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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Blackburn 3-3 Birmingham

Brett Emerton, Matt Jansen and Paul Dickov
Blackburn came from two goals behind to secure a point against Birmingham.

Matt Jansen's incisive finish after a sweeping move gave the home side an early lead, but having started so well Blackburn imploded defensively.

Birmingham drew level on 16 minutes through Darren Anderton's close-range finish and Mario Melchiot then set up goals for Robbie Savage and David Dunn.

But Rovers fought back and after Steven Reid's shot reduced the deficit to 3-2, Paul Gallagher bundled the ball home.

Despite their courageous fightback Blackburn remain in serious trouble and they remain rooted to the foot of the Premiership table.

Ominously Blackburn have conceded the most goals in the Premiership - a record easy to understand given some of their first-half defending.

Not that there was any sign of defensive nervousness in a vibrant Blackburn start.

If Jansen took his goal well, the approach play that preceded it was equally inspired.

Tugay's long pass to Reid opened up the Birmingham defence down the Blackburn right.

Reid powered his way into the Birmingham box before slipping a pass to Dickov, whose dummy allowed the ball to run through to Jansen.

The Blackburn striker quickly worked the ball on to his left foot before hammering a shot past Maik Taylor.

Having started so purposefully, inexplicably the edge in Blackburn's play disippated, allowing Birmingham to gain a foothold in the game.

And through a combination of Gronkjaer's trickery on the wing and Anderton's quick feet, Birmingham were soon level.

Working down the left, Gronkjaer found Dunn with an astute pass and although the former Blackburn player's touch let him down, the ball fell to Anderton who deftly tucked his shot into the corner.

Soon after, a purposeful Birmingham counter-attack ended with Friedel desperately having to scoop away Damien Johnson's shot after a Dunn cross created pandemonium in the Blackburn defence.

Birmingham kept pressing forward and seven minutes before the interval they took the lead.

Gronkjaer picked out Anderton in space in the middle and the former Spurs midfielder quickly moved the ball out to the marauding Melchiot.

The Dutchman's cross reached Savage, whose half volleyed shot gave Friedel no chance.

In stoppage time, Melchiot prised open the Blackburn defence again with another powerful run and cross.

Clinton Morrison's dummy allowed the ball to reach Dunn who side-footed past Friedel.

Two substitutions from Mark Hughes - the introduction of Gallagher and David Thompson - helped the game swing back into Blackburn's favour.

Thompson came on 10 minutes after the restart and the former Liverpool midfielder had an immediate impact.

He sent a lobbed pass into the path of Reid, whose shot took a deflection off Matthew Upson and looped over Taylor.

Just past the hour Blackburn drew level after Barry Ferguson's long pass sent Dickov scurrying away.

Taylor dived at Dickov's feet, but the ball squirmed away from the Birmingham goalkeeper and Gallagher, who had replaced Jansen at the interval, bundled it over the line.

Blackburn might have snatched an unlikely win late on but Taylor bravely thwarted Dickov.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Johansson, McEveley, Reid, Ferguson, Tugay (Thompson 56), Emerton, Dickov, Jansen (Gallagher 45).
Subs Not Used: Pedersen, Enckelman, Matteo.

Booked: Ferguson.

Goals: Jansen 4, Reid 57, Gallagher 63.

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Cunningham, Upson, Gray, Anderton (Yorke 74), Johnson, Savage, Dunn (Clemence 80), Gronkjaer, Morrison (Clapham 65).
Subs Not Used: Martin Taylor, Vaesen.

Booked: Johnson.

Goals: Anderton 17, Savage 38, Dunn 45.

Att: 20,290.

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Birmingham boss Steve Bruce


Interview: Blackburn manager Mark Hughes




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