Birmingham City 0-0 Newcastle United – BBC Sport

Tomasz Kuszczak

Matt Ritchie’s first-half goal was disallowed by referee Simon Hooper

Newcastle moved a point clear at the Championship summit despite being held to a goalless draw at Birmingham City.

Matt Ritchie nearly opened the scoring in the first half when he beat Blues keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, but Ryan Shotton got back to clear.

Ritchie had a goal ruled out for offside and Kuszczak saved from Dwight Gayle’s header as Newcastle dominated.

Kuszczak made a low stop to deny Ritchie, while Lukas Jutkiewicz had Blues’ only shot on target late on.

Jutkiewicz also fired wide twice from good positions for the hosts, while Craig Gardner had a shot deflected wide from long range.

Blues boss Gianfranco Zola brought on Clayton Donaldson in the last five minutes after three months out with an Achilles injury, but the striker could not produce a breakthrough.

The result took Newcastle one point above Brighton, but the Seagulls can go top if they beat Leeds in the division’s late kick-off.

Birmingham remain five points above the relegation zone, having failed to win in four games.

Birmingham manager Gianfranco Zola:

“The commitment and desire not to give anything away was top class. I was pleased with the performance and at the present moment this is what is required.

“Considering our situation and the value of the opposition it was a good result.

“Personally, I am under pressure but this result is encouraging to build on what is a very small platform. We need to carry on and make it bigger.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez:

“People may expect us to win every away game but this was a valuable away point. It is important to learn how to manage games and we are in a better position after every match.

“We maintained a high tempo as we were aware of how Birmingham could play in these circumstances.

“There are still eight matches to be played and as Huddersfield lost we are now in a better position than we were before the game.”

Live Text

Match ends, Birmingham City 0, Newcastle United 0.

Second Half ends, Birmingham City 0, Newcastle United 0.

Substitution, Birmingham City. Stephen Gleeson replaces Craig Gardner.

Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jack Colback.

Substitution, Birmingham City. Clayton Donaldson replaces Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Foul by Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United).

Jonathan Grounds (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Maikel Kieftenbeld.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Christian Atsu replaces Yoan Gouffran.

Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jonathan Grounds (Birmingham City).

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Tomasz Kuszczak.

Attempt saved. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonjo Shelvey.

Yoan Gouffran (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Davis (Birmingham City).

Substitution, Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey replaces Ayoze Pérez.

Foul by Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United).

Tomasz Kuszczak (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Shotton (Birmingham City).

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jack Colback.

Attempt blocked. Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Tomasz Kuszczak.

Attempt missed. Jack Colback (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nsue (Birmingham City).

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Yoan Gouffran.

Attempt blocked. Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United).

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Dwight Gayle replaces Daryl Murphy.

Attempt missed. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Craig Gardner.

Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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