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St. Andrew's Stadium (ATT 14,070) 2nd November 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: Guy Stretton

Birm'ham Birmingham City vs Charlton Athletic Charlton

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Charlton 1

D Stephens (57)

Championship: Dale Stephens scores as Charlton beat Birmingham 1-0

Last Updated: 04/11/13 2:53pm

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Dale Stephens: Sunk Birmingham in second half

Dale Stephens: Sunk Birmingham in second half

Dale Stephens came up with the crucial goal to give Charlton only their second win in nine games, as they beat Birmingham 1-0.

The former Oldham player notched his second goal of the season to the delight of manager Chris Powell who has recently bemoaned the lack of goals from his side.

Building upon their strong defence Charlton carved out a vital 1-0 away win to give them fresh hope of an improvement in their fortunes.

Birmingham, however, are now without a win in their last five games and the pressure is beginning to tell as they continue to free-fall into a relegation dog-fight.

Manager Lee Clark now faces a difficult time trying to lift his young side in what is proving a troublesome time on and off the pitch for Birmingham.

With Charlton's defence strong, Clark's side always had a difficult time trying to gain the upper hand.

Charlton were always a danger on the break and this proved to be the major difference when Stephens scored their 56th minute match winner.

It was yet another huge disappointment for Birmingham after their League Cup defeat on penalties at the hands of Stoke.

There was some early urgency in the Birmingham side to make amends but it was to no avail.

Charlton's defence, which has now maintained clean sheets in their last four games, was in no mood to concede although they had an early scare when a Dan Burn goal was disallowed for an infringement on the part of Lee Novak.

As a result this game between two struggling teams near the foot of the division became a battle to gain the upper hand.

Birmingham maintained a strong attacking policy but Charlton's resolute defence was generally not fully tested.

Michael Morrison and Dorian Dervite were stalwarts as they accorded Lee Novak and Nikola Zigic few goal opportunities.

The one occasion that Novak had a shot on target goalkeeper Ben Hamer made a super save diving low to his right.

Charlton's only real chance in the first half fell to Stephens late in the first half but his effort lacked power and Darren Randolph made an easy save which summed up a low key and disappointing first half.

Stephens, however, more than made amends early in the second period when he notched a rare Charlton goal in the 56th minute.

Randolph parried an effort from Cameron Stewart but Charlton had their tails up and following a cross from the left Bradley Pritchard nudged the ball into the path of Stephens who, with an open goal at his mercy, made no mistake from close range.

It is only Charlton's 10th goal of the season and could be the goal to kick-start their climb up the table.

Although Birmingham made a double substitution sending on Shane Ferguson and Peter Lovenkrands for Demarai Gray and Novak they still struggled to break down Charlton.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Watford 45 88
2 Bournemouth 45 87
3 Middlesbrough 45 84
4 Norwich City 45 83
5 Ipswich Town 45 78
6 Derby County 45 77
7 Brentford 45 75
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 75
9 Blackburn Rovers 45 64
10 Charlton Athletic 45 60
11 Birmingham City 45 60
12 Nottingham Forest 45 59
13 Cardiff City 45 59
14 Sheffield Wednesday 45 59
15 Leeds United 45 55
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 45 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 45 51
19 Reading 44 47
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 45 46
21 Rotherham United 44 42
22 Millwall 45 41
23 Wigan Athletic 45 39
24 Blackpool 45 25