Birmingham strengthened their grip on a play-off place in the Championship with victory over Crystal Palace.

Three first-half goals set the Blues on their way to a third straight victory.

Chris Burke twisted neatly in the area to curl home the first left-footed, before Fahey smashed a second into the top corner on his return to the Birmingham starting line-up.

David Murphy added the third with a fierce shot before Owen Garvan reduced the arrears with a long-range strike.

Birmingham showed no signs of fatigue despite playing for the 55th time this season, and their early control paid dividends when Burke fired them into the lead.

The midfielder turned on the edge of the area, gaining himself a yard of space, and his left-footed effort was too good for Julian Speroni.

Within a minute the Blues doubled their advantage as Burke laid the ball into the path of Fahey and he fired a superb shot into the top left-hand corner.

Murphy then picked up Burke's pass, drove into the penalty area and shot beyond Speroni, but Palace finally found their feet and Garvan drilled a sensational effort past Blues keeper Boaz Myhill just before the break to offer the visitors some hope.

The Eagles came out after the interval intent on putting themselves back into the game and O'Keefe's powerful effort was parried by Myhill, but goalmouth action was at a premium in the second half.

Hughton and his players will be more than happy though as they remain fourth in the table, six points above seventh placed Brighton.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Birmingham

  • 01 Myhill
  • 03 Murphy
  • 04 Caldwell
  • 06 Ramage
  • 24 Davies
  • 07 Burke
  • 11 Townsend
  • 12 Mutch
  • 18 Fahey (N'daw - 83' Booked )
  • 09 King (Rooney - 88' )
  • 19 Zigic (Huseklepp - 46' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Doyle
  • 08 N'daw
  • 10 Huseklepp
  • 22 Redmond
  • 17 Rooney

Crystal Palace

  • 01 Speroni
  • 02 Clyne
  • 05 McCarthy Booked
  • 21 Moxey Booked
  • 04 Parr
  • 07 Ambrose (C Martin - 76' )
  • 08 Dikgacoi
  • 10 Garvan
  • 28 O'Keefe (Murray - 81' )
  • 16 Zaha
  • 19 Easter (Scannell - 66' )

Substitutes

  • 34 Price
  • 42 Inniss
  • 11 Scannell
  • 17 Murray
  • 35 C Martin
Ref: Geoff Eltrigham
Att: 21,932

Match Stats

Shots

17 5

On target

12 3

Corners

5 3

Fouls

8 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:30

Adam Rooney concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Parr.

90:00 +4:12

Erik Huseklepp takes a shot. Save by Julian Speroni.

90:00 +3:32 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +2:36

Shot by Chris Burke from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.

90:00 +1:53

Chris Martin delivers the ball, Steven Caldwell manages to make a clearance.

89:33

Free kick awarded for a foul by Sean Scannell on David Murphy. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.

88:58

The offside flag is raised against Adam Rooney. Dean Moxey takes the indirect free kick.

88:17

Direct free kick taken by Dean Moxey.

88:17 Booking

Booking Guirane N'Daw is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

88:13

Guirane N'Daw concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Martin.

86:57

Steven Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.

86:57 Substitution

Substitution Marlon King leaves the field to be replaced by Adam Rooney.

86:57

Chris Martin concedes a free kick for a foul on Jordon Mutch.

86:44

Free kick awarded for a foul by Andros Townsend on Nathaniel Clyne. Free kick taken by Julian Speroni.

85:05

The referee blows for offside against Kagisho Dikgacoi. Free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

83:47

The offside flag is raised against Wilfried Zaha. Indirect free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

82:52 Substitution

Substitution Keith Fahey goes off and Guirane N'Daw comes on.

79:43

Chris Burke takes the free kick.

79:43 Substitution

Substitution Stuart O'Keefe goes off and Glenn Murray comes on.

79:43

Patrick McCarthy is adjudged to have handled the ball.

75:03 Substitution

Substitution Chris Martin joins the action as a substitute, replacing Darren Ambrose.

73:52

Wilfried Zaha gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Peter Ramage. Chris Burke restarts play with the free kick.

72:29

Wilfried Zaha is caught offside. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.

71:14

Andros Townsend shoots direct from the free kick, save made by Julian Speroni.

71:14 Booking

Booking Booking for Dean Moxey.

70:20

Dean Moxey concedes a free kick for a foul on Erik Huseklepp.

69:17

The ball is delivered by David Murphy, Stuart O'Keefe makes a clearance.

67:34

Marlon King is caught offside. Free kick taken by Dean Moxey.

66:38

Jonathan Parr produces a cross, Effort from deep inside the area by Darren Ambrose clears the bar.

66:16

The ball is swung over by Chris Burke, Julian Speroni makes a comfortable save.

65:03

Free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

65:03 Substitution

Substitution Sean Scannell comes on in place of Jermaine Easter.

65:03

Jermaine Easter is caught offside.

64:04

Corner taken by Andros Townsend from the right by-line.

62:50

Kagisho Dikgacoi concedes a free kick for a foul on Andros Townsend. Jordon Mutch fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save by Julian Speroni. Short corner taken by Andros Townsend.

