Blues relegated despite win

Blues secure biggest win of season, Blackburn miss Intertoto place

By Laura Slatcher.   Last Updated: 11/05/08 6:00pm

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McLeish: Championship bound

McLeish: Championship bound

Sky Bet

Birmingham suffered relegation from the Premier League despite a 4-1 win against Blackburn at St Andrews.

The Blues put on a valiant display but a Fulham win at Portsmouth made certain Birmingham were relegated, Aston Villa's point at West Ham denying Blackburn the Intertoto Cup place.

David Murphy scored his first goal for Birmingham after 31 minutes, his 20- yard shot fumbled by Brad Friedel.

Blackburn got an equaliser shortly after the break when Morten Gamst Pedersen tapped the ball home after Maik Taylor pulled off two excellent saves at the near post.

Substitute Cameron Jerome scored after 73 minutes to take the lead for Birmingham before grabbing his second in the 89th minute.

Birmingham sealed a well deserved win into injury time when Mehdi Nafti picked out Fabrice Muamba who pulled out a great finish past a watching Friedel.

Birmingham suffered a pre-match setback when striker James McFadden aggravated his knee problem and was replaced by Mauro Zarate who could have put them ahead after only three minutes.

The on-loan Argentinian played a one-two with Olivier Kapo and found himself with only Brad Friedel to beat but he sliced his shot across the face of goal when he should have at least hit the target.

McLeish's side made a lively start but an error by midfielder Muamba almost handed Rovers the lead a couple of minutes later.

His sideways pass was seized upon by Gamst Pedersen who burst forward before releasing Roque Santa Cruz but his low drive was blocked by Maik Taylor.

Kapo should have done better when he got on the end of a right-wing cross from Larsson and directed his header well wide.

Lead

But in the 31st minute David Murphy gave Birmingham hope with his first goal since his £1.5 million move from Hibernian in January.

Zarate took a quick free-kick and left-back Murphy was allowed to run forward to the edge of the box almost unopposed and his low shot looked to be covered by Friedel.

But he inexplicably allowed the ball to go underneath his body and into the corner of the net.

Kapo could have doubled City's lead three minutes later when he raced on to a pass from Mikael Forssell but his low drive hit the left leg of Friedel who partially atoned for his blunder.

Stephen Kelly came to Birmingham's rescue when he cleared off the line from Brett Emerton after the midfielder had skipped past Taylor who had coming racing of his line.

Blackburn started the second half on the offensive and Taylor did well to save at the feet of Roberts after good play by Stephen Warnock.

Equaliser
But after 49 minutes Pedersen brought Rovers back on level terms. Johnson was dispossessed by Vogel and released Roberts who had two fierce drives blocked by Taylor but the ball broke across the face of goal to Pedersen who made no mistake.

Birmingham needed a positive response and Kapo showed good skill to create a yard of space for himself and flashed a fierce drive across the face of goal.

Blues substitute Jerome was guilty of a glaring miss from close range when he shot over with the goal at his mercy from a Murphy cross.

But the England Under-21 international made amends in the 73rd minute when he converted a centre from Larsson and then coolly slotted the ball past Friedel for his second.

Muamba headed in an injury-time cross from Medhi Nafti for the fourth but the it matter little as results elsewhere saw the Blues drop into the Championship.

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Birmingham CityTeam StatisticsBlackburn Rovers
4Goals1
11st Half Goals0
8Shots on Target7
6Shots off Target5
2Blocked Shots3
5Corners2
16Fouls16
3Offsides6
3Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
62.7Passing Success69.6
17Tackles15
88.2Tackles Success66.7
47.5Possession52.5
47.5Territorial Advantage52.5

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