Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Match Report Blackpool 1 Birmingham City 2

Scott Dann's late winner lifted Birmingham City out of the Premier League relegation zone after a pulsating encounter with Blackpool.
Dann latched on to a header from his central defensive partner Roger Johnson before slotting past Richard Kingson.
The visitors had taken a first-half lead when Stephen Crainey's error gifted a goal to Alexander Hleb.
A DJ Campbell volley looked to have salvaged a point for the hosts before Dann's 89th-minute winner.
The goal handed Birmingham their first away league win of the season and catapulted them four places up the table to 15th.
But it was cruel on Blackpool, who had more than played their part in a riveting match in which both sides created countless chances, with the visitors striking the woodwork twice and the hosts once.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish handed Hleb his first start since 27 November following a hamstring injury and the former Arsenal and Barcelona player served notice of his talent for unlocking defences within the first two minutes.
His delightful ball inside the full-back teed up Liam Ridgewell for a low cross from the byeline, which Matt Derbyshire could only poke wide from inside the six-yard box.
Derbyshire turned provider moments later, breaking free inside the box and squaring to his strike partner Cameron Jerome, who miskicked horribly with the goal at his mercy.
Blackpool, playing at home for the first time in six weeks due to postponements, should have taken the lead when 19-year-old winger Matt Phillips met a pinpoint cross from Charlie Adam at the far post, but his low volley was saved by Ben Foster with his legs.
The game's opening goal, on 24 minutes, came gift-wrapped from Crainey. The left-back, under no pressure, passed the ball across his own goal and straight into the path of Hleb, who advanced into the area and slotted the ball home via the legs of Kingson.
Blackpool were almost level in the blink of an eye as Phillips sprung Birmingham's offside trap to meet Adam's whipped free-kick but he could only glance his header wastefully wide.
At the other end, Hleb released Jerome, who recovered from an initial stumble to fire a shot, which was well parried by Kingson at his near post.
Blackpool, no doubt energised by an ear-bashing from boss Ian Holloway, made a bright start to the second period, with Luke Varney soon firing over the bar from a promising position on the edge of the area.
Then the outstanding Adam unleashed a curling left-footed effort, which Foster palmed away at full stretch. Shortly afterwards, Adam slotted a pass into the path of Campbell, but the striker's shot was comfortable for Foster.
McLeish brought Sebastian Larsson into the fray and the Swede was soon into the thick of things.
His pass sent Jerome through on goal for a shot which he lifted over Kingson but on to a post. And seconds later Larsson curled a free-kick which smashed into the face of the same upright.
Birmingham paid a heavy price for their profligacy as Blackpool equalised from their next attack.
Neal Eardley's cross was headed back by Gary Taylor-Fletcher to Campbell, whose smashed home a low volley from the penalty-spot.
Another surging run from Adam almost put the hosts ahead, but the Scot was denied as his low drive ricocheted off the far post.
With both sides still committed to attack, the game could have gone either way, but it was Birmingham who eventually snatched what could prove to be a vital win in their fight for survival.
Substitute Jean Beausejour's deep cross found Johnson at the far post and his nod-down was gleefully prodded home by Dann.
It was Birmingham's first win at Blackpool since 1960 - a run of 11 games.

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