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Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Birmingham   2 - 2   Everton

Craig Gardner and Lee Bowyer
Craig Gardner celebrates his second-half equaliser with team-mate Lee Bowyer

By Les Roopanarine

Birmingham clawed back a two-goal deficit to preserve their two-point Premier League advantage over Europa League rivals Everton.

The visitors looked to be out of sight when Victor Anichebe blasted home on 19 minutes before Yakubu nodded in Steven Pienaar's lobbed pass from close range.

But Cameron Jerome gave Birmingham a foothold in the game when he swivelled to turn in Keith Fahey's centre.

And Craig Gardner completed a route-one move just after the break to level.

A draw was perhaps inevitable, given the combination of Birmingham's goal-shy attack - no club in the top half of the table has scored fewer times - and the continued absence of Louis Saha, Everton's top scorer, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.

But while it was the second time in three months that the sides have cancelled each other out in league combat, a game of rising drama was a far cry from December's relatively tame 1-1 draw.

As was the case then, Birmingham recovered from a blistering Everton start to take a share of the spoils from a tussle that at one stage was threatening to get away from them.

McLeish proud of Birmingham comeback

An insipid opening spell offered little hint of the drama to follow, but with the end of the first quarter approaching the game was enlivened by three goals in seven explosive minutes.

Everton, growing in authority as the composed passing of Mikel Arteta and athletic dynamism of Pienaar began to tell in midfield, probed along the right through Phil Neville.

The former Manchester United man fed Anichebe inside the area, and the Nigeria forward - making only his third start since his return from long-term injury - turned Liam Ridgewell to blast an unstoppable shot past Birmingham keeper Joe Hart and into the top corner.

Only moments earlier Hart had reacted superbly to keep out a low, curling effort from Pienaar, but within three minutes the England man was beaten again.

Arteta found Pienaar on the right, and the South Africa midfielder eluded Lee Bowyer to stand up a cross for Yakubu, who shrugged off a challenge from Roger Johnson to head in from point-blank range.

It looked briefly as though Everton might be destined for a second headline-dominating scoreline in as many weeks, but Birmingham are nothing if not resilient and four minutes later they were back in the hunt.

606: DEBATE
AreaClouded - Problem, New England?

Ridgewell knocked Scott Dann's lobbed pass to Fahey, whose left-flank cross into the danger area was guided home on the turn by Jerome.

The former Middlesbrough trainee's third goal in two games was the perfect response to Alex McLeish's pre-match suggestion that Birmingham's European fate would be determined by their strikeforce.

And Jerome was again in the thick of things when Birmingham pulled level six minutes after the break, rising to flick a Hart goal-kick to Gardner, who blasted a low drive beyond the sprawling Tim Howard.

It was a fairytale goal for the locally-born Gardner, a Birmingham fan who began his career with Aston Villa and was making only his fifth appearance for the Blues since his January switch from Villa Park.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair thereafter, Birmingham threatening in fits and starts while Everton spurned a chance to claim maximum points when Cahill, breaking through on goal, delivered a weak shot under pressure from Johnson.

'Sloppy' defending frustrates Moyes

Hurt in that challenge, Cahill was subsequently withdrawn and was soon followed to the sidelines by Anichebe, who likewise picked up an injury.

But if those setbacks interrupted Everton's efforts to make further attacking inroads, ultimately the sides were too evenly matched to deserve maximum points from a game that left both with all to play for in the scrap for Europa League qualification.


Birmingham manager Alex McLeish:

"Everton came here on fire, but St Andrews is a tough place to come.

"We had to up the tempo because we were pedestrian in the first 20 minutes, we were getting no penetration and we weren't getting the ball to the forwards.

"But once we did Cameron Jerome led the line brilliantly, that was the best I've seen him.

"And Craig Gardner's contribution was the kind we would anticipate from him.

"I still feel that we're short of strength-in-depth and experience in terms of Europe, but as we proved today we'll keep going to the end."

Everton manager David Moyes:

"At times our football was very good, but we let in a couple of sloppy goals and that was our downfall.

"Our play was good and we were in total control, but then we got sloppy and that gave Birmingham a lifeline.

