Birmingham 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday: Wayne Rooney FINALLY gets his first win as Blues boss with late Jordan James winner as hosts fight from a goal down against the Owls

25 November 2023 0 By Total Football News
  • Wayne Rooney was yet to win a game as Birmingham manager before Saturday 
  • Jordan James' winner came within three minutes of replacing Juninho Bacuna 
  • Inside Ange's Spurs: Listen to It's All Kicking Off on how he transformed the club 

One of England's greatest footballers turned to applaud the Tilton Road End after his first win as Birmingham manager and a tentative cry of 'Rooney! Rooney! Rooney!' filled the evening air.

A late strike from substitute Jordan James had given Wayne Rooney's tenure the lift-off it needed but it was mighty close, and these supporters will demand much better before they go all-in on the former Manchester United captain, who won in English football for the first time in 575 days.

Because a narrow victory over Sheffield Wednesday – one of the poorest teams in the Championship – does not justify Blues' decision to sack John Eustace and hire Rooney when they were sixth in the table. 

In-form Blackburn await at Ewood Park on Wednesday before struggling Rotherham visit St Andrew's on Saturday – another game Rooney must win.

Blues fans were ready to turn when George Byers put Wednesday in front just before half-time but Juninho Bacuna equalised in stoppage time to keep Rooney away from the boos. James' 81st-minute winner arrived three minutes after he replaced Bacuna.

Jordan James sealed a late win for Birmingham after his goal from the bench in the 81st minute

Jordan James sealed a late win for Birmingham after his goal from the bench in the 81st minute

James' strike sealed first win under Wayne Rooney, much to the relief of anxious supporters

James' strike sealed first win under Wayne Rooney, much to the relief of anxious supporters

Rooney's side secured an all important win at home against struggling Sheffield Wednesday

Rooney's side secured an all important win at home against struggling Sheffield Wednesday

Chief executive Garry Cook and Blues' American owners – including NFL great Tom Brady – have bet the farm on Rooney and failure here would have left them with serious questions to answer. 

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

Birmingham City (4-2-2-2): Ruddy 6; Laird 7 (Roberts 88), Sanderson 6, Aiwu 6, Buchanan 6 (Drameh 78, 6); Bielik 5.5, Bacuna 6.5 (James 78, 6); Dembele 6.5, Miyoshi 6.5 (Donovan 88); Stansfield 6.5, Burke 5 (Jutkiewicz 64, 6). 

Subs not used: Etheridge, Hogan, Gardner, Sunjic.

Scorers: Bacuna 45+3, James 81

Booked: Dembele

Manager: Wayne Rooney 6

Sheffield Wednesday (4-3-3): Dawson 6; Iorfa 6.5, Ihiekwe 6, Diaby 6.5, Famewo 6; Vaulks 6; Byers 7 (Fletcher 83), Bannan 6; Musaba 6 (Gassama 64, 6), Windass 6 (Cadamarteri 83), Wilks 6 (Johnson 64, 6). 

Subs not used: Vasquez, Palmer, Bernard, James, Charles.

Scorers: Byers 44

Booked: Windass, Wilks, Bannan, Musaba

Manager: Danny Rohl 6

Referee: Rebecca Welch 6.5

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As for Wednesday, improved displays under new coach Danny Rohl have not brought better results and a long winter lies ahead.

'The process we are looking to build is for the next few years, not the next few weeks,' said Rooney. 

'The Championship has changed: the teams who play football are normally the teams who win games.

'But we need to be horrible to play against first and then improve gradually with the ball. 

'My reaction at half-time was not good – I wanted and expected more from the players.

'The second half was a lot better because we showed a lot more composure and energy. 

'I was delighted with the second goal because our control and movement were excellent but we have to improve on the first half.'

Wednesday's away record should have reassured Rooney's team but it had the opposite effect as the visitors looked more dangerous throughout the first half and deserved their lead. Josh Windass' free-kick hit the post and fell perfectly for Byers to turn home.

At that point Birmingham looked certain to be jeered off but Bacuna lifted the atmosphere with a thunderous effort from just outside the box. 

That should have given Blues the momentum to push on and Siriki Dembele was inches away from putting them in front just before the hour mark. 

Rooney's men were struggling to create chances though and when they did, Koji Miyoshi's volley was blocked by his own team-mate – substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz.

The breakthrough came when Jay Stansfield escaped down the right and crossed for James. 

Though his first shot was kept out by Cameron Dawson, James was alert enough to take the rebound around the Wednesday goalkeeper before steering it home.

'We didn't deserve it and played more like a mid-table team than one at the bottom of the table,' said Rohl. 

'I know it's not an easy job but I see my team improving.'

Blues midfielder Juninho Bacuna levelled the match on the stroke of half-time to make it 1-1

Blues midfielder Juninho Bacuna levelled the match on the stroke of half-time to make it 1-1

A tense first half saw referee Rebecca Welch hand out four yellow cards across both teams

A tense first half saw referee Rebecca Welch hand out four yellow cards across both teams

Improved displays under Danny Rohl have not necessarily yielded better results for the Owls

Improved displays under Danny Rohl have not necessarily yielded better results for the Owls

IT'S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It's All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.


This news item was provided by the EFL Championship News, Fixtures and Results | Mail Online website - the original link is: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-12790355/Birmingham-2-1-Sheffield-Wednesday-Championship-Result.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490