Blues down sorry Baggies
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 18/12/04 1:51pm
Birmingham City have doubled their win tally within the space of a week following an impressive 4-0 home victory over bottom club West Brom.
Blues were full of confidence following their win over city rivals Aston Villa last Sunday and a superb first half outing ensured The Baggies would be bottom at Christmas.
Robbie Savage fired the home side ahead from the penalty spot with further goals from Clinton Morrison and Emile Heskey (2) sinking the visitors.
Despite the two lowest Premiership scorers on show at St Andrews, the contest began in frantic fashion with both sides eager for an early goal.
Within minutes of having an appeal turned down after David Dunn appeared to be brought down in the box by Bernt Haas, the home side were awarded a penalty.
Morrison latched onto Heskey's flick-on to get in behind Darren Purse, who had little choice but to bring down the Republic of Ireland international.
Referee Mike Riley had no hesitation pointing to the spot, with Savage stepping up and calmly sending Russell Hoult the wrong way in the visitors' net.
The goal, Savage's fourth of the season, was his first home goal since March and gave Steve Bruce's men the perfect start.
The Baggies were almost on level terms after 13 minutes, however the woodwork came to the home side's rescue when Zoltan Gera's shot crashed off the crossbar.
Kanu's cross from the right was too hot to handle for Kenny Cunningham, leaving Gera the chance to shoot. The rebound fell to Jonathan Greening but his effort was gathered by Maik Taylor.
Darren Carter went close to extending City's advantage after latching onto Damien Johnson's cushioned header back across goal, but the shot was blocked on the line by Purse.
Just moments later the home side did extend their lead when Dunn sent Carter away with a quick free kick and he crossed for Morrison who had all sorts of time and space before firing home.
Heskey showed great strength to hold off Purse shortly after, but his effort did not match the endeavour shown in the build up, while Jason Koumas tested Taylor with distance.
However, Blues were in firm control of the tie and they pressed home their advantage on the half hour mark when Heskey netted his first goal in 14 games.
Dunn crossed from the right and the former Liverpool striker was on hand to side-foot home from close range to put the home side three up.
West Brom did have the ball in the net on the stroke of half time, however Riley had already blown for a foul by Neil Clement for his challenge on Taylor.
Albion boss Bryan Robson tried changing things around at the interval after bringing on Robert Earnshaw for Gera, but the switch had little impact.
Clement almost caught out Taylor with a left-footed free kick, but the Northern Ireland keeper was perfectly placed to tip over the shot.
Dunn tried his luck from a set piece after he was hacked down by Thomas Gaardsoe, but his right-footed drive drifted just past Hoult's goal.
Earnshaw should have got his name on the scoresheet when he collected Taylor's dreadful clearance, however the Wales international could only find the home keeper with the whole goal to aim at.
Substitute Darren Anderton thought he had netted the team's fourth from a free kick in the closing stages, but his well struck effort hit Heskey in the wall and bounced into the net.
Despite flattering to deceive earlier in the season, Blues are now putting things together on the field while Robson will have his hands full trying to buck the trend of the bottom club at Christmas avoiding the dreaded drop.
Click here for Birmingham v West Brom player ratings.
|Birmingham City||Team Name||West Bromwich Albion|
|5||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||6|
|3||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||3|
|14||Total Fouls Conceded||20|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Ham United||23||36|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||23||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||23||19|