at Franck Queudrue’s head but with Phillips lurking behind the Frenchman, possession fell to the striker’s feet and he could only send a rasping effort into the side netting.
Then on the half-hour mark, McFadden charged down the left channel but with Queudrue and Phillips dashing into the box, the Scotland international opted to go for goal with a hopeful effort that was gratefully received by the grasp of goalkeeper Doures de Vries.
Given that McFadden and Murphy are hardly natural wingers, Birmingham needed to inject some pace from their own speedy ranks because while they were solid at the back, the Blues weren’t causing Swansea too many headaches where it counted.
Bent sent a looping header narrowly wide on the hour mark just as Swansea were introducing their own goal-threat, Scotland. The West Indian would have made an instant impression, as well, had Jaidi not blocked his low shot from just inside the area.
Birmingham looked to be tiring and the introduction of Owusu-Abeyie in the 70th minute was a welcome one, but it would have been more enthusiastically received had Murphy not been shown his marching orders.
The makeshift winger’s late swipe on Gomez deservedly attracted a booking , which followed the yellow card Murphy had been given in the first half for a foul on Leon Britton.
Shortly after Lee Carsley had made a potentially match-saving challenge on Gorka Pintado, Jerome signalled his arrival by outstripping Swansea captain Garry Monk from McFadden’s throughball and sending a shot from the right narrowly behind De Vries’ goal.
Scotland continued to torment Birmingham’s overworked defence and, in the 85th minute, he fired a dangerous effort across the face of goal and wide.
Birmingham survived a nervous finale, as Scotland should have scored in the final minute but he gave Stuart Parnaby a grateful clearance after mis-controlling Febian Brandy’s touchback following a brave block from Taylor.
Brandy’s deflected shot almost caught out Taylor in the dying seconds but the deadlock stood to the final whistle.