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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 October 2007, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Birmingham 3-2 Wigan
By Pranav Soneji

Carson Yeung and David Sullivan clap from the stands
Prospective owner Carson Yeung (right) was pleased with what he saw
Two goals from Olivier Kapo inspired Birmingham to an entertaining victory over Wigan at St Andrews.

Marcus Bent put the visitors in front on 23 minutes, but Kapo equalised from the penalty spot three minutes later.

A defensive mix-up on 59 minutes presented Bent with his second goal but Birmingham once again fought back through Liam Ridgwell on 67 minutes.

And Frenchman Kapo secured Birmingham's third win of the season with a fine strike from 18 yards on 81 minutes.

The presence of prospective buyer Carson Yeung, sitting one seat behind Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan in the stands, appeared to raise the intensity of a resilient Birmingham side.

The victory ended a run of three successive defeats for Steve Bruce's side - and much of the home side's industry came through the boot of Daniel de Ridder, making his home debut since signing from Celta Vigo in the summer.

The Dutchman received a standing ovation when he was substituted in the final seconds of the match.

Despite dominating the early exchanges, Birmingham found themselves a goal down against the run of play on 23 minutes thanks to some good old-fashioned route one football.


Mario Melchiot's long ball from half-way inside his own half was latched on to by Bent, who outpaced Liam Ridgewell and fired emphatically past keeper Maik Taylor from 12 yards.

It was the striker's third goal since signing on a season-long loan from Everton in the summer.

But Birmingham's reply was suitably prompt. Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland's acrobatics had denied De Ridder, fingertipping a vicious inswinging 20-yard free-kick over his crossbar.

But the resulting corner saw Paul Scharner handle Franck Queudrue's header and referee Steve Tanner had no hesitation when he pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Kapo, who slotted home the resulting spot-kick on 26 minutes as Birmingham, and De Ridder in particular, began to carve holes in the Wigan defence.

The visitors had Kirkland to thank once again as the keeper denied the Dutchman's sharp strike from 10 yards.

Kapo could have doubled his tally before the half-time whistle, but opted for finesse when he attempted to chip Kirkland from the edge of the 18-yard box, a shot which the keeper easily gathered.

A left-foot blast would probably been a better choice.

Olivier Kapo is mobbed by team-mates after scoring Birmingham's winner
Boss Bruce revealed he was considering substituting Kapo (centre)

The second half began in similar fashion to the first and Wigan once again took the lead against the run of play on 59 minutes when Bent was presented with the simplest of goals, courtesy of a horrendous misunderstanding between Stephen Kelly and keeper Maik Taylor.

Melchiot's cross from the edge of the dead-ball line fizzed across the face of goal, but a lack of communication between the full-back and keeper meant both men went for the same ball.

Bent could hardly believe his luck as the ball landed right in front of him with an empty goal to aim at.

Birmingham's response was swift - Cameron Jerome was denied by a fantastic sprawling save from Kirkland and minutes later the big striker failed to make contact with a free header from 10 yards.

But the equaliser soon later when centre-back Rafael Schmitz headed across Queudrue's corner into the path of captain Ridgewell, who bundled the ball in from two yards out on 67 minutes.

The momentum was very much with the home side as Birmingham manager Steve Bruce pushed for the winner.

And it duly came in the 81st minute when Kapo turned on the edge of the box to fire past Kirkland into the bottom right corner.

  • Birmingham manager Steve Bruce on two-goal hero Olivier Kapo:

    "I had said to Kapo 'I want you to take the penalties' before the game.

    "I had a feeling we would get one today. But then I thought 'did I make the right choice?' Thankfully he put it away.

    "We wanted to try something different and we were about to make a change bringing on Gary McSheffery (For Kapo), then he comes up with a thunder-strike.

    "We have made defensive mistakes which we haven't done for weeks but we showed a lot of character and resilience to bounce back.

    "If we are going to survive and be successful we have to beat teams who are in our league, the teams who are going to be around us."

  • Wigan manager Chris Hutchings:

    "We should have got something out of the game.

    "Away from home we have let it slip and the players know that. We have to make sure that we don't let that happen again.

    "The lads gave it everything but we slacked off at the corner for the second goal and we allowed their man to turn and let in their third."

    Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Schmitz, Ridgewell, Queudrue, De Ridder (McSheffrey 90), Muamba (O'Connor 62), Nafti, Palacios (Larsson 78), Kapo, Jerome.
    Subs Not Used: Kingson, Danns.

    Goals: Kapo 26 pen, Ridgewell 67, Kapo 81.

    Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Granqvist, Bramble, Kilbane, Valencia, Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Sibierski (Aghahowa 84), Bent.
    Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Taylor, Boyce, Skoko.

    Booked: Scharner.

    Goals: Bent 23, 59.

    Att: 27,661

    Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).


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