Ten-man Blues pick up point
Taylor off as Queudrue saves Blues
Last Updated: 13/04/09 5:42pm
Queudrue: Vital equaliser
Ten-man Birmingham earned a priceless point in their battle for promotion with a 1-1 draw against Plymouth at St Andrews.
Franck Queudrue's second half strike cancelled out Paul Gallagher's first half penalty to secure a draw for Birmingham.
Birmingham were reduced to ten men on 24 minutes when Maik Taylor was adjudged to have fouled Jamie Mackie inside the box.
Colin Doyle was brought on to replace Taylor in goal and the first thing he had to do was pick the ball out of his net after being sent the wrong way from the penalty spot by Gallagher.
Birmingham rallied in the second half and grabbed an equaliser on 50 minutes through Queudrue.
The draw was good enough to keep Birmingham in second spot, while Plymouth moved a point clearer to safety at the wrong end of the table.
The point will be a welcome boost to Plymouth's hopes of avoiding the drop with three games of their campaign remaining.
Blues, however, who saw defender Liam Ridgewell carried off with a suspected broken leg, will likely see their promotion charge go down to the last game of the season - away at rivals Reading.
Blues initially started on the front foot but it was the visitors who had the ball in the back of the net after just six minutes, only for Ashley Barnes to see his instinctive follow-up ruled out for offside.
The chance seemed to feed Plymouth's confidence and Mackie forced Taylor to parry his powerful effort over the crossbar minutes later.
Lee Bowyer glanced a header wide at the other end but the hosts otherwise offered very little going forward in the opening 20 minutes.
The encounter then exploded into life in the 23rd minute as Mackie latched onto a through ball from midfield before being brought down by Taylor.
Referee Michael Oliver judged the challenge to have happened just inside the area, Taylor was shown a straight red card and Gallagher kept his composure before sending Doyle the wrong way.
Matters went from bad to worse for the home side minutes later as Ridgewell was carried off with a serious injury.
Blues huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser but it was to no avail, leaving Alex McLeish facing a crucial half-time team talk.
The Blues boss would have been delighted with his side's immediate response as they drew level within four minutes of the restart.
David Murphy launched a deep free-kick into the penalty area and when Argyle goalkeeper Romain Larrieu failed to collect, Queudrue was on hand to take advantage and head his third goal of the season into an empty net.
The home side dominated after the equaliser with the Pilgrims somewhat losing their way up front.
Clear-cut chances, however, were few and far between. Barnes had the ball in the net for a second time in the 77th minute only to again see his effort disallowed for offside.
A minimum of six minutes injury time was shown at the end but neither side were able to find a winner, and it will surely go down as two points dropped for Birmingham despite their numerical disadvantage.
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