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Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 17:11 UK

Birmingham   0 - 0   Stoke

By Saj Chowdhury

Danny Higginbottom and James McFadden
There was a lot of energy spent but little fluid football at St Andrew's

Birmingham and Stoke played out a hard-fought goalless draw at St Andrew's.

Clear chances were few and far between, with Blues' Garry O'Connor going closest when his header was brilliantly stopped by goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

Stoke were the more potent in attack with Dave Kitson heading over from 12 yards and fellow striker Ricardo Fuller forcing Joe Hart to save low.

Fuller also had a goal disallowed in a match that saw Stoke striker James Beattie come off with a leg injury.

On paper, this fixture did not give the impression it was going to be a classic and, sadly, it lived up to those expectations.

606: DEBATE

The only testing effort on goal of the first half came from the boot of Birmingham defender Franck Queudrue who ventured forward before rifling a 25-yard shot that Sorensen turned away.

Stoke looked the more composed during the first 45 minutes and were more threatening in attack. Unfortunately for Tony Pulis's men they were hampered by an injury to Beattie early in the match.

The former Southampton forward landed awkwardly trying to meet Matthew Etherington's cross and appeared to injure his leg.

McLeish pleased with start to season

Kitson, who has yet to score for Stoke since signing for £5.5m last season, replaced his fellow striker but a wild shot from 20 yards was all he could muster in the opening half.

Stoke employed their trademark aerial tactics, in particular the Rory Delap throw, that worked a treat last season, but Alex McLeish's men were equal to what was launched at them.

The closest the Potters came to scoring via the Delap catapult was when the impressive Irish defender Keith Fahey had to head clear a yard from his goalline after team-mate Queudrue inadvertently put him in danger.

Stoke though, did not manage an effort on target until the 56th minute when strike Fuller ran into the area from the right but, challenged, only managed to fire in a weak shot which Hart held.

Fuller should have done better with the next opportunity that came his way, but this time the former Preston man could only head on to the netting after Blues defender O'Connor chested an Etherington ball into his path.

Pulis disappointed with draw

The Blues attack seemed to be on a sabbatical for much of the match, until O'Connor forced a sensational save from Sorensen, diving to his right.

That gave the match a bit of edge and at the other end Kitson headed over from Liam Lawrence's left-wing delivery before Fuller had the ball in the net only to be cautioned by Chris Foy for using his hand in the process.

Birmingham finished the game the strongest but they know they need to bring in players of quality - perhaps courtesy of Carson Yeung's millions - if they want to avoid the one-season wonders tag.

Stoke, who were watched by assistant-in-waiting Peter Reid, will continue to bombard teams with their set-pieces but may need to employ a Plan B if, like today, Plan A fails to work.


Birmingham manager Alex McLeish:
"It wasn't a bad result although we would have liked to have two wins back-to-back.

"It was a tough tough game against a resilient team and we had to work hard to get people behind them.

"It's a big step up into the Premier League but so far we have defended well and that is pleasing."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"I think we are disappointed not to have nicked the result. If we were a little bit calmer then we could have turned chances into goals.

"We were disappointed with the free kick given against us, if our keeper hadn't saved it I might have had a rant and rave about that. It was a great save though and the two centre-halves were amazing."


Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Birmingham 0-0 Stoke FT
(HT 0-0)

