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St Andrew's (ATT 17,413) 23rd August 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: R Beeby

Birm'ham Birmingham City vs Barnsley Barnsley

Blues march on at top

Phillips and O'Connor on target for leaders

Last Updated: 23/08/08 5:42pm

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O'Connor: Notched Blues' second

O'Connor: Notched Blues' second

Kevin Phillips and Garry O'Connor netted first-half goals as Birmingham City recorded a 2-0 home win over Barnsley.

Veteran striker Phillips, who had also been wanted by Barnsley over the summer, marked his first Championship start for Blues with the opener.

And Scotland international O'Connor grabbed the second to maintain Birmingham's 100 per cent start to the season, while Barnsley are still without a point.

The Tykes started brightly with Diego Leon's free-kick nearly causing an early upset, but Birmingham soon settled into their stride with O'Connor's overhead kick and Phillips' close-range header almost finding the net.

Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele had to be alert to tip Stuart Parnaby's effort around a post, but it was not long before the hosts made the crucial breakthrough.

Impressive

The impressive Parnaby created some space down the right-hand side and delivered a teasing cross for Phillips to leave his marker and head home into the top corner from six yards.

James McFadden continued to look lively for Blues and created a series of chances for himself, but none of which seriously threatened to increase Birmingham's advantage.

Alex McLeish's injury problems at right-back continued as Parnaby was replaced by the returning Stephen Kelly after 36 minutes, before Leon rattled the woodwork.

But O'Connor gave Birmingham some breathing space just before the half-time whistle, capitalising on more hapless Barnsley defending to head past Steele and put the hosts firmly in control.

And the shackles were well and truly off at the start of the second half as both sides rained shots goalwards - Brian Howard and Sebastian Larsson coming closest to finding the net.

Both sides continued to try their luck from distance as the half wore on, with little in the way of clear goalscoring chances being created.

Lee Carsley fired an effort straight at Steele from 30 yards while McFadden also unleashed another shot wide of the target.

But it was left to Steele to produce more heroics late on with another fine save to deny substitute Gary McSheffrey as the clash came to an end.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 13 26
2 Watford 13 25
3 Middlesbrough 13 23
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 23
5 Norwich City 13 22
6 Nottingham Forest 13 22
7 Charlton Athletic 13 22
8 Bournemouth 13 21
9 Ipswich Town 13 20
10 Cardiff City 13 19
11 Blackburn Rovers 13 19
12 Brentford 13 19
13 Sheffield Wednesday 13 18
14 Rotherham United 13 16
15 Leeds United 13 16
16 Huddersfield Town 13 16
17 Reading 13 15
18 Millwall 13 14
19 Wigan Athletic 13 12
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 12
21 Birmingham City 13 11
22 Fulham 13 11
23 Bolton Wanderers 13 8
24 Blackpool 13 6

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