60:00

The ball is sent over by Peter Ramage, clearance by Kagisho Dikgacoi.

59:28

David Murphy produces a cross, Patrick McCarthy makes a clearance.

57:37

Andros Townsend takes a corner.

57:27

Andros Townsend crosses the ball, clearance by Patrick McCarthy.

55:00

The ball is crossed by Peter Ramage.

51:48

Unfair challenge on Nathaniel Clyne by Marlon King results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jonathan Parr.

50:43

Keith Fahey takes a shot. Blocked by Dean Moxey.

50:19

Steven Caldwell fouled by Jermaine Easter, the ref awards a free kick. Boaz Myhill takes the direct free kick.

49:55

Stuart O'Keefe produces a drilled right-footed shot from 35+ yards. Save by Boaz Myhill.

47:26

Jordon Mutch takes the direct free kick.

47:26 Booking

Booking Patrick McCarthy goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

47:17

Patrick McCarthy challenges Erik Huseklepp unfairly and gives away a free kick.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Erik Huseklepp on for Nikola Zigic.

45:00 +2:47 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +2:01

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne on Andros Townsend, free kick awarded. Jordon Mutch takes the direct free kick. Andros Townsend takes a shot from long distance which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

45:00 +1:44

Peter Ramage takes a shot. Blocked by Patrick McCarthy.

44:21 Goal scored

Goal! - Owen Garvan - Birmingham 3 - 1 C Palace Owen Garvan scores a fantastic goal. Birmingham 3-1 Crystal Palace.

43:20

The ball is swung over by Wilfried Zaha.

41:16

Foul by Nikola Zigic on Kagisho Dikgacoi, free kick awarded. Patrick McCarthy takes the direct free kick.

40:44

The referee blows for offside against Owen Garvan. Boaz Myhill takes the indirect free kick.

39:06

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Andros Townsend, clearance by Nathaniel Clyne.

38:50

Andros Townsend takes a shot. Blocked by Darren Ambrose.

37:49

Chris Burke delivers the ball.

37:22

Foul by Stuart O'Keefe on Marlon King, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jordon Mutch.

36:56

Darren Ambrose delivers the ball, Peter Ramage makes a clearance.

36:31

Kagisho Dikgacoi fouled by Nikola Zigic, the ref awards a free kick. Jonathan Parr takes the direct free kick.

34:40

The assistant referee flags for offside against Jermaine Easter. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.

34:18

Darren Ambrose takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.

33:51

Centre by Wilfried Zaha, Steven Caldwell makes a clearance. Short corner worked by Darren Ambrose.

32:58

A cross is delivered by Jonathan Parr, clearance by Steven Caldwell.

32:27

Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Caldwell on Jermaine Easter. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Darren Ambrose, clearance by Peter Ramage.

31:21

Assist by Andros Townsend.

31:21 Goal scored

Goal! - David Murphy - Birmingham 3 - 0 C Palace Goal scored by David Murphy from just inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Birmingham 3-0 Crystal Palace.

30:01

The ball is crossed by Chris Burke, clearance made by Patrick McCarthy. Inswinging corner taken by Jordon Mutch from the left by-line.

28:58

Steven Caldwell fouled by Kagisho Dikgacoi, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.

28:27

Shot from long distance by Jordon Mutch misses to the right of the target.

26:48

Centre by Chris Burke, Dean Moxey makes a clearance.

25:33

Darren Ambrose takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Nikola Zigic.

22:39

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jermaine Easter on Steven Caldwell. Free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

21:54

Assist by Chris Burke.

21:54 Goal scored

Goal! - Keith Fahey - Birmingham 2 - 0 C Palace Keith Fahey scores a goal from outside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Birmingham 2-0 Crystal Palace.

21:24

Stuart O'Keefe fouled by Jordon Mutch, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Patrick McCarthy.

20:28 Goal scored

Goal! - Chris Burke - Birmingham 1 - 0 C Palace Chris Burke grabs a goal from the edge of the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Birmingham 1-0 Crystal Palace.

19:57

Jonathan Parr produces a cross, comfortable save by Boaz Myhill.

19:15

Centre by Jonathan Parr, clearance made by Steven Caldwell. Corner taken right-footed by Darren Ambrose from the left by-line to the near post, Keith Fahey makes a clearance.

17:51

Effort from outside the penalty area by Jordon Mutch goes wide left of the goal.

17:04

Effort from outside the box by Stuart O'Keefe goes wide right of the target.

16:24

Jordon Mutch takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save.

16:09

A cross is delivered by Marlon King, clearance made by Patrick McCarthy.

14:48

Darren Ambrose crosses the ball.

12:35

Wilfried Zaha sends in a cross, save by Boaz Myhill.

11:24

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Caldwell by Jermaine Easter. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

11:00

Chris Burke takes a shot. Save by Julian Speroni.

10:30

David Murphy crosses the ball, Patrick McCarthy makes a clearance.

9:00

Andros Townsend takes a shot. Patrick McCarthy gets a block in.

2:22

Effort on goal by Chris Burke from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.

0:37

A cross is delivered by Andros Townsend.

0:00

The game begins.

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