"The injuries to Tim Cahill and Victor Anichebe don't look too bad."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Birmingham 2-2 Everton FT
(HT 1-2)
  • Jerome 26
  • Gardner 52
  • Anichebe 19
  • Yakubu 22

Birmingham

Substitutes

Everton

Substitutes

Ref: ProbertAtt: 24,579
BIRMINGHAM
EVERTON

Possession

  • Birmingham 54%
  • Everton 46%

Attempts on target

  • Birmingham 4
  • Everton 11

Attempts off target

  • Birmingham 3
  • Everton 2

Corners

  • Birmingham 5
  • Everton 4

Fouls

  • Birmingham 10
  • Everton 11
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:44 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
  • 90:00+3:13 Corner taken by Mikel Arteta from the right by-line, Johnny Heitinga produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
  • 90:00+2:56 Johnny Heitinga takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Dann.
  • 90:00+2:47 The ball is sent over by Steven Pienaar.
  • 90:00+0:28 Keith Fahey fouled by Steven Pienaar, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 87:53 James McFadden crosses the ball, clearance made by Phil Jagielka.
  • 83:14 Leighton Baines delivers the ball.
  • 82:09 Cameron Jerome crosses the ball, clearance made by Phil Jagielka.
  • 81:23 Close range effort by James McFadden clears the crossbar.
  • 80:33 The assistant referee signals for offside against Landon Donovan. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 79:25 Mikel Arteta sends in a cross, clearance made by Lee Bowyer.
  • 78:50 Substitution Victor Anichebe goes off and Dan Gosling comes on.
  • 76:47 The referee blows for offside. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 75:12 Substitution Tim Cahill leaves the field to be replaced by Jack Rodwell.
  • 73:53 Tim Cahill takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
  • 72:24 Steven Pienaar crosses the ball, clearance by Barry Ferguson.
  • 71:25 Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
  • 71:25 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with James McFadden coming on for Christian Benitez.
  • 71:25 Leighton Baines takes the inswinging corner,
  • 71:18 The ball is swung over by Phil Neville, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
  • 69:08 Stephen Carr gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mikel Arteta from left wing, clearance by Barry Ferguson.
  • 68:21 The ball is delivered by Leighton Baines, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
  • 68:08 Steven Pienaar fouled by Lee Bowyer, the ref awards a free kick. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.
  • 66:15 Mikel Arteta crosses the ball, save made by Joe Hart.
  • 66:15 Substitution Landon Donovan comes on in place of Ayegbeni Yakubu.
  • 66:15 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sebastian Larsson on Leighton Baines.
  • 65:39 Christian Benitez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sylvain Distin. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.
  • 63:54 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, Leighton Baines manages to make a clearance.
  • 63:43 Centre by Keith Fahey, clearance by Leighton Baines.
  • 63:20 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Tim Cahill.
  • 61:52 Booking Ayegbeni Yakubu is cautioned.
  • 61:34 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ayegbeni Yakubu on Liam Ridgewell. Lee Bowyer takes the free kick.
  • 61:13 Liam Ridgewell takes a shot. Blocked by Phil Jagielka.
  • 58:33 Clearance made by Tim Cahill.
  • 58:33 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with Sebastian Larsson coming on for Craig Gardner.
  • 58:33 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Keith Fahey from the right by-line,
  • 58:29 Craig Gardner delivers the ball, Leighton Baines gets a block in.
  • 57:00 Outswinging corner taken by Keith Fahey from the right by-line played to the near post, Tim Cahill manages to make a clearance.
  • 55:29 Free kick awarded for a foul by Tim Cahill on Barry Ferguson. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 54:34 Unfair challenge on Ayegbeni Yakubu by Roger Johnson results in a free kick. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.
  • 53:16 The assistant referee flags for offside against Victor Anichebe. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 52:39 Craig Gardner concedes a free kick for a foul on Leighton Baines. Free kick taken by Sylvain Distin.
  • 52:09 Mikel Arteta gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer. Christian Benitez takes the free kick.
  • 51:03 The assist for the goal came from Cameron Jerome.
  • 51:03 GOAL - Craig GardnerBirmingham 2 - 2 Everton Craig Gardner finds the net with a goal from just outside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Birmingham 2-2 Everton.
  • 49:32 Phil Jagielka takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
  • 48:52 Unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar by Stephen Carr results in a free kick. Johnny Heitinga takes the direct free kick.
