Alex Smithies – Man of the Match

Some of his saves were special. Now established as Cardiff’s number one under Neil Harris. Neil Etheridge remains a quality goalkeeper, but Smithies is the man in possession. It looks likely Joe Day may move on this month, leaving Smithies and Etheridge to battle it out for the starting place 8

Jazz Richards

Quality defender. A Welshman who defends solidly. Personally, I’d like to see him getting forward more to join in, but in away matches, that can be difficult 6

Sean Morrison (capt)

It’s good to see the skipper back at the heart of defence. His partnership alongside Nelson is developing and while Bamba and Flint aren’t quite at their best, that is the best combination, Strong in the air at both ends. A commanding figure, but he has to be more aware as skipper. Somebody should have spotted that Cardiff had only five markers in their penalty area when Birmingham scored following a set piece – and the Blues had six attackers 6

Curtis Nelson

Learning his trade at Championship level, but he is a talented center-back who looks good alongside Morrison. There are moments when he can be caught out, but he will learn and progress over the next few months 6

Joe Bennett

Good to see Bennett in solid form at left-back and growing in confidence. Quality Championship player at his best – both defensively and when he goes forward 7

Gavin Whyte

The victim of a dreadful challenge by Birmingham’s Gary Gardner, who was fortunate to escape with a caution. He could easily have been sent off. Whyte struggling for consistency and faded out of this game too easily. He has ability, but needs to work on his game focus and concentration 5

Leandro Bacuna

Full of running, full of fire, full of competitive spirit. With Bacuna and Ralls together in midfield, there would be plenty of box-to-box action. Balance, though, is required and Pack adds his own brand of quality through the centre 6

Marlon Pack

I hate the constant sniping that Pack is too slow, ponderous in central midfield. He’s never going to be quick – that will not change. He had good spells and provided an assist on Cardiff’s goal. Among the assets he has to help Cardiff are leadership, composure and genuine passing ability 6

Junior Hoilett

At his best, Hoilett is a tricky, dangerous player. He was, though, far from his best against Birmingham. The loss of the direct and powerful Mendez-Laing has been a blow. It’s up to Hoilett and Murphy to step up now 5

Lee Tomlin

Why on earth didn’t Neil Warnock turn to Tomlin earlier? It was clear he was fit and firing when he joined Cardiff’s under-23 team on their pre-season grip to Cornwall. Thankfully, Neil Harris is nurturing that talent. The Bluebirds’ creative spark. Tomlin was involved in three big moments. He was brought down inside the penalty area – it should have been a penalty – scored Cardiff’s equaliser and had another effort disallowed for offside when he felt it was a good goal 7

Danny Ward

Struggled over the first half an hour. Suffered an injury early on, tried to play through it and then limped off with Paterson taking over in attack. Glatzel was among the subs, but manager Harris turned to the tried and trusted Paterson, who seems capable of shining wherever he is asked to play 5

Subs:

Neil Etheridge (gk)

Not used

Aden Flint

Not used

Will Vaulks

Not used

Josh Murphy

Not used

Joe Ralls

For Hoilett 83

Robert Glatzel

For Tomlin 90

Danny Ward

For Paterson 31

Birmingham City: Camp, Pedersen, Roberts, Colin, Crowley, Jutkiewicz, Bela, Clarke-Salter, Mrabti, Bellingham, Šunjić. Subs not used: Trueman, Montero, McEachran, Maghoma, Gardner, Giménez, Davis.

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 20,482