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Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Sunday, 29 November 2009

Wolverhampton   0 - 1   Birmingham

Birmingham midfielder Lee Bowyer, right, celebrates his opener
Bowyer, far right, celebrates his audacious match-winning strike at the Molineux

By Sam Lyon

Lee Bowyer's early strike proved enough to earn Birmingham a deserved win over struggling rivals Wolves and push the Blues up towards mid-table security.

The midfielder grabbed the only goal of the game with a superb clipped strike from 20 yards out into the corner.

But it could have been more for the Blues, with Bowyer, Cameron Jerome and Sebastian Larsson forcing fine saves.

Wolves came close through Matt Jarvis's snap-shot, but they rarely looked like ending a winless run of nine matches.

It is the first time Birmingham have recorded back-to-back Premier League victories since 2004, and is the perfect way to mark Alex McLeish's two-year anniversary as Blues boss.

Wolves didn't compete in first half - McCarthy

But for Wolves, the result and performance were an all too stark reminder of the struggle they face to remain in the Premier League this season.

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy pulled no punches following the 4-0 mauling at the hands of Chelsea last week in saying his side were in a relegation battle - and on this evidence, it will be a long and hard one.

While defeats to the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal may be forgivable among the Molineux faithful, a reverse against fierce rivals Birmingham is another prospect entirely - especially given the manner of the loss.

For all their huff and puff, Wolves rarely looked like breaching a relatively modest away defence and a sum of only two shots on target in the entire match told its own story.

Birmingham, on the other hand, produced a determined display that will give their supporters plenty of hope of surviving in this league this season.

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They were kick-started by Bowyer's audacious opener, the midfielder taking his tally for the season to five with a beautiful clipped lob into the far corner on three minutes.

And the Blues could - and arguably should - have been further ahead by half-time, Larsson and Jerome, twice, both bringing decent low saves out of Marcus Hahnemann from range and Bowyer then seeing his deflected driven effort from the edge of the area tipped over.

Such was Birmingham's dominance that McCarthy replaced Greg Halford with Michael Kightly on the half hour - and then brought Stephen Ward on for Michael Mancienne at the break.

It preceded Wolves's first noteworthy effort of the match, Kevin Doyle, recalled to the starting line-up after being rested last week, driving inches past the post from 20 yards out.

McLeish hails 'massive win' for Blues

But it was Birmingham that continued to look the more cultured team, resisting Wolves's attacks comfortably and looking to grab a second on the counter.

Their approach almost bore fruit when Jerome burst forward from a Wolves corner and fed James McFadden, only for the Scot's shot across goal to deflect off Ward's desperate challenge and fly wide.

To Wolves's credit, the hosts kept plugging away, and Birmingham keeper Joe Hart had to produce a smart reaction save to keep out Jarvis's snap-shot from a corner late in the piece.

The hosts piled on the pressure in the closing stages, throwing cross after cross into the box as they desperately tried to snatch what would have been a smash-and-grab leveller.

Birmingham held firm, though, and while the final whistle prompted cheers from the away support in the knowledge the win lifts them up to 11th in the table, the home fans' boos suggested McCarthy has work to do if he is to convince them he is the man to protect Wolves' Premier League status.


Wolves boss Mick McCarthy:
"I picked a team I thought would go out there and compete, but it didn't happen.

"From the first whistle we haven't made a tackle or laid a finger on anyone and, as a result, Birmingham were a good street better than us. We improved late in the game, yes, but we didn't deserve anything from it.

"The supporters deserve a lot better than what we dished up for them today, that's for sure."

Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish:
"That is a massive win for us. These are the games that will decide our season and to get a fantastic win, and in the manner that we did it, was brilliant.

"From the keeper right through the team, it was a magnificent performance and our only disappointment was that we didn't take the chances to put it beyond them.

"We won't be shouting from the rooftops just yet, though, we'll keep our feet on the ground and keep doing what we're doing."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Wolves 0-1 Birmingham FT
(HT 0-1)
    • Bowyer 3