  • 48:41 Cameron Jerome crosses the ball, save made by Tim Howard.
  • 47:46 Craig Gardner sends in a cross, Tim Howard makes a comfortable save.
  • 46:42 Steven Pienaar takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Dann.
  • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:35 The referee blows for half time.
  • 45:00+1:29 Foul by Liam Ridgewell on Victor Anichebe, free kick awarded. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Leighton Baines, save made by Joe Hart.
  • 45:00+0:44 Victor Anichebe concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Ridgewell. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
  • 44:30 The referee penalises Liam Ridgewell for handball. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
  • 42:08 Stephen Carr produces a cross, Cameron Jerome has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.
  • 41:29 A cross is delivered by Keith Fahey, clearance by Leighton Baines.
  • 39:49 Victor Anichebe is caught offside. Joe Hart takes the indirect free kick.
  • 37:38 Liam Ridgewell produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.
  • 37:34 Centre by Liam Ridgewell.
  • 36:43 Victor Anichebe challenges Liam Ridgewell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 32:41 Christian Benitez fouled by Johnny Heitinga, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Keith Fahey, Leighton Baines manages to make a clearance.
  • 31:01 Mikel Arteta takes a shot. Ayegbeni Yakubu gets a block in.
  • 30:50 Victor Anichebe takes a shot. Liam Ridgewell gets a block in.
  • 29:15 Christian Benitez takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.
  • 27:17 Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.
  • 27:17 Booking Lee Bowyer goes into the referee's book.
  • 27:12 Handball by Lee Bowyer.
  • 25:16 The assist for the goal came from Keith Fahey.
  • 25:16 GOAL - Cameron JeromeBirmingham 1 - 2 Everton Cameron Jerome gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Birmingham 1-2 Everton.
  • 21:52 The assist for the goal came from Steven Pienaar.
  • 21:52 GOAL - Ayegbeni YakubuBirmingham 0 - 2 Everton Ayegbeni Yakubu scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Birmingham 0-2 Everton.
  • 21:49 Steven Pienaar crosses the ball,
  • 19:47 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ayegbeni Yakubu on Roger Johnson. Free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
  • 18:17 Phil Neville provided the assist for the goal.
  • 18:17 GOAL - Victor AnichebeBirmingham 0 - 1 Everton A goal is scored by Victor Anichebe from the edge of the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Birmingham 0-1 Everton.
  • 16:55 A cross is delivered by Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
  • 16:33 Shot from 35 yards by Phil Neville. Tim Cahill gets a block in.
  • 16:12 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Leighton Baines, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
  • 15:58 Steven Pienaar takes a shot. Brilliant save by Joe Hart.
  • 14:31 Handball decision goes against Steven Pienaar. Roger Johnson takes the free kick.
  • 12:56 Steven Pienaar fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.
  • 12:44 The referee gives a free kick against Lee Bowyer for handball. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.
  • 11:26 Foul by Ayegbeni Yakubu on Roger Johnson, free kick awarded. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
  • 10:35 Handball by Lee Bowyer. Tim Howard restarts play with the free kick.
  • 9:50 Keith Fahey takes a outswinging corner.
  • 9:08 Tim Cahill challenges Lee Bowyer unfairly and gives away a free kick. Lee Bowyer takes the free kick.
  • 8:17 The ball is delivered by Mikel Arteta.
  • 7:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Bowyer on Steven Pienaar. Leighton Baines takes the free kick.
  • 6:24 A cross is delivered by Victor Anichebe, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
  • 5:46 Johnny Heitinga gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Christian Benitez. Barry Ferguson restarts play with the free kick.
  • 0:29 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Leighton Baines from the right by-line.
  • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 13 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 29 42 64
2 Arsenal 30 38 64
3 Man Utd 29 43 63
4 Tottenham 29 25 52
5 Man City 27 17 49
6 Liverpool 29 16 48
7 Aston Villa 27 16 46
8 Birmingham 29 -1 44
9 Everton 29 4 42
10 Fulham 28 3 38
11 Stoke 29 -5 36
12 Blackburn 29 -17 34
13 Bolton 30 -18 32
14 Sunderland 28 -8 30
15 Wigan 29 -30 28
16 West Ham 29 -12 27
17 Wolves 29 -24 27
18 Burnley 30 -32 24
19 Hull 29 -34 24
20 Portsmouth 28 -23 19

see also
Saturday's football as it happened
13 Mar 10 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
13 Mar 10 |  Football
Donovan ends Everton loan spell
14 Mar 10 |  Everton



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