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Barclays Premier League

St Andrews Stadium (ATT 28,203) 12th December 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: L Mason

Birm'ham Birmingham City vs West Ham United West Ham

Birm'ham 1

L Bowyer (52)

ft

West Ham 0

M Noble (S/O 78)

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 5:12 pm, December 12th 2009

  1. Thanks for tuning in today, hope you enjoyed the commentary, if not the game. Until next time it's goodbye from me.

  2. F/T

    And that's it at St Andrews full-time! What a win for Birmingham as they end a 24 run en route to a deserved victory. They continue to soar up the table, while West Ham teter on the brink of the relegation places and will have to hope results went their way otherwise they could find themselves in the bottom three.

  3. 90+5

    Whistled ring out at St Andrews as a tired West Ham see their attacking move peter out. Fahey goes on a run which eats away at some more pressure time.

  4. 90+4

    The home fans are singing their famous "Keep Right On" as we enter the last 60 seconds of the match.

  5. 90+3

    Blues try to waste time with a short corner, before a short-throw-in but West Ham get possession and go route one. Franco gets the shot off but he hits it well wide.

  6. 90+2

    Substitutions: McFadden and Benitez come off for Phillips and Fahey as Blues have corner thanks to some super play by Bowyer.

  7. 90+1

    West Ham have a third set-piece as five minutes of stoppage time is announced, this one sees the ball end up in Hart's hands to the delight of the home fans.

  8. 90

    Another corner sees Parker get a shot off but another excellent block by Dann sees another Hammers set-pice.

  9. 89

    FERGUSON CLEARS OFF THE LINE! Major drama as Collison's goal-bound free-kick is cleared by the Scottish midfielder but West Ham have a corner.

  10. 88

    Carr concedes a free-kick near the right by-line for a clumsy challenge on Dyer and West Ham have an opportunity to level here.

  11. 87

    JEROME SQUANDERS ANOTHER! A gilt-edge chance for Blues' No. 10 goes begging as he spurs a one-on-one.

  12. 86

    HART PRODUCES SOME HEROICS! Franco, through on goal by Parker's pass should score, but Hart stands firm and he blocks the shot. Then Johnson comes to Hart's aid as he heads clear.

  13. 85

    Blues play their way out of trouble and enjoy a spell of keep-ball until Hart is forced to pump it clear.

  14. 84

    Entering the last five minutes of normal time, will Birmingham become cagey - they're all camped in their own half so they look like they'll take a 1-0 now.

  15. 83

    Substitution: Nouble, the 18-year-old forward comes on for West Ham for the first time since September and defender Ilunga makes way.

  16. 82

    It's Diamanti who tries to curl it into the top-corner, but the forward has still failed to hit the target today - although that effort was close. Diamanti was unhappy with his effort and he's actually ripped his shirt in frustration - he is Italian after all!

  17. 81

    West Ham have a free-kick just outside Blues' 18-yard box after Franco was sent clattering to the ground by Bowyer.

  18. 80

    Noble was silly to get himself his first yellow and has no complaints about that, but the second - he actually got the ball.

  19. 79

    NOBLE IS OFF! A harsh second yellow for the Hammers midfielder as he tackled Benitez on the halfway line.

  20. 78

    Yellow card: Roger Johnson is booked after he was made a mug by Dyer, who turned him.

  21. 77

    Phillips is warming up on the touchline and maybe with Benitez & Jerome looking leggy, he might bring one of them off.

  22. 76

    The ball breaks to Benitez, but Jerome's not on the same wavelength as he ran forward when his strike partner played a short pass.

  23. 75

    15 minutes to go and a lot of football still to play, with it just 1-0, the Hammers will feel they can still get something out of this game.

  24. 74

    There's smiles by all in Blue - maybe it's something about them beating a team in Claret and Blue?!

  25. 73

    Yellow card: Noble talks himself into a booking after a Collison foul. Ironic cheers ring out from the St Andrews faithful.

  26. 72

    I have to say, that was Dyer of the past as he skinned Carr before curling a delightful right-foot shot which was an inch from being the equaliser.

  27. 71

    DYER HITS THE POST! I thought it was in, but the sub's fantastic shot after a mazy run strikes the post but it cannons back out and Blues clear.

  28. 70

    A pinball moment ensues in West Ham's penalty area but Parker coolly gets the Hammers out of danger.

  29. 69

    Substitutions: It's Stanislas and Kovac who make way for the before-mentioned duo in a couple of attack-minded subs for Zola.

