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Sky Bet Championship

St. Andrew's Stadium (ATT 14,422) 1st January 2014 - Kick off 15:00

Birm'ham Birmingham City vs Barnsley Barnsley

Birm'ham 1

N Zigic (10)

ft

Barnsley 1

J Mellis (61)

Championship: Barnsley fight hard to earn a 1-1 draw at Birmingham

Last Updated: 01/01/14 6:23pm

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Jacob Mellis: Scored from a free-kick

Jacob Mellis: Scored from a free-kick

Battling Barnsley might still be seeking their first win since the return of manager Danny Wilson but they fought hard to earn a 1-1 draw at Birmingham.

They had to fight back after Nikola Zigic's solitary first half strike set Birmingham on the way to increasing their unbeaten run to 10 games.

But it looked to be another Barnsley hard luck story as they created more goal opportunities only to display their shortcomings in front of goal which keeps them anchored in the bottom three of the Sky Bet Championship.

Fortunately Jacob Mellis scored direct form a 61st-minute free-kick to give them a well merited point.

Despite their impressive unbeaten run this was Birmingham's fifth successive home draw and they have still only won twice at St. Andrew's this season.

If ever a team required a good start it was Barnsley. They produced some promising football and Mellis had a good opportunity but his weak effort was easily mopped up by Darren Randolph.

This highlighted Barnsley's problems which were exacerbated in the 10th minute when Birmingham stormed into the lead.

Callum Reilly, recalled to the side, produced a low cross from near the corner flag and the ball evaded three Barnsley players, including goalkeeper Luke Steele, to enable Zigic to tap home from less than two yards.

Barnsley strived to get back into the game but weak finishing was a problem, demonstrated when Chris O'Grady produced another poor effort which posed no real danger to Randolph.

There was, however, a ray of hope when David Perkins lashed in a powerful 25-yard drive which Randolph had to save at the second attempt.

Showing more attacking skill than the home side, Barnsley continued to create good openings and should have equalised in the 33rd minute when Randolph, not for the first time, failed to gather a shot from Brek Shea.

The ball rebounded to the unmarked Mellis who somehow conspired to screw a close range shot wide of the far post.

It continued to be a catalogue of missed chances for the Tykes.

Stephen Dawson should have scored six minutes before the break when he too produced a weak shot on target after yet more good work by the busy Shea.

Birmingham failed to lift their game as Barnsley continued to push forward only to be thwarted by a goal line clearance by Zigic to prevent Peter Ramage scoring with a header following a corner.

A spirited Barnsley could not be denied indefinitely and the crucial goal came in the 61st minute.

Mellis scored direct from a free-kick as his curling effort easily beat Randolph.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 24 48
2 Ipswich Town 23 44
3 Middlesbrough 24 43
4 Derby County 23 42
5 Watford 24 41
6 Brentford 24 40
7 Norwich City 24 37
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 24 37
9 Blackburn Rovers 24 35
10 Nottingham Forest 24 31
11 Charlton Athletic 23 31
12 Cardiff City 24 31
13 Sheffield Wednesday 23 31
14 Birmingham City 24 31
15 Bolton Wanderers 24 29
16 Reading 24 29
17 Fulham 23 28
18 Huddersfield Town 24 28
19 Rotherham United 24 26
20 Leeds United 23 24
21 Millwall 24 23
22 Wigan Athletic 23 20
23 Brighton and Hove Albion 23 20
24 Blackpool 24 14