DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 0 BIRMINGHAM CITY 1
Marcus Bent finally broke Birmingham City’s duck with their first goal of pre-season last night.
Bent cracked home with aplomb from 18 yards after a raking long pass by Stephen Carr unhinged an otherwise sturdy Dagenham & Redbridge defence.
James McFadden made the run through and as he hoisted himself up to take Carr’s pass, his control took it behind Scott Doe and Will Antwi and perfectly into the path of the on-rushing Bent.
Moments after that 77th minute goal, Blues suffered an injury blow when Jared Wilson fell badly after attacking a high ball and had to be taken from the field holding his shoulder.
It has fast become a problem position for Blues as Wilson had replaced stand-in left-back Stuart Parnaby, who has a groin niggle.
Blues had to play out the last ten minutes with as many men as they had no more outfield substitutes left.
And it almost cost them as a cross by the right from Danny Green was headed over by Josh Scott with the goal at his mercy.
Blues, though, were always in control against the League Two side and Bent touched wide a through ball by Lee Bowyer as goalkeeper Tony Roberts came to meet him when it appeared another goal was certain.
Antwi denied Cameron Jerome early into the second-half after nice football on the right saw McFadden whip in an inviting cross.
Jerome was poised but Antwi flew at the ball in the nick of time.
Blues lost their flow for a while after that.
A mistake by Wilson let in Green on the right and he ran at the covering centre-halves before firing a rising drive that only just cleared the crossbar.
Early on, it was promising. Blues appeared alert, quick and determined, moving the ball well and out wide.
Jerome’s speed and ability proved difficult for Dagenham & Redbridge, and Gary McSheffrey was also lively.
A lobbed pass over the top by Scott Dann almost got Jerome in but for a last-ditch tackle by Scott Griffiths,
Parnaby smacked a low 25-yarder just wide and Blues continued to probe and press to the end of the half.
A minute before the break Jerome came close to opening the scoring when a McFadden corner flashed across a line of bodies.
Roger Johnson and Dann couldn’t get a touch and the ball spun to Jerome in the six-yard box but he couldn’t hack it past Roberts, who dived quickly to smother.
BIRMINGHAM CITY: Maik Taylor, Carr, Parnaby (Wilson, 56), Dann (Martin Taylor, h/t), Roger Johnson, Larsson, Ferguson, Fahey, McFadden, Jerome (Bent, 67), McSheffrey (Bowyer, h/t). Substitute: Doyle.