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Oakwell Stadium (ATT 9,191) 26th December 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: C Boyeson

Barnsley Barnsley vs Birmingham City Birm'ham

Barnsley 1

J Greening (38)

ft

Birm'ham 2

C Davies (35, 77)

Curtis Davies settled a thrilling Boxing Day contest 2-1 in Birmingham's favour against Barnsley

Last Updated: 27/12/12 6:40pm

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Curtis Davies: Grabbed winning goal for Birmingham

Curtis Davies: Grabbed winning goal for Birmingham

Curtis Davies settled a thrilling Boxing Day contest 2-1 in Birmingham's favour against fellow Championship strugglers Barnsley at Oakwell.

The centre-back nodded the visitors in front amid pouring rain in the 35th minute, only for Jonathan Greening to equalise almost immediately from long range with his first goal since joining on loan from Nottingham Forest last month.

Barnsley were the better side and missed plenty of chances against a Blues outfit who were disorganised defensively, with Craig Davies, a boyhood Blues fan who scored four goals in September's 5-0 rout at St Andrew's, blazing over a second-half penalty after Steven Caldwell's handball.

And the hosts were punished almost immediately as Curtis Davies, unmarked from another set-piece, converted his fourth header in six games to clinch matters in the 77th minute.

Barnsley enjoyed the better of proceedings early on, Jim O'Brien seeing an effort blocked by Curtis Davies although the visitors did force a succession of three corners in which they failed to prosper.

Luke Steele was still to be called upon as the half-hour mark passed, with Barnsley much the stronger.

But, out of nowhere, Curtis Davies headed Birmingham in front. Robert Hall delivered another excellent set-piece, Birmingham's main threat, which Davies nodded home unchallenged at the near post.

However, the lead did not last long as Birmingham's frailties in defence were fully exposed. Barnsley applied pressure almost straight from kick-off with Dawson seeing a strike blocked and, with the visitors struggling to fully clear their lines, the ball broke for Greening, who converted low from distance.

The visitors' defence was exposed again within a minute of the restart but a swift move ended when Chris Dagnall could only slide the ball behind.

John Stones saw an effort blocked by a late Blues tackle and, with the game flowing from end to end, Barnsley were awarded a spot-kick in the 73rd minute for a somewhat harsh handball decision against Caldwell. But Craig Davies, who had only been on the pitch five minutes, blazed his spot-kick high over the bar.

A superb stop from Jack Butland kept out a header from fellow sub Matty Done before Curtis Davies then settled matters in the 77th minute via another inch-perfect delivery from Hall.

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Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23