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Barclays Premier League

St Andrew's (ATT 24,010) 5th December 2005 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: M Atkinson

Birmingham Birmingham City vs West Ham United West Ham

Hammers edge unlucky Blues

By Stephen Bateman.   Last Updated: 05/12/05 8:37pm

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Birmingham City are still without a home win in the Premiership this season after West Ham came from behind to beat Steve Bruce's men 2-1 at St Andrew's on Monday night.

First-half goals from Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood wiped out the early lead given to the Blues courtesy of Emile Heskey's 11th minute opener. But The Blues can count themselves deeply unlucky to lose their sixth home game on the bounce after slack finishing cost them dearly.

The game had started slowly until Heskey ignited affairs with a great finish from a tight angle.

David Dunn threaded a perfectly weighted through-ball into the right-hand side of the West Ham area, allowing the big striker to round Roy Carroll before passing the ball left-footed into an empty net.

The Hammers tried to force their way straight back into the contest, with Hayden Mullins and Harewood both going close. City keeper Nico Vaesen was then called into action, utilising every inch of his massive frame as he hung in the air to tip over a looping header from Harewood.

Heskey continued to look lively but disappointingly headed over after getting on the end of a Jermaine Pennant cross. It was then the turn of the former Arsenal man to cut out a slice of action for himself, having a fierce drive blocked by Paul Konchesky.

Then, on 36 minutes, Zamora silenced the critics who had called his Premiership pedigree into question with a sublime piece of skill.

The former Spurs forward collected a throw-in with his back to goal just inside the Birmingham area and, with Martin Taylor goal-side of him, he flicked the ball over the defender, turning in the process.

Zamora then demonstrated exceptional close control to take the covering Damian Johnson out of the equation before firing home for an outstanding individual goal.

As the home fans began to articulate their frustrations, Harewood justified their concerns as he bagged his sixth Premiership goal of the season right on the stroke of half-time following some good work from Matthew Etherington.

The Cornishman just managed to keep the ball in play before pulling back from the byline. Bruce will have been livid at his defenders's half-hearted attempts at clearing the cross, which eventually fell to a grateful Harewood who slammed home at the back post.

On 57 minutes Nicky Butt, on as a first-half substitute for Muzzy Izzet, tried the spectacular but failed to connect cleanly with an attempted bicycle-kick as The Hammers looked to absorb the Birmingham threat.

The former England star had another chance to level a few minutes later when the ball fell to him in the West Ham area, but his technique let him down again as he lifted his shot narrowly over the crossbar.

On 76 minutes Dunn, by far the best Blues player on the night, was unlucky to see his speculative shot from the edge of the area graze Carroll's right-hand upright.

Matthew Upson really should have scored shortly afterwards when the ball broke to him inside the six-yard box after a goalmouth scramble. With a goal looking certain, the former Arsenal man got underneath the ball and embarrassingly skied his shot over the bar.

As the home side turned up the heat, Paul Konchesky misdirected a clearance straight at Heskey on the edge of the area, but again the equaliser failed to materialise as he hit his shot straight at Carroll.

With four minutes left, Heskey went close yet again - his looping header landing just the wrong side of the West Ham crossbar. Seconds later Butt finally connected with a shot, forcing Carroll into a smart save low to his left.

As full-time loomed, Birmingham did finally get the ball into the back of the net courtesy of Heskey, although the home fans's misery was consolidated when the effort was ruled out for a blatant hand-ball.

Birmingham v West Ham player ratings

Birmingham CityTeam StatisticsWest Ham United
1Goals2
11st Half Goals2
4Shots on Target5
9Shots off Target6
5Blocked Shots0
11Corners8
14Fouls8
1Offsides7
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
66.0Passing Success62.7
20Tackles12
90.0Tackles Success83.3
58.7Possession41.3
58.3Territorial Advantage41.7

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 35 80
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 34 74
4 Arsenal 35 70
5 Everton 35 69
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 63
7 Manchester United 34 57
8 Southampton 35 49
9 Newcastle United 35 46
10 Stoke City 35 44
11 Crystal Palace 35 43
12 West Ham United 35 37
13 Swansea City 35 36
14 Hull City 34 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 34 33
17 Norwich City 35 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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