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Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Birmingham topple Leeds
Leeds manager Terry Venables bites his nails as he watches Leeds lose at St Andrews
Leeds boss Venables looks on anxiously
Birmingham 2-1 Leeds

Birmingham brought the good times rolling back to St Andrews with a well-deserved win over Terry Venables' Leeds.

Super strikes from Paul Devlin and Damien Johnson secured Blues their first top-flight home win for 16 years, having flopped against Blackburn on their return to the big time on the opening day of the season.

  St Andrew's goals
31 mins: Devlin strikes with a stinging 25-yard drive
49 mins: Bowyer ignores offside claims to chip equaliser
58 mins: Johnson curls superb winner from edge of penalty area

Lee Bowyer, hoping for a recall to the England fold this week, looked to have spoiled the Birmingham party with a delightful chip early in the second half.

But Birmingham, who were denied a first-ever Premiership win by a last-minute own goal at Everton in midweek, held their nerve well this time.

They dominated the opening stages as Senegal captain Aliou Cisse and Robbie Savage forged an impressive and oppressive combination in the centre of midfield.

Cisse shrugged off a crude retaliatory challenge by Mark Viduka - for which the Leeds striker was booked - to provide the game's first goal threat on 12 minutes.


Cisse struck a stinging dipping volley, but Paul Robinson's positioning was spot-on and the effort failed to trouble the Leeds keeper.

But Birmingham's early pressure increased, culminating in a wonderful goal from the impressive Devlin on 31 minutes.

Devlin had been a constant threat down Birmingham's right flank in the opening half-hour, so it was something of a surprise that Leeds failed to pick him up from a Savage corner.


All credit to the players for producing an unbelievable performance to beat a very good team
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce

The midfielder exacted swift punishment with a sweet right-foot shot that flew beyond Robinson from 25 yards.

The goal was no more than Birmingham deserved, but their hard work nearly went to waste as Leeds answered back.


Eirik Bakke had a header ruled out for offside and Mark Viduka saw a shot clip the post after Birmingham had lost possession in their own half.

Just before half-time the woodwork denied Leeds again as Kewell saw a right-foot effort bounce off the top of Nico Vaesen's crossbar.

But Birmingham's luck ran out just four minutes into the second half.

Neat build-up play between Viduka and Bowyer sent the midfielder clear and he ignored Birmingham's frenzied appeals for offside as he neatly chipped Vaesen for the equaliser.


There were one or two things we couldn't get to grips with and we have still got to be better
Leeds boss Terry Venables

The pendulum had swung firmly towards Leeds, but it came crashing back Birmingham's way with another spectacular goal from the home side.

Damien Johnson cut in from the left and exchanged passes with Clinton Morrison before curling a delightful shot beyond the despairing Robinson and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

A few inevitably anxious moments followed as Birmingham conceded possession cheaply during some nervous final minutes.

But it was Leeds boss Terry Venables who was biting his nails more ferociously on the final whistle as his side were condemned to a second defeat in four days.


Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna, Purse, Cunningham, Grainger, Devlin (Hughes 85), Savage, Cisse, Damien Johnson, Morrison (Horsfield 75), John (Lazaridis 90).
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Michael Johnson.

Booked: Devlin, Damien Johnson, Grainger.

Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Woodgate, Matteo, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke (Dacourt 60), Kewell, Smith, Viduka, Barmby.
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Kelly, Wilcox, Duberry.

Booked: Viduka, Bakke, Bowyer.

Attendance: 27,164

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"Birmingham worked hard for the win"
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce
"We thoroughly deserved it"
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