Birmingham 0-2 Fulham
Birmingham 0 - 2 Fulham
Birmingham remain deep in relegation trouble after losing their final Premier League home game of the season 2-0 to Fulham.
The Blues started nervously with keeper Ben Foster almost beaten by a long kick from opposite number Mark Schwarzer.
Foster clawed the ball away but from the resulting corner Brede Hangeland powered in a downward header.
And the defender volleyed in a second after the break as Fulham recorded just their third away win of the season.
The result leaves Birmingham, who have won only two of their last 11 league games since their League Cup triumph in February, level on points with Blackpool and Wigan but out of the relegation zone on goal difference, by just one goal.
The Blues go to Tottenham on the last day of the season knowing a win will be enough to keep them up if Blackpool fail to win at Premier League champions Manchester United or Wigan do likewise at Stoke.
Boss Alex McLeish would have hoped to guarantee survival in their final home game of the season against a Fulham side that had won just twice on their travels this season before Sunday.
But Birmingham looked nervous in the opening exchanges and their boisterous support was almost immediately quietened when Schwarzer's booming kick downfield bounced over Foster and was heading goalwards before the Blues keeper, who this week made himself unavailable for England duty, managed to scramble the ball away for a corner.
The home fans' relief was short-lived, though, as Jonathan Greening's centre from the resultant set-piece picked out Hangeland who powered into the six-yard box and headed into the net.
The visitors looked more likely to add to their lead with Greening, who was a constant menace in the first half, switching wings and delivering a succession of teasing crosses.
He first picked out Andrew Johnson but the striker guided his header inches wide, while Bobby Zamora's glancing header from a Greening free-kick grazed the post.
The Blues fans' cheers were turning to jeers of frustration as their side struggled to retain possession - their only brief moment of hope came when Martin Jiranek improvised well to chest Stuart Parnaby's cross goalwards, but his effort clipped the wrong side of the post.
Renewed cheers greeted Birmingham after the interval but once again the crowd was silenced by a quite astonishing Fulham onslaught.
It was almost like watching the Match of the Day highlights as first Zamora headed straight at Foster from close range and then moments later chipped an attempted lob straight at the keeper.
The striker, by that stage limping after appearing to sustain an injury, was replaced soon afterwards.
Within a minute of Zamora's miss Steve Sidwell's first-time shot from 16 yards rattled the post.
The goal that Fulham's pressure deserved duly followed, just four minutes into the half, Hangeland volleying in after the home defence failed to clear another Greening corner.
Foster kept the score down and Birmingham out of the relegation zone with a string of saves, denying Sidwell, Clint Dempsey and Johnson.
Had Birmingham conceded another goal, they would have dropped into the bottom three on goals scored - the Blues have notched just 36 this season, compared to Blackpool's 53 - adding extra importance to Foster's efforts which could prove crucial in seven days' time.
- 26 Foster
- 02 Carr
- 05 Johnson
- 21 Parnaby (Beausejour - 56' )
- 28 Jiranek (Davies - 67' )
- 04 Bowyer (Hleb - 50' )
- 07 Larsson
- 11 Bentley
- 12 Ferguson
- 09 K Phillips
- 14 Derbyshire
- 13 Doyle
- 32 Davies
- 18 Fahey
- 22 Hleb
- 23 Beausejour
- 25 Mutch
- 30 Asante
- 01 Schwarzer
- 03 Salcido Booked
- 05 Hangeland
- 14 Senderos
- 18 Hughes
- 07 Sidwell
- 13 Murphy Booked (Etuhu - 71' )
- 23 Dempsey Booked (Gera - 89' )
- 27 Greening
- 08 Johnson Booked
- 25 Zamora (Gudjohnsen - 50' Booked )
- 12 Stockdale
- 02 Kelly
- 28 Briggs
- 11 Gera
- 20 Etuhu
- 22 Gudjohnsen
- 24 Kakuta
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +1:14
The assistant referee flags for offside against Kevin Phillips. Mark Schwarzer takes the indirect free kick.88:21 Substitution
Substitution Clint Dempsey leaves the field to be replaced by Zoltan Gera.88:02
Roger Johnson takes the free kick.88:02 Booking
Booking Caution for Clint Dempsey.87:46
Unfair challenge on Jean Beausejour by Clint Dempsey results in a free kick.85:20
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Carr by Eidur Gudjohnsen. Barry Ferguson takes the direct free kick.84:43
Unfair challenge on Jean Beausejour by Andrew Johnson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.84:13
Foul by Kevin Phillips on Clint Dempsey, free kick awarded. Aaron Hughes takes the free kick.83:31
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonathan Greening on David Bentley. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from right wing, clearance made by Mark Schwarzer.80:54
The ball is delivered by Jonathan Greening, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.77:10
Direct free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.77:10 Booking
Booking The referee shows Eidur Gudjohnsen a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.77:00
Eidur Gudjohnsen concedes a free kick for a foul on Alexander Hleb.76:43
Steve Sidwell challenges Alexander Hleb unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Ferguson takes the free kick.76:02
Stephen Carr sends in a cross.75:17
The ball is crossed by David Bentley.74:02
The ball is sent over by Jean Beausejour.71:40
Matt Derbyshire is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Mark Schwarzer takes the free kick.70:53 Substitution
Substitution Dickson Etuhu comes on in place of Danny Murphy.