  30. 68

    Looks like Collison and Dyer are coming on for the Hammers, as McFadden makes an excellent block from a Diamanti piledriver.

  31. 67

    And Diamanti shows his threat as he forces Hart to make a crucial stop from his low long-range effort and the Hammers have a corner.

  32. 66

    McFadden gets away from two to get into the penalty area, but he can't dig a cross out. Blues look like they can get another.

  33. 64

    Larsson has the chance to put a wicked delivery into West Ham's penalty area and he does just that but Ridgewell, from a yard out, somehow manages to hit it over the bar. A sitter gone to waste their by the hosts - they could have wrapped it up, will they rue it?

  34. 63

    Parker is furious with the referee after he didn't receive a free-kick for a challenge on a challenge by Ferguson and he nearly talks himself into a booking, but gets away with his foul mouthed protest.

  35. 62

    Johnson gets a head on Larsson's corner, but it deflects wide for another corner. The second successive set-piece amounts to nothing.

  36. 61

    And Birmingham counter-attack, Benitez comes to the 18-yard-box before teeing up Jerome who, left-footed, drives a shot on target but Green manages to beat it behind for a corner.

  37. 60

    Noble, whose been disappointing on his return to the first team today, puts air on the set-piece but it's easily dealt with by Birmingham's defence.

  38. 59

    Yellow card: Mason writes Ridgewell's name in the book for a foul on Diamanti.

  39. 58

    The Blues fans are still cheering as loud as ever, but West Ham are keeping them boxed in their own half. McFadden eventually hoofs it clear.

  40. 57

    Another McFadden set-piece in dangerous territory, but the Scot's delivery has rapidly deteriorated this half. Nothing short of woeful that set-piece.

  41. 56

    Ferguson is running the midfield for Blues today, he's been one of the stand-out performers this afternoon.

  42. 55

    It's worth mentioning Bowyer was subdued in his celebration, obviously due to his West Ham ties but what a season he's having. I wish he was in my fantasy football team!

  43. 54

    Blue noses are in full flow and their side have another set-piece in their opponent's half. But McFadden's delivery isn't good enough to trouble the Hammers rear-guard.

  44. Stanislas loses possession to Jerome who passes it to Benitez and he threads a ball through the Hammers defence to the onrushing Bowyer who makes no mistake to put his side one up against his former club.

  45. 52

    GOAL! BOWYER GIVES BLUES THE LEAD!

  46. 52

    Diamanti is again proving a menace as he just shoots wide.

  47. 51

    A lucky escape again for Birmingham as their defence goes to sleep. Diamanti picked himself up after Bowyer's foul to find Gabbidon at the backpost but the defender can't pick out Franco in the six-yard box.

  48. 50

    Bowyer leaves Diamanti in a heap after a late challenge and the Blues man is lucky to escape without a card.

  49. 49

    Billy sends this email in as play is brought to a halt: West Ham fan since the PNE FA cup final 1964 - Hope the Hammers don't collapse 2nd half like they did against Burnley, that would be a disaster. Hang on till late then get a very late goal hang on for all three points back to cockney land.

  50. 48

    Franco wins West Ham a corner after his shot was deflected. But Diamanti shows his inconsistentcy as he blasts the set-piece out of play.

  51. 46

    Benitez puts it in the net!!! But sorry Blues fans he's offside, but great start by the hosts.

  52. 45

    Kick-off: Blues get us under way in the second-half.

  53. Second-half match betting from SKBET: Birmingham 13/10, Draw 13/10, West Ham 3/1

  54. Stephen Parkes from SKYBET is back in touch with the latest betting: "A tight first half with both sides looking capable of breaking the deadlock. Hopefully the game will open up more though in the second half as both teams strive to get the 3 points in what both sides will see as a game they can pick up points. Skybet are 13/5 that both teams find the net in the 2nd half."

  55. So what do you reckon the second-half will bring (hopefully goals)? elliot.ball@bskyb.com is where to find me. Right, just nipping to the gentleman's.

  56. So Birmingham came out of the traps like a side who are in good form, but after failing to score in a dominant spell, it was West Ham who created the better of the chances through Diamanti. Blues should have scored right on half-time as Jerome sent a close-range header off target so it remains goalless here.

  57. H/T

    Mason blows up for Half-time - it's goalless at a full-house St Andrews and both sides should have at least a goal to their name.

