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St Andrews Stadium (ATT 16,735) 7th March 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Atkinson

Birm'ham Birmingham City vs Southampton So'ton

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So'ton 0

Blues edge past Saints

Blues go four points clear of Reading after Fahey winner

By Elliot Ball.   Last Updated: 07/03/09 6:00pm

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Fahey: Blues winner

Fahey: Blues winner

Birmingham kept pace with leaders Wolves after beating Southampton 1-0 at St Andrews on Saturday.

Blues stay second after Keith Fahey's first-half strike proved the difference as Alex McLeish's side recorded successive wins by a single goal in the league following their midweek success against Bristol City.

With Wolves beating Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham stay in touch just three points behind their midland rivals and edge a further two points clear of third-placed Reading.

Saints boss Mark Wotte named an unchanged starting XI after Jan-Paul Saeijs was passed fit, while Morgan Schneiderlin continued to deputise for the injured Adam Lallana.

Alex McLeish also opted to stick with the same side that beat City in midweek. Radhi Jaidi recovered from a knock, while Ulises De la Cruz was named among the substitutes.

Striker Marek Saganowski had an early chance but his effort from the edge of the box flew wide of the right-hand post and never looked like troubling Maik Taylor in the Birmingham goal.

The Blues pinned the visitors back in their own half with Franck Queudrue trying his luck from distance - but to no avail.

Early chance

The visitors almost took the lead in the 12th minute when Jason Euell, who kept his place in the side following his brace in the 3-0 win at Ipswich, lobbed a header over Taylor from a Simon Gillett corner but defender Carr was on hand to clear off the line.

Marcus Bent had to go off for the home side after picking up an injury and was replaced by Carlos Costly midway through the half.

But the Blues continued to press and Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis did well to turn a Fahey header around the post.

And the deadlock was broken when a strong run by Cameron Jerome and clever ball into the box ended with Fahey drilling home.

Just after the break midfielder Lee Carsley had a chance to double the home side's lead but he curled wide of the left-hand post.

The visitors were reduced to shooting from distance with Rudi Skacel and Euell both firing tame efforts at goal.

Miss

Costly had a chance to settle the fixture in the 67th minute but Davis reacted well to his close range strike and managed to parry the ball to safety.

Southampton, who had the chance to temporarily climb out of the relegation zone providing they won, found chances increasingly hard to come by as the game wore on.

Striker Scott Sinclair hit the post in the closing stages as the hosts continued to examine the Saints defence.

And the Blues comfortably held on for all three points but the win comes at a cost for McLeish, who after watching Bent limp off was also forced to withdraw Jerome because of injury.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 14 26
2 Watford 14 26
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 14 26
4 Bournemouth 14 24
5 Middlesbrough 14 24
6 Norwich City 14 23
7 Nottingham Forest 14 22
8 Blackburn Rovers 14 22
9 Charlton Athletic 14 22
10 Ipswich Town 14 21
11 Cardiff City 14 19
12 Sheffield Wednesday 14 19
13 Brentford 14 19
14 Reading 14 18
15 Millwall 14 17
16 Rotherham United 14 17
17 Huddersfield Town 14 17
18 Leeds United 14 16
19 Wigan Athletic 14 15
20 Fulham 14 14
21 Brighton and Hove Albion 14 13
22 Bolton Wanderers 14 11
23 Birmingham City 14 11
24 Blackpool 14 6

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