The offside flag is raised against Kevin Phillips. Mark Schwarzer takes the indirect free kick.67:36
A cross is delivered by Jean Beausejour, save by Mark Schwarzer.67:28
The ball is swung over by David Bentley, clearance made by Philippe Senderos.66:57
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Curtis Davies by Eidur Gudjohnsen. Direct free kick taken by Sebastian Larsson.66:30 Substitution
Substitution Martin Jiranek leaves the field to be replaced by Curtis Davies.66:24 Booking
Booking Danny Murphy is shown a yellow card.66:18
David Bentley produces a right-footed shot from long range which goes wide right of the goal.65:56
David Bentley fouled by Danny Murphy, the ref awards a free kick. David Bentley takes the free kick.65:04
David Bentley takes a shot. Blocked by Danny Murphy. David Bentley takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Eidur Gudjohnsen.64:41
Aaron Hughes delivers the ball, Ben Foster makes a save.63:33
Unfair challenge on Mark Schwarzer by Matt Derbyshire results in a free kick. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.62:55
Sebastian Larsson takes a outswinging corner.62:13 Booking
Booking Carlos Salcido is shown a yellow card for time wasting.61:49
Matt Derbyshire produces a cross.60:25
Long range shot from Jean Beausejour misses to the left of the target.60:20
Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball, Steve Sidwell manages to make a clearance.59:11 Booking
Booking Caution for Andrew Johnson.58:35
Foul by Danny Murphy on Alexander Hleb, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ben Foster.57:31
Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.56:19
Foul by Roger Johnson on Andrew Johnson, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Danny Murphy, David Bentley makes a clearance.55:20 Substitution
Substitution Jean Beausejour on for Stuart Parnaby.52:39
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jonathan Greening, save by Ben Foster.52:34
The ball is crossed by Jonathan Greening, Stephen Carr gets a block in.51:51
Steve Sidwell produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.50:49
Eidur Gudjohnsen takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.49:35 Substitution
Substitution Alexander Hleb comes on in place of Lee Bowyer.49:13 Substitution
Substitution Bobby Zamora leaves the field to be replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen.48:10 Goal scored
Goal! - Brede Hangeland - Birmingham 0 - 2 Fulham Brede Hangeland grabs a goal from inside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Birmingham 0-2 Fulham.47:44
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Jonathan Greening.47:25
Steve Sidwell produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the area and strikes the post.47:07
Bobby Zamora takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.46:27
Bobby Zamora takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +1:30 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +1:19
The ball is crossed by Stuart Parnaby, Mark Schwarzer makes a brilliant save.45:00 +1:04
A cross is delivered by Stephen Carr, clearance made by Philippe Senderos.45:00 +0:10
Steve Sidwell challenges Matt Derbyshire unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.44:19
The ball is swung over by Aaron Hughes, clearance by Roger Johnson.41:51
Barry Ferguson delivers the ball, Clint Dempsey manages to make a clearance.40:24
The ball is delivered by Sebastian Larsson, Kevin Phillips takes a shot. Philippe Senderos gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, clearance made by Bobby Zamora. Corner taken by Lee Bowyer from the right by-line.38:49
Unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson by Steve Sidwell results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.38:11
The ball is crossed by Andrew Johnson, Barry Ferguson makes a clearance.37:05
The referee blows for offside. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.34:19
Matt Derbyshire is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Brede Hangeland.33:02
The ball is delivered by Stuart Parnaby, Martin Jiranek takes a shot from a just insdie the box and strikes the post.32:53
Centre by Stephen Carr, clearance made by Philippe Senderos.32:32
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the right by-line, clearance made by Jonathan Greening.31:40
David Bentley fouled by Jonathan Greening, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, Bobby Zamora manages to make a clearance.30:58
Outswinging corner taken by Jonathan Greening, clearance by Roger Johnson.30:45
Jonathan Greening takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.29:06
Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Bowyer on Andrew Johnson. Jonathan Greening sends in a cross, Bobby Zamora produces a header from deep inside the area and hits the post.25:02
Lee Bowyer fouled by Clint Dempsey, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from left wing, save made by Mark Schwarzer.22:37
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matt Derbyshire by Brede Hangeland. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from right wing.21:50
The ball is delivered by Aaron Hughes, save by Ben Foster.21:44
Bobby Zamora crosses the ball, Stuart Parnaby makes a clearance.20:47
Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball, Mark Schwarzer makes a comfortable save.19:45
The referee penalises Bobby Zamora for handball. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from right wing.19:42
Stephen Carr delivers the ball.19:10
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Carlos Salcido. Stephen Carr restarts play with the free kick.17:19
Steve Sidwell takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.15:59
The ball is sent over by Jonathan Greening, Headed effort from inside the penalty area by Clint Dempsey misses to the right of the target.15:18
Danny Murphy fouled by Lee Bowyer, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.12:28
Andrew Johnson takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.12:06
David Bentley takes a shot. Comfortable save by Mark Schwarzer.11:46
The ball is delivered by Sebastian Larsson.11:08
The ball is sent over by Jonathan Greening, Header from close range by Andrew Johnson misses to the right of the goal.9:46
David Bentley produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.8:41