  58. 45+2

    Yellow card: Diamanti goes into the book for what resembled a rugby tackle on Ferguson.

  59. 45+1

    JEROME MISSES FROM CLOSE RANGE! Blues' best chance comes via McFadden's free-kick and Jerome should have done much better as he headed over from 3 yards.

  60. 45

    Blues have a free-kick in West Ham's half.

  61. 43

    The Hammers come on a quick counter-attack but look devoid of ideas as eventually Noble tries to dink a ball over the Blues defence, but instead puts it out for a goal kick.

  62. 43

    Blues waste good territory as Bowyer tries to take an extra touch in the Hammers penalty area after good work by Benitez.

  63. 42

    It looks like Green hurt himself on a previous goal-kick, but he'll be okay to carry on for the remaining few minutes of this half.

  64. 41

    Blues have a corner but it amounts to nothing. More bad news on the injury front for West Ham though as Green holds his knee.

  65. 40

    Into the last five minutes of the first half and Blues come back into the game as they attack and Bowyer shoots for goal, but it deflects comfortably into Green's hands.

  66. 39

    There's definitely a change in momentum as Stanislas goes for goal from long out. Franco provided the assist with a lovely cushion header, not the first he's done today.

  67. 37

    West Ham on the attack here and they are finishing the half much better than they started it, Stanislas offers himself wide on the left but Parker opts to stay infield at the Hammers eventually lose possession.

  68. 36

    End-to-end stuff here as first, Benitez is twice denied by Green following a fantastic ball by Ferguson before Franco tries to get a shot off in the penalty area after wriggling past two Blues defenders but Johnson manages to knick the ball of the Mexican.

  69. 35

    But Diamanti shows his bad side as he plays a awful backpass to Green which he manages to clear, just.

  70. 34

    Diamanti goes close again with a curler this time which goes wide. West Ham are beginning to get into the game today.

  71. 33

    DIAMANTI GOES A WHIISKER FROM SCORING! The best chance for the visitors as the Italian forward skins three Blues players before hitting the side netting with a 20-yard blast.

  72. 32

    Stanislas comes back on and starts a Hammers attack, but Diamanti's combination with Parker fails to produce an opportunity and Blues have a goal kick.

  73. 31

    Franco is offside again as play resumes, Blues rearguard continues to impress.

  74. 30

    Stanislas walks gingerly off the field with the physio and it remains to be seen if he'll return to the field.

  75. 29

    Stanislas looks in some desperate need of treatment after a heavy challenge by McFadden. Bad news for West Ham fans.

  76. 28

    Blues are racking up the free-kicks today as Larsson flies another delivery into the penalty area although West Ham clear.

  77. 27

    Today's Zola's 50th game in charge of the Hammers and his side are being outshone by McLeish's Blues so far.

  78. 26

    Now it's West Ham's turn to have a player flagged offside as Franco moved a second too early.

  79. 25

    Blues boss McLeish is barking out orders from the touchline as Jerome strays offside.

  80. 24

    West Ham punt the ball forward via Green, but without Cole up front that tactic is going to fall on deaf ears. Blues regain possession and come on the attack.

  81. 23

    The fans are in full voice as Blues enjoy a healthy spell of possession.

  82. 22

    McFadden wastes possession after Parker's pass hit Mason on the backside. The Scottish international tried to pick out Larsson, who was on the last man's shoulder, but he cocked up his pass.

  83. 21

    A short-lived attack as the visitors waste good territory and Blues counter-attack. First Larsson digs out a great cross to McFadden who can't get his header on goal before Benitez works space but scuffs his on-target shot straight to Green.

  84. 20

    Very good tempo being played by Blues so far, but here come West Ham on the attack.

  85. 19

    Bowyer nearly side-foots Blues into the lead! Following two corners, Jerome picks up the loose ball he sends it low into the box and Bowyer arrived late to get on the end of it but failed to direct it on target.

  86. 18

    Blues have a free-kick of their own wide on the right. McFadden fizzes it into the penalty area, and Green manages to fist it behind for a corner.

  87. 17

    Hammers go short with the free-kick and the Blues defenders stand off Stanislas so the young winger unleashes a 20-yard shot but Hart gets behind it and manages to keep hold of it.

  88. 16

    Yellow card: West Ham get possession and referee Lee Mason award the Hammers a free-kick and Ferguson boots the ball away and gets a petulant booking.

