KUSZCZAK 8; Nsue 7, Bielik 6, Shotton 6, Robinson 7, Grounds 6; Tesche 5, Kieftenbeld 6, Gardner 5 (Gleeson 90), Davis 5; Jutkiewicz 6 (Donaldson 87).

Subs (not used): Legzdins (gk), Maghoma, Frei, Dacres-Cogley, Adams.

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NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1):

7 Darlow: Didn’t have a lot to do, but made a decent second-half save from Jutkiewicz to ensure the scoresheet remained blank

6 Anita: Successfully shut down Birmingham’s left flank, but doesn’t boast Yedlin’s attacking threat on the overlap

7 HANLEY: Did the job he was asked to do as he came in to replace Clark – won the physical battle against Jutkiewicz

7 Lascelles: Has recovered his composure after a shaky spell a few weeks ago and led Newcastle’s backline effectively

6 Dummett: Solid at the back despite Nsue’s overlapping runs, but another player who never threatened in attack

5 Diame: Forced to drop deeper to cover for Shelvey and lacks the range of passing of the player he was asked to replace

6 Colback: Made a number of important tackles to ensure Birmingham’s midfielders never got going but didn’t do a lot with the ball at his feet

7 Ritchie: Came closest to claiming a winner with a first-half effort that was disallowed for offside and also tested Kuszczak in the second half

6 Perez: Showed some nice touches in the first half, and came close with a good shot in the build-up to Ritchie’s disallowed goal

5 Gouffran: Lacked attacking finesse on the left-hand side, although as usual his work rate could not be faulted

6 Murphy: Tested Kuszczak with a couple of decent headers, but his lack of pace restricted Newcastle’s attacking options


5 Gayle (for Murphy, 63): Still didn’t look sharp in his half-hour on the field – Newcastle need him back to full pelt for their remaining eight matches

Shelvey (for Perez, 78)

Atsu (for Gouffran, 82)

(not used): Elliot (gk), Mbemba, Gamez, Mitrovic.

Man Of The Match: TOMASZ KUSZCZAK – Newcastle would have claimed all three points had it not been for the former Brighton goalkeeper’s heroics.