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Late case of the Blues

Posted on 30 January 2010  - 12:00

A stoppage time equaliser prevented us recording our second win in a week as Birmingham City salvaged a 1-1 draw at St Andrews on Saturday.

Late case of the Blues

A stoppage time equaliser prevented us recording our second win in a week as Birmingham City salvaged a 1-1 draw at St Andrews on Saturday.

Jermain Defoe was on the end of a well crafted and well deserved opener with 21 minutes remaining and it appeared an away win was on the cards until Liam Ridgewell popped up with a leveller at the beginning of added on time.

Both sides were unchanged for this encounter in the sunny, but chilly midlands and it was David Bentley who took the first pot shot on goal from distance, one with good intent but not one that was going to trouble Joe Hart in the Birmingham goal.

Heurelho Gomes was called upon for some smart work moments later when Chucho picked out the run of James McFadden into the area. The Scot cleverly reversed the play back in the direction of Lee Bowyer, who placed a precise effort aimed for the bottom corner with Gomes saving well to his right.

Bentley worked himself another shooting position nine minutes in that took a deflection and fell at the feet of Luka Modric, who looked set to open the scoring but his low shot fired narrowly wide. Peter Crouch and then Bentley again had shots blocked by defensive lunges as a tidy authority spread throughout the team's play.

At the other end Chuchu got the better of Ledley King and Michael Dawson, creating himself a clear shooting chance in front of goal, but thankfully did not generate any placement or power and Gomes was able to field with ease.

A fizzed Vedran Corluka cross to the near post was met by the head of Jermain Defoe but was off target. Birmingham crept back into the contest possession-wise as the clock ticked past the 30 minute mark.

Bentley forced Hart into a snap save at the near post after a feint and a shrug of the shoulders defeated his marker Ridgewell - Defoe later trying a shot from a similar position with less accuracy.

It was a half of considerable promise but no reward in terms of score, although the performances of Gareth Bale, Wilson Palacios and Luka Modric suggested this could alter in time.

The second half began in an encouraging fashion with a couple of teasing crosses from Bentley keeping the home defenders occupied. Bentley then volleyed Bale's cross into the near post and it took Hart two attempts to gather under pressure from Tom Huddlestone.

Modric crafted a opening for Defoe on the run and the little striker took the ball on before taking aim. Crouch intervened at the point of shot and the ball trickled wide.

Momentum was gathering and Birmingham were beginning to get penned in to their own half, but the tireless Palacios was the unfortunate recipient of a yellow card on a rare sortie forward by the home side. Bowyer jinked forward and was about to come under a challenge from the Honduran, but Palacios opted out and made no contact. A free-kick was awarded by Mr Attwell on the edge of the area and a card issued to a disbelieving player.

The deadlock was broken in some style in the 69th minute. The excellent Bale exerted even more energy down the left flank and whipped in a cross that Crouch helped on virtually at ground level. Waiting for the flick was the predator Defoe, who struck first time into the bottom corner, leaving Hart standing.

Birmingham had the chance to level when Chuchu was played through, but the striker took an extra touch, cut inside and by the time he had done that, Dawson and King were in position to lunge to good effect.

Robbie Keane came on Defoe with 12 minutes left on the clock, the goalscorer having just been booked for handball. Jermaine Jenas was also added to the mix in place of Bentley as the team sought to see out time without alarm.

This proved not to be the case when a deep cross was headed back across goal by Cameron Jerome and Ridgewell was waiting to thump home at the far post. The fourth official had just signalled five minutes of stoppage time, but this was not long enough in the bid to restore the advantage.