      Birmingham

      Substitutes

      Stoke

      Substitutes

      Ref: FoyAtt: 21,694
      BIRMINGHAM
      STOKE

      Possession

      • Birmingham 50%
      • Stoke 50%

      Attempts on target

      • Birmingham 6
      • Stoke 3

      Attempts off target

      • Birmingham 2
      • Stoke 10

      Corners

      • Birmingham 3
      • Stoke 3

      Fouls

      • Birmingham 8
      • Stoke 13
      • Final Result
      • 94:07 The referee ends the match.
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+3:10 Christian Benitez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ryan Shawcross. Direct free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 90:00+2:16 Garry O'Connor fouled by Ryan Shawcross, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Hart takes the free kick.
      • 90:00+1:45 Barry Ferguson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Lawrence. Direct free kick taken by Liam Lawrence.
      • 90:00+0:56 Stephen Carr takes a long range shot clearing the bar.
      • Correction - 90:00+0:19 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ricardo Fuller on Franck Queudrue. Franck Queudrue restarts play with the free kick.
      • 90:00+0:19 Foul by Ricardo Fuller on Franck Queudrue, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Franck Queudrue.
      • 89:26 Liam Lawrence delivers the ball.
      • 87:21 Unfair challenge on Liam Lawrence by Sebastian Larsson results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Liam Lawrence from left wing, clearance made by Stuart Parnaby.
      • 85:08 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Sebastian Larsson.
      • 85:08 Booking Booking for Dean Whitehead for unsporting behaviour.
      • 84:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Christian Benitez by Dean Whitehead.
      • 84:29 The ball is delivered by Danny Higginbotham, clearance made by Franck Queudrue.
      • 84:23 Danny Higginbotham produces a cross, clearance by Franck Queudrue.
      • 82:59 Ricardo Fuller produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
      • 82:08 Corner taken by Liam Lawrence from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Barry Ferguson.
      • 79:22 The ball is delivered by James McFadden.
      • 78:40 Barry Ferguson sends in a cross, save made by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 77:18 The official flags Ricardo Fuller offside. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
      • 75:22 Substitution Dean Whitehead comes on in place of Matthew Etherington.
      • 73:59 Booking Ricardo Fuller is shown a yellow card.
      • 73:50 Unfair challenge on Joe Hart by Ricardo Fuller results in a free kick. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
      • 70:35 Foul by Dave Kitson on Barry Ferguson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Franck Queudrue.
      • 68:00 The ball is delivered by Liam Lawrence, Dave Kitson has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
      • 66:19 Booking Glenn Whelan receives a caution.
      • 65:44 Glenn Whelan is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Franck Queudrue.
      • 64:45 The offside flag is raised against Garry O'Connor. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 64:12 Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Andy Wilkinson manages to make a clearance.
      • 63:14 The ball is sent over by Matthew Etherington, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
      • 62:41 Barry Ferguson takes a shot. Dave Kitson gets a block in.
      • 61:26 Andy Wilkinson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Christian Benitez. The ball is swung over by Sebastian Larsson, Garry O'Connor takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 60:01 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with Sebastian Larsson coming on for Lee Bowyer.
      • 57:23 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Carr on Liam Lawrence. The ball is delivered by Matthew Etherington, Ricardo Fuller has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.
      • 56:09 Dave Kitson concedes a free kick for a foul on Roger Johnson. Free kick taken by Roger Johnson.
      • 55:06 Ricardo Fuller takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
      • 53:58 Header from close range by Ryan Shawcross clears the bar.
      • 53:08 Danny Higginbotham sends in a cross.
      • 52:30 Substitution Kevin Phillips leaves the field to be replaced by Christian Benitez.
      • 47:21 The ball is delivered by Liam Lawrence, Franck Queudrue manages to make a clearance.
      • 47:04 Andy Wilkinson takes a shot. Clearance made by Barry Ferguson.
      • 46:00 Glenn Whelan takes a shot. Blocked by Roger Johnson.
      • 45:56 The ball is crossed by Matthew Etherington, Stephen Carr makes a clearance.
      • 45:01 The referee gets the second half underway.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+1:58 The first half comes to an end.
      • 45:00+1:16 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Roger Johnson by Dave Kitson. Direct free kick taken by Roger Johnson.
      • 44:33 Liam Lawrence concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Carr. Franck Queudrue restarts play with the free kick.
      • 43:04 The assistant referee flags for offside against Ricardo Fuller. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
      • 42:47 Ryan Shawcross takes a shot.
      • 41:32 The assistant referee flags for offside against Lee Bowyer. Free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 40:16 Handball by Lee Bowyer. Abdoulaye Faye takes the free kick.
      • 36:06 Rory Delap produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
      • 35:54 Matthew Etherington takes a shot. Franck Queudrue gets a block in.
      • 33:27 The ball is swung over by Liam Lawrence.
      • 32:34 The ball is sent over by Abdoulaye Faye, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
      • 31:53 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line to the near post.
      • 30:51 The referee gives a free kick against Kevin Phillips for handball. Free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 29:45 Barry Ferguson challenges Ricardo Fuller unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Glenn Whelan.
      • 28:07 Foul by Rory Delap on Lee Bowyer, free kick awarded. Franck Queudrue takes the direct free kick.
      • 27:28 Unfair challenge on Dave Kitson by James McFadden results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Higginbotham.
      • 26:56 Keith Fahey produces a cross.
      • 26:35 Ryan Shawcross concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Phillips. Barry Ferguson takes the direct free kick.
      • 25:29 Garry O'Connor is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 23:43 Long range shot from Dave Kitson misses to the left of the target.
      • 22:36 Unfair challenge on Stuart Parnaby by Dave Kitson results in a free kick. Roger Johnson takes the direct free kick.
      • 21:22 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by James McFadden from the right by-line to the near post,
      • 19:36 Ryan Shawcross has a header from close in and clears the crossbar.
      • 18:53 Stephen Carr concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Lawrence. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Liam Lawrence, Franck Queudrue makes a clearance.
      • 18:01 The assistant referee signals for offside against Garry O'Connor. Abdoulaye Faye takes the indirect free kick.
      • 16:26 Unfair challenge on Roger Johnson by Dave Kitson results in a free kick. Stuart Parnaby restarts play with the free kick.
      • 15:20 The referee penalises Glenn Whelan for handball. Barry Ferguson takes the direct free kick.
      • 14:15 Corner taken by Keith Fahey, save by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 14:02 James McFadden takes a shot. Blocked by Matthew Etherington.
      • 12:39 Effort from outside the area by James McFadden goes wide right of the goal.
      • 12:02 Ryan Shawcross has a headed effort from close range and clears the crossbar.
      • 11:15 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line, Joe Hart makes a save.
      • 10:34 Substitution Dave Kitson comes on in place of James Beattie.
      • 10:34 Ryan Shawcross fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick. Thomas Sorensen takes the free kick.
      • 8:11 Franck Queudrue takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 5:35 Kevin Phillips takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 2:28 Matthew Etherington delivers the ball, Franck Queudrue makes a clearance.
      • 0:00 The game gets underway.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League results

      22 Aug 2009 23:59 UK

      Home Team Score Away Team Time
      Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth R
      Birmingham 0-0 Stoke R
      Hull 1-0 Bolton R
      Man City 1-0 Wolverhampton R
      Sunderland 2-1 Blackburn R
      Wigan 0-5 Man Utd R

      Premier League table snapshot

      As it stood on 22 Aug 2009 23:59 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      1 Arsenal 2 8 6
      2 Tottenham 2 5 6
      3 Man Utd 3 5 6
      4 Chelsea 2 3 6
      5 Man City 2 3 6
      6 Sunderland 3 0 6
      7 Birmingham 3 0 4
      8 Stoke 3 -2 4
      9 Liverpool 2 3 3
      10 West Ham 1 2 3
      11 Fulham 1 1 3
      12 Burnley 2 -1 3
      13 Wolverhampton 3 -2 3
      14 Hull 3 -4 3
      15 Wigan 3 -4 3
      16 Aston Villa 1 -2 0
      17 Bolton 2 -2 0
      18 Blackburn 2 -3 0
      19 Everton 1 -5 0
      20 Portsmouth 3 -5 0

      see also
      Reid set to join staff at Stoke
      22 Aug 09 |  Stoke
      Saturday football as it happened
      22 Aug 09 |  Football
      Saturday football photos
      22 Aug 09 |  Premier League


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