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St Andrew's (ATT 20,071) 15th November 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: K Hill

Birmingham Birmingham City vs Charlton Athletic Charlton

Blues continue top-spot pursuit

Pressure increases on Pardew as Addicks surrender lead

Last Updated: 15/11/08 6:35pm

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Phillips: Five hundred career goals

Phillips: Five hundred career goals

Ten-man Birmingham kept up their pursuit of top spot in the Championship as they came from behind to record a 3-2 victory over Charlton at St Andrews.

Wolves continue to enjoy a six-point lead at the top of the table, but things could have been worse for Birmingham.

James McFadden opened the scoring for Alex McLeish's side with a delightful curler only for Hameur Bouazza to equalise with a fantastic volley of his own.

And Andy Gray gave under-fire Alan Pardew's side the advantage just before the half-hour mark when Liam Ridgewell failed to cut the ball out to present him with a clear run on goal.

A mad 10 minutes after the break then saw Phillips and Franck Queudrue profit from errors by Charlton goalkeeper Nicky Weaver before Nigel Quashie was sent off for the home side.

Languid

Blues had gone three games without a win and started in a languid manner before they took the lead from a 13th-minute corner.

Sebastian Larsson's delivery was half-cleared by Charlton to McFadden 25 yards from goal and the former Everton man clipped the ball over Bouazza's head, ran round the winger and then sent a curling shot past Weaver's right hand to nestle in the far corner.

It was the perfect response to a slow start by the hosts, but they failed to capitalise and found themselves back on level terms in the 21st minute as on-loan Fulham winger Bouazza took the ball down sweetly with his first touch to dispatch a vicious volley past Maik Taylor.

It was a stunning finish which silenced an already quiet St Andrews - and there was worse to come for the home fans six minutes later as Gray took his time before sending a low shot across Taylor and in off the inside of the post.

The second half started at a high tempo and Phillips - scoring his 500th career goal - had his side level in the 50th minute thanks to another glaring error.

Challenge

Quashie sent in a deep cross from the left which was straight at Weaver, but the keeper somehow lost his footing under no challenge and could only tip the ball up in the air for Phillips to casually head into the net.

McFadden then rounded Weaver only to slip before Queudrue pounced on another Weaver error to score in the 55th minute.

Quashie was again the architect, collecting a short corner and driving in a low cross-shot which Weaver could only divert into the path of the defender, who gratefully scooped home.

Quashie was then sent-off for a second booking after he clumsily felled Nicky Bailey from behind to set up an enthralling last half-hour.

But despite being camped in the Birmingham half for vast periods the visitors failed to create a clear opening and McLeish's side held on for a win which keeps the pressure on Wolves.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

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

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