  89. 15

    Larsson steadies himself, but it blasts it into the wall. Blues manage to win a throw-in to remain on the front foot.

  90. 14

    Blues have a free-kick in Larsson territory after Franco fouled Bowyer 25-yards from goal.

  91. 13

    You can tell this Birmingham side are on a good run as McFadden goes on a menacing run before Illunga makes a crucial challenge.

  92. 12

    Yellow card: First booking of the day goes to Kovac with a late challenge on McFadden.

  93. 11

    West Ham go on their first attack as Diamanti blasts over from 20 yards. Parker and Stanislas combined well in the build-up.

  94. 10

    Play resumes as Illunga requires medical attention.

  95. 8

    All Blues at the moment at Carr sends a free-kick into the Hammers' penalty area. Illunga goes down from a high-foot from Carr as the visitors tried to clear the ball and the Hammers have a free-kick.

  96. 7

    Larsson ghosts into the penalty area and Ferguson picks him out but the Swedish international can only loop his header into Green's grasp. Blues are testing West Ham's defence at the start of the match.

  97. 5

    Hammers survive another corner attack by Blues and they have Green, who was unwell last time out, to thank for keeping the score goalless.

  98. 4

    The hosts pick up the first corner of the match, Larsson swings it in to Johnson at the near post and he flicks it towards goal. Green gets down to his right to palm it away but it's only as far as Ridgewell but his shot is blocked by the Hammers 'keeper.

  99. 3

    Both teams share possession in the early stages of this match.

  100. 2

    There's a good atmosphere in the second city today as the Blue noses hope to see a fourth successive win, their first in the Premier League since 2004.

  101. 1

    Looks like the visitors are playing with three central midfielders today with Diamanti just behind Franco in attack.

  102. Kick-off: West Ham get us under way here at St Andrews.

  103. SKYBET's match odds are Birminghham 1/1 Draw 12/5 West Ham 11/4, now time for kick-off.

  104. Stephen Parkes from SKYBET emails in: Birmingham have found some form of late and are well fancied to pile the misery onto West Ham, who are without the important Matthew Upson. Birmingham can be backed at 1/1 and under 2.5 goals which is a very common result in Birmingham City games is 8/11

  105. Zola makes three changes from the side beaten 4-0 at home by Manchester United for the meeting with in-form Birmingham at St Andrew's -defender Julien Faubert, midfielder Mark Noble and striker Alessandro Diamanti come into the starting line-up in place of Jonathan Spector, Jack Collison and the injured Zavon Hines.

  106. Unsurprisingly, Birmingham remain unchanged as top goalscorer Lee Bowyer plays his first match against his former club while veteran Phillips returns to the bench after a foot injury.

  107. West Ham: Green, Ilunga, Tomkins, Gabbidon, Faubert, Stanislas, Noble, Parker, Kovac, Diamanti, Franco. Subs: Kurucz, Spector, Da Costa, Payne, Collison, Dyer, Nouble.

  108. Birmingham: Hart, Ridgewell, Dann, Johnson, Carr, McFadden, Bowyer, Ferguson, Larsson, Jerome, Benitez. Subs: Maik Taylor, Vignal, Carsley, Fahey, O'Shea, Phillips, McSheffrey.

  109. Next up the team line-ups:

  110. So will City continue their fine run and extend it to seven or do you see the visitors maintaining their excellent record at St Andrews? Let me know at elliot.ball@bskyb.com and I'll post a selection of the best on site.

  111. Bit of background to wet the appetite: Blues are flying high in ninth and enter today's game on six-match unbeaten run, so boss Alex McLeish will be guarding against complacency, while Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola is hoping his side can improve their woeful away form at a ground where they haven't lost in 24 years.

  112. Hello and good afternoon. Welcome to today's Premier League action at St Andrews where Birmingham host West Ham this Saturday.

  113. Will follow here from 1500GMT ...

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 19 46
2 Manchester City 19 43
3 Manchester United 19 36
4 Southampton 19 33
5 Arsenal 19 33
6 West Ham United 19 31
7 Tottenham Hotspur 19 31
8 Swansea City 18 28
9 Newcastle United 19 26
10 Liverpool 18 25
11 Stoke City 19 25
12 Everton 19 21
13 Aston Villa 19 21
14 Sunderland 19 20
15 Queens Park Rangers 19 18
16 West Bromwich Albion 19 17
17 Hull City 19 16
18 Crystal Palace 19 16
19 Burnley 19 16
20 Leicester City 19 13