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Birmingham 3-1 Sheff Wed

Garry O'Connor celebrates scoring for Birmingham
O'Connor struck his fourth and fifth goals of the season

Two first-half goals from Garry O'Connor ensured Birmingham maintained top spot in the Championship after victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

O'Connor headed the home side in front after 11 minutes, only to see Etienne Esajas equalise three minutes later from a quick free-kick.

But Birmingham regained the lead a minute later through O'Connor before Kevin Phillips added the third.

Wednesday had Jimmy Smith sent off on 68 minutes for a second yellow card.

The victory extended Birmingham's unbeaten run to six matches as they maintain their two-point lead over rivals Wolverhampton.

After an entertaining four-goal first half, the second 45 minutes was slightly less enthralling.

Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant tipped Franck Queudrue's header over the bar before Cameron Jerome and Phillips wasted half chances on the hour.

But Wednesday's hopes of a fightback effectively ended when Smith was shown a red card for leading with the elbow in a challenge on Stuart Parnaby.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish:
"To have 30 points from 13 games is a tremendous performance. I'm delighted that we made such a great start to the season.

"It is certainly better to have the points on board instead of having to play catch-up later in the season.

"It was a very good performance following on from our midweek success. We took it a step further against Wednesday.

"You could see the confidence in the players. Apart from the equalising goal we were generally well in control."

Sheffield Wednesday boss Brian Laws:
"I am worried about our form. We are as different as chalk and cheese at home and away.

"We have only conceded two goals at home but away the defence appears to play a different sort of game.

"Suffering two defeats on the bounce for the first time this season we appear to have fallen apart what with the huge number of injuries and suspensions."

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Parnaby, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Queudrue, Larsson (Nafti 75), Carsley, Agustien, Jerome (McFadden 65), O'Connor, Phillips (Bent 82).
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Quashie.

Booked: Larsson, McFadden.

Goals: O'Connor 11, 15, Phillips 38.

Sheff Wed: Grant, Buxton, Spurr, Wood, Gilbert, Johnson (Small 46), Watson, Smith, McAllister, Esajas, Clarke (Burton 86).
Subs Not Used: O'Donnell, Jeffers, Simek.

Sent Off: Smith (69).

Booked: Smith, Buxton.

Goals: Esajas 14.

Att: 17,300

Ref: Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire).

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see also
Birmingham 1-0 Crystal Palace
21 Oct 08 |  Championship
Barnsley 2-1 Sheff Wed
21 Oct 08 |  Championship

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