    Wolverhampton

    Substitutes

    Birmingham

    Substitutes

    Ref: ClattenburgAtt: 26,668
    WOLVES
    BIRMINGHAM

    Possession

    • Wolves 58%
    • Birmingham 42%

    Attempts on target

    • Wolves 2
    • Birmingham 8

    Attempts off target

    • Wolves 6
    • Birmingham 6

    Corners

    • Wolves 6
    • Birmingham 5

    Fouls

    • Wolves 14
    • Birmingham 8
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+5:28 The referee ends the match.
    • 90:00+4:55 Nenad Milijas delivers the ball, Christophe Berra produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
    • 90:00+4:55 Booking The referee books Cameron Jerome for unsporting behaviour.
    • 90:00+4:47 Cameron Jerome gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Christophe Berra.
    • 90:00+4:20 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Nenad Milijas.
    • Correction - 90:00+3:35 Jody Craddock takes a shot. Matthew Jarvis gets a block in.
    • 90:00+3:35 Liam Ridgewell takes a shot. Blocked by Matthew Jarvis.
    • 90:00+1:28 The assistant referee signals for offside against James McFadden. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 90:00+0:46 Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
    • 90:00+0:46 Booking Sylvan Ebanks-Blake goes into the book.
    • 90:00+0:37 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joe Hart.
    • 89:35 The assistant referee flags for offside against James McFadden. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 89:14 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake challenges Roger Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
    • 88:28 The referee blows for offside against James McFadden. Indirect free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 87:30 Unfair challenge on Scott Dann by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake results in a free kick. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 86:09 Substitution Christian Benitez goes off and Keith Fahey comes on.
    • 84:55 David Edwards produces a cross, Close range headed effort by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake misses to the right of the target.
    • 84:18 Shot on goal by Cameron Jerome from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
    • 83:17 Christian Benitez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Christophe Berra. Marcus Hahnemann takes the free kick.
    • 79:45 Christian Benitez takes a shot. Jody Craddock gets a block in.
    • 79:14 Christian Benitez is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 76:59 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Roger Johnson. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 74:36 Matthew Jarvis takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
    • 71:52 Inswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, save by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 71:22 James McFadden takes a shot. Stephen Ward gets a block in.
    • 70:58 Corner taken by Nenad Milijas from the left by-line.
    • 69:04 James McFadden concedes a free kick for a foul on Jody Craddock. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 67:13 James McFadden takes the inswinging corner, save made by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 65:33 Substitution Nenad Milijas on for Michael Kightly.
    • 63:19 Sebastian Larsson produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses left.
    • 63:11 Handball decision goes against Kevin Doyle. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 60:54 Barry Ferguson fouled by Michael Kightly, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 57:55 Unfair challenge on Richard Stearman by James McFadden results in a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 57:28 Direct free kick taken by Sebastian Larsson.
    • 57:28 Booking The referee shows Christophe Berra a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 57:20 Free kick awarded for a foul by Christophe Berra on Cameron Jerome.
    • 53:26 The assistant referee signals for offside against Cameron Jerome. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 53:01 Karl Henry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
    • 52:19 Michael Kightly concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Ridgewell. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
    • 51:51 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, clearance by Roger Johnson.
    • 49:43 The referee blows for offside against James McFadden. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
    • 47:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Edwards by Barry Ferguson. Direct free kick taken by David Edwards.
    • 46:43 Kevin Doyle concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Carr. Stephen Carr restarts play with the free kick.
    • 45:42 Kevin Doyle has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
    • 45:01 Substitution Stephen Ward is brought on as a substitute for Michael Mancienne.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+3:26 The referee calls an end to the first half.
    • 45:00+3:00 Effort from just outside the area by Karl Henry goes over the bar.
    • 45:00+2:13 Unfair challenge on Michael Mancienne by Christian Benitez results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 45:00+1:35 Foul by Christophe Berra on Cameron Jerome, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
    • 45:00+0:17 Shot by Christian Benitez from just outside the area goes over the net.
    • 43:19 Inswinging corner taken by David Edwards from the left by-line, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.
    • 40:33 The offside flag is raised against Christian Benitez. Marcus Hahnemann takes the free kick.
    • 34:49 Inswinging corner taken by James McFadden.
    • 34:30 Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Marcus Hahnemann makes a save.
    • 33:56 Corner taken left-footed by James McFadden from the right by-line, save by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 33:03 David Edwards concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Bowyer. Liam Ridgewell takes the free kick.
    • 30:50 Substitution Michael Kightly on for Greg Halford.
    • 30:18 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis from the right by-line, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Christophe Berra misses to the right of the target.
    • 29:48 Handball decision goes against Lee Bowyer. Richard Stearman takes the direct free kick.
    • 29:00 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Marcus Hahnemann makes a save.
    • 25:18 David Edwards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 24:30 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Blocked by Jody Craddock.
    • 24:19 The ball is sent over by James McFadden, Greg Halford makes a clearance.
    • 23:32 David Edwards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer. Liam Ridgewell restarts play with the free kick.
    • 22:41 The offside flag is raised against Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
    • 22:02 James McFadden produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
    • 21:27 Karl Henry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James McFadden. Liam Ridgewell takes the direct free kick.
    • 21:00 Sebastian Larsson takes a shot. Marcus Hahnemann makes a save.
    • 19:52 Sebastian Larsson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Edwards. Karl Henry takes the free kick.
    • 15:12 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Sebastian Larsson, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Scott Dann misses to the right of the target.
    • 14:02 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is penalised for a handball. Joe Hart takes the free kick.
    • 13:22 Matthew Jarvis produces a cross, clearance by Liam Ridgewell.
    • 11:27 Corner from left by-line taken by Matthew Jarvis.
    • 10:48 Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 10:10 Headed effort from inside the area by David Edwards misses to the right of the goal.
    • 9:59 Michael Mancienne crosses the ball, clearance by Roger Johnson.
    • 8:29 Unfair challenge on Richard Stearman by Cameron Jerome results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Richard Stearman.
    • 6:07 Cameron Jerome is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
    • 2:02 Sebastian Larsson provided the assist for the goal.
    • 2:02 GOAL - Lee BowyerWolverhampton 0 - 1 Birmingham Lee Bowyer gets on the score sheet with a goal from just outside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-1 Birmingham.
    • 0:00 The match gets underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    29 Nov 2009 23:59 UK

    Home Team Score Away Team Time
    Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea R
    Everton 0-2 Liverpool R
    Wolverhampton 0-1 Birmingham R

    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 29 Nov 2009 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Chelsea 14 28 36
    2 Man Utd 14 17 31
    3 Tottenham 14 14 26
    4 Arsenal 13 18 25
    5 Liverpool 14 11 23
    6 Aston Villa 14 8 23
    7 Man City 13 7 22
    8 Sunderland 14 1 20
    9 Stoke 14 -2 20
    10 Fulham 14 2 19
    11 Birmingham 14 -2 18
    12 Burnley 14 -12 17
    13 Blackburn 14 -12 17
    14 Wigan 14 -16 17
    15 Hull 15 -14 16
    16 Everton 14 -8 15
    17 West Ham 14 -2 14
    18 Bolton 13 -11 12
    19 Wolverhampton 14 -15 10
    20 Portsmouth 14 -12 7

    see also
    Sunday football as it happened
    29 Nov 09 |  Football
    Sunday's football photos
    29 Nov 09 |  Football



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