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As if playing a team in claret and blue wasn’t incentive enough, Birmingham City were also facing the club controlled by their previous owners, Messrs Sullivan and Gold. But as Adrian Goldberg observes, Big Eck’s side made a poor show of their role in football’s version of Eastenders.

40 minutes in, I’d have put money on Blues winning this game. The home fans were restless and getting on the backs of their players – not least former St Andrews favourite Matthew Upson who was having trouble getting to grips with the nimble feet of SuperKev, restored to the starting line up following his two goal blast against Wolves.

West Ham had looked lively from the off, with new boy Mido and Carlton Cole showing menace, but Blues had weathered the storm,
and with Jerome forcing Robert Green into a fingertip save, it was the visitors who looked likeliest to score.

So what went wrong? Dunno really, but Lee Bowyer earned himself a needless booking for a vicious hack on a Hammer’s rival just before half time, and maybe his pointless argument that followed distracted his team-mates. In any event, shortly afterwards Scott Dann rashly upended Scott Parker just outside the penalty area, leaving Diamanti to convert the free kick with a gorgeous curler over the defensive wall.

From then on the home side – desperate for the points in their battle against relegation – rarely looked troubled.

Blues, after their recent record breaking run, suddenly looked leggy – perhaps not to surprising given the number of 30-somethings in the side – while the late addition of McFadden as sub merely underlined their lack of forward options.

The second half yielded few chances, and on 67 minutes McLeish’s side were exposed down their left flank – not for the first time this season - when Faubert’s byeline cross was bundled home by Carlton Cole.

It was all over bar the shouting – though the shouting was mildly amusing, with Blues’ fans hurling some genial abuse in David Sullivan’s direction, while the home supporters tittered over the introduction of a sub with a girl’s name – Michel.



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