Former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips snatched an injury time winner against Sheffield United for his new club Birmingham City during the first game of the Championship season. The 35-year-old came off the bench and with seconds remaining he scored on the turn to earn his side a 1-0 victory.
Overall, Sheffield United will feel hard done by. They deserved at least a point from this game. In fact, they almost got it after Kevin Phillips had struck. Jon Stead hit the post immediately after, but the ball fell to safety and it wasn’t to be for the Blades.
To face Birmingham at St Andrews first game of the season was certainly a difficult task for Kevin Blackwell’s men, but they can take a lot of heart from their performance. In terms of football betting, they are still one of the promotion favourites in my view.
As for Birmingham, it will just be a relief to get the first win under their belts following relegation from the Premier League. They now have something to build on. Perhaps early season nerves can now be put to bed. They travel to administration threatened Southampton next and will fancy their chances of making it two wins out of two.
One thing for sure is that they have an excellent Championship striker in Kevin Phillips. He has a couple of seasons left in him yet at this level and there are not many Championship clubs that would turn down his services. He helped West Brom to promotion last season with 24 goals and I wouldn’t put it past him doing the same with Birmingham this season.
Alex McLeish has a lot of strikers at his disposal this season. James McFadden, Marcus Bent, Gary McSheffrey, Gary O’Connor and Kevin Phillips were all involved against Sheffield United. However, it is the latter – who was the match winner today – that I expect to be their main man as they look to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.