Birmingham 2-1 Sheff Wed: James seals three points for Rooney's side

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

  • 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 

Wayne Rooney finally has lift off at Birmingham after a late winner from substitute Jordan James handed the former England captain his first win as boss.

The Blues had collected only one point from their opening five games under Rooney, after sacking John Eustace when they were sixth in the Championship. 

So when Sheffield Wednesday – who had claimed only one point on the road all season – took the lead through George Byers seconds before half-time, the crowd were ready to turn on Rooney.

But Juninho Bacuna’s stoppage-time equaliser lifted the fans and three minutes after replacing Bacuna, James tapped in the winner from close range after his original shot had been saved.

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. 

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

James’ strike sealed the first win under Wayne Rooney in his first games in charge at the club

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

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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.


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

Wednesday’s away record should have reassured Rooney’s team but it had the opposuite effect as the visitors looked more dangerous throughout the first half, and Dion Sanderson did well to block an early strike from Byers.

Then John Ruddy was caught in possession by Mallik Wilks and the Blues goalkeeper was relieved when the Wednesday man fired wide of the near post. 

That prompted some boos from the home fans and soon afterwards, youngster Emanuel Aiwu made a vital intervention to stop Anthony Musaba’s cross reaching a team-mate.

Dressed in his long black puffer jacket and baseball cap, Rooney grew agitated with the fourth official as a couple of marginal calls went against his team. 

Yet referee Rebecca Welch was spot on when she booked Josh Windass for a ridiculous dive when it would have been smarter to shoot.

Windass then volleyed wide when Barry Bannan’s superb crossfield pass found him unmarked eight yards from goal, and at the other end Bambo Diaby made an equally impressive clearance to stop Jay Stansfield turning in Siriki Dembele’s cross.

With half-time approaching, Wednesday took the lead. Windass’ free-kick hit the post and fell perfectly for Byers to turn it into the empty net.

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 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 Luke Jutkiewicz.

The breakthrough came when 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.

Blues midfielder Juninho Bacuna  levelled the tie 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

Improved performances under Danny Rohl have not necessarily yielded improved results for the Owls


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.

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