Tennis ball protest can’t derail Birmingham as Blues sweep aside Luton

Birmingham City v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – St Andrew’s
(Image credit: Leila Coker)

Three new signings scored as Birmingham brushed off the latest display of supporter unrest to claim an impressive 3-0 win over play-off chasing Luton at St. Andrew’s.

The match was brought to a brief halt early on when fans threw dozens of tennis balls on to the pitch, but it did not put the home side off their stride.

Lyle Taylor set up Juninho Bacuna for his first Blues goal and then scored his third in four games since his loan arrival from Nottingham Forest.

Onel Hernandez added the third as Birmingham recorded only their second win in 12 games and a first clean sheet in that spell.

It was also the hosts’ first double of the season following their 5-0 win at Kenilworth Road in August and dented Luton’s charge after the Hatters had taken 20 points from their previous eight games.

Luton, backed by a sizeable following, started the brighter and created the first opening.

A cross from the right caused panic and Elijah Adebayo flicked the ball on, but Amari’i Bell’s flick was too weak to trouble goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

Play was briefly held up in the 14th minute when dozens of tennis balls were hurled on to the pitch from all four sides of the ground in a planned protest by Blues fans angry at the club’s board.

It was the fourth home game supporters unhappy about the running of the club had demonstrated, while chants of ‘Get out of our club’ and ‘We want our club back’ could also be heard.

The home fans were much happier in the 25th minute when their team scored from their first attack.

Luton centre-back Tom Lockyer and goalkeeper James Shea failed to deal with Gary Gardner’s cross and Taylor held off Lockyer to tee up Bacuna to finish high into the net from 12 yards.

Luton responded with a low angled drive from Bell smothered by Etheridge.

Blues gave themselves the perfect start to the second half by grabbing a second goal just 13 seconds after the restart.

Jeremie Bela’s pass from the left was crucially diverted towards goal by the toe of Henri Lansbury to leave Taylor clean through and the striker side-footed past Shea.

Luton tried to respond immediately and Allan Campbell’s volley from 12 yards flew just wide, then James Bree’s shot was blocked by Etheridge.

Play switched to the other end where Gardner drove a shot a yard wide after Hernandez had crossed and Ryan Woods squared.

Luton captain Kal Naismith drove wide from 25 yards, but it proved an isolated attack from the Hatters as Blues went on to dominate.

Bacuna’s side-footed effort was cleared off the line by Adebayo after Kristian Pedersen had challenged Shea from Jordan Graham’s free-kick.

Hernandez made it 3-0 in the 69th minute when he controlled Graham’s cross, which had been flicked on by Luton’s Reece Burke at the far post, and coolly side-footed home.

Taylor and Bela went close for Blues as Lee Bowyer’s side equalled their biggest home win of the season.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1