BIRMINGHAM 2 BLACKBURN 1(one)
BLUES: Maik Taylor, Tebily, Cunningham, Martin Taylor, Sadler, Pennant (Melchiot 37), Johnson, Butt, Gray, Sutton, Heskey (Forssell 67).
Subs Not Used: Vaesen, Kilkenny, Bruce.
Booked: Cunningham, Tebily, Johnson, Gray, Sutton.
Goals: Butt 62, Forssell 87.
ROVERS: Friedel, Neill, Todd (Mokoena 74), Nelsen, Khizanishvili, Emerton (Kuqi 71), Reid, Savage, Pedersen (Peter 45), Bentley, Bellamy.
Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Dickov.
Goals: Savage 78.
Ref: U Rennie
Blues are out of the bottom three and keep a few more sides mathematically in danger of the drop.
This wonder show against Euro hopefuls Blackburn was a just dessert for a tremendous effort. Blues night was soured by the loss of Heskey and Pennant through injury but with Melchiot playing as an an emergency winger and Forssell hitting the`winner Blues certainly overcame the loss.
Blues carved out a number of chances as little was seen of Blackburn's attack in the first half. Bellamy, who Blues coveted last year spent little time showing us his skills and all the time displaying the petulance for which he is also well known.
Savage was never 'at it' as Blues fans have come to expect and tried to release the ball as quickly as possible thus not allowing any one to test his ability to receive a tackle.
Blues first chance fell to Gray who swivelled on a cross only to see Freidel turn the ball over. Gray set up Sutton with a cross into the six yard box but Sutton who seemed certain to score pushed the ball wide of the post.
Johnson, the tireless and most committed Blues man fired in a 25 yard volley which Friedel palmed away.
The second half saw a little more of Blackburn as an attacking force but Blues went ahead with a goal that was the result of effort rather than skill. A high ball into the box flicked on by Sutton fell to Heskey. His left foot swing at the ball sliced away but Gray latched on to it and crossed. Butt was on hand to shove the ball over the line as the crowd errupted.
The same crowd was stunned when Rovers sub Peters fired in a rasping drive which Taylor saved well. The ball fell kindly to Savage who's half hit effort rolled in the corner of the net. The former Welsh international demonstrated his stupidity by running round the pitch mocking the crowd and was severely repremanded by ref Rennie. Ironically this was his first goal for Blackburn.
Blues were starting to look out on their feet but should have had a penalty when Forssell was blatantly pushed in the box. Butt burst into the box a few moments later and went to ground but Rennie got this one right and a corner ensued.
Blackburn failed to clear and a Tebily cross found Gray who surely had his best game in a Blues' shirt. The cross found Forssell who swivelled and hit a low left footer past Friedel.
Blues's held out fairly comfortably although the crowd raised the tension imploring the ref to blow the final whistle.
Eventually he did and the magnificent efforts of all 13 who took part was well rewarded.
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