Villa left feeling Blue
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: December 12, 2004 1:08pm
Birmingham continued their good run of form against Aston Villa with a 2-1 win in the Midlands derby.
First half goals from Clinton Morrison and David Dunn were enough to give Steve Bruce's men their first win in five games and inflict a first home defeat of the season on Villa although they were given a late scare with Gareth Barry pulled a goal back in the dying seconds.
Birmingham came out of the traps flying and Matthew Upson sent a header from Robbie Savage's free kick just over the crossbar after two minutes.
The visitors were gifted the lead on nine minutes when Morrison found the net after a terrible blunder by Thomas Sorensen.
Emile Heskey flicked the ball into the path of Morrison who turned and hit a first time shot goalwards which Sorensen inexplicably let bounce over him and into the net.
Villa tried to fight their way back into the contest, but struggled to create any clear goalscoring opportunities with Gavin McCann flashing a shot wildly over the crossbar.
Birmingham doubled their advantage on 19 minutes with Dunn firing home past Sorensen after more slack Villa defending.
Morrison sent Damien Johnson clear down the right, who easily outpaced Jlloyd Samuel and the Northern Ireland international picked out Dunn inside the box to sweep his shot into the net.
Villa's defence was at sixes and sevens and Dunn came close to adding a third goal on 24 minutes after being played in on goal by Heskey, but Sorensen spread himself well to save the midfielder's shot with his legs.
Dunn had another good chance six minutes later after a clever one-two with Heskey gave him a sight of goal, but he dragged his left-foot well wide of the target.
The game threatened to boil over on 36 minutes as a number of players got involve a scuffle after Johnson appeared to kick out at Gareth Barry and when calm was finally restored Johnson was booked by referee Steve Dunn.
Birmingham were inches away from grabbing third goal two minutes before the break when Dunn sent Heskey scampering clear on the left and he worked his way past Olof Mellberg and was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post.
Villa must have come out for the second half with the criticism of David O'Leary still ringing in their ears and Carlton Cole had their first shot on target a minute after the break with a volley from Barry's knock-down going straight at Maik Taylor.
Barry had a half-chance to pull a goal back for Villa on 57 minutes when Solano and De La Cruz combined down the right with the full back sending over a dangerous centre which the versatile midfielder could not direct on target.
Barry had the ball in the net on 66 minutes from Solano's free kick, but his effort was ruled out for handball and the midfielder was booked for the offence.
Villa continued to pour forward and they had claims for a penalty turned down 13 minutes from time when Juan Pablo Angel's shot appeared to strike the arm of Olivier Tebily, but Dunn waved away their appeals.
Villa gave themselves a lifeline in injury time with Barry getting on the end of Mellberg's long pass and rifling a shot past Taylor to set up a frantic finale, but Birmingham held on to take the bragging honours.
Click on fixture for player ratings Aston Villa v Birmingham
|Aston Villa||Team Statistics||Birmingham City|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|2||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|13||West Bromwich Albion||14||15|
|17||West Ham United||14||13|