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Barclays Premier League

St Andrew's (ATT 26,055) 1st March 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: L Probert

Birmingham Birmingham City vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham

Forssell hat-trick sinks Spurs

Forssell and Larsson goals secure Blues' first win of the year

By Laura Slatcher.   Last Updated: 01/03/08 5:40pm

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Forssell: Celebrates first of his three goals

Forssell: Celebrates first of his three goals

Mikael Forssell was the hero for Birmingham as he scored a hat-trick in their 4-1 win over Tottenham at St Andrews.

Birmingham looked anything but a relegation battling side as they picked up their first Premier League win of the year.

Forssell gave the home side the lead after seven minutes when James McFadden's driven volley across goal found the striker who confidently headed it home.

Larsson doubled their lead in the 55th minute, curling a right-footed free-kick into the bottom right of Paul Robinson's goal.

Four minutes later Forssell was on target again following up a Robinson save, tapping the ball home for his second of the game.

The Blues sealed a convincing triumph in the 81st minute when McFadden's ball found Forssell who placed a low left-footed shot past Robinson for his hat-trick.

Spurs grabbed a consolation goal in the last minute of normal time when substitute Jermaine Jenas tapped in a loose ball.

Double

It enabled Blues to complete their first league double over Spurs for 32 years and gave them a massive lift in their bid to avoid relegation.

McLeish's side ended their eight-game run without a win which stretched back to Boxing Day with Forsell and McFadden causing all sorts of problems for a makeshift Spurs defence missing the injured Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate.

Tottenham came crashing down to earth with a bang after their Wembley triumph over Chelsea in the Carling Cup final and never threatened to fire on all cylinders.

Birmingham, with a strong wind in their favour, went ahead after seven minutes through Forssell's fifth goal of the campaign after Tom Huddlestone had conceded the first corner of the game.

Gary McSheffrey's centre picked out Liam Ridgewell whose header looked to be going wide. But McFadden reacted quickly and turned the ball back across goal to Forssell who made no mistake with a close-range header.

Spurs retaliated and midfielder Jamie O'Hara was only a yard wide with a rasping left-footed drive which had Maik Taylor hurrying across his goal.

But Spurs defender Alan Hutton was relieved when he glanced a header just wide of his own goal from an inswinging free-kick by McSheffrey.

A mix-up between Muamba and Radhi Jaidi allowed Berbatov a run at goal and his 20-yard shot thumped against the post with Maik Taylor well beaten.

Ridgewell came to City's rescue with a vital clearance from inside his own six yard box after a low cross-shot from Steed Malbranque had evaded Taylor.

Spurs were now enjoying more of the possession and the dangerous O'Hara again tested Taylor with a low shot which swerved at the last minute after cutting inside.

Double change

Juande Ramos made a double half-time substitution, bringing on leading scorer Robbie Keane and midfielder Jenas in place of Malbranque and Tainio.

Blues started the second half on the offensive and Robinson had his palms stung by a fierce rising drive from McFadden.

Then a left-wing centre from McSheffrey picked out the unmarked Forssell whose downward volley was turned over the bar by Robinson as the ball bounced up.

After 55 minutes a superb free-kick from Larsson doubled Birmingham's lead. Blues full-back David Murphy created the opportunity with a run towards the Spurs box before being brought down by Zokora.

Up stepped Larsson and the Swedish international curled his free-kick over the defensive wall and past the despairing dive of Robinson.

The cheering had hardly died down before Forssell struck for the second time in the game four minutes later to put Birmingham 3-0 ahead.

Larsson's fizzing centre was deflected towards his own goal by Chimbonda and it needed Robinson at full stretch to fingertip the ball away. But Forssell was quick to react in firing the loose ball into the corner of the net from a narrow angle.

Taylor tipped over a glancing header from Keane and then palmed over a fierce drive from Huddlestone.

Forssell was denied a hat-trick when his shot was blocked by Chimbonda after good play by Larsson.

But with nine minutes Forssell completed his treble with a cool finish after McFadden had set up the opportunity before Jenas scored a consolation goal in injury time for woeful Spurs.

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 3 9
2 Swansea City 3 9
3 Tottenham Hotspur 2 6
4 Manchester City 3 6
5 Arsenal 2 4
6 Southampton 3 4
7 Hull City 2 4
8 Aston Villa 2 4
9 Stoke City 3 4
10 West Ham United 3 3
11 Liverpool 2 3
12 Queens Park Rangers 3 3
13 Sunderland 3 2
14 Manchester United 3 2
15 Newcastle United 3 2
16 Everton 3 2
17 West Bromwich Albion 3 2
18 Leicester City 2 1
19 Crystal Palace 3 1
20 Burnley 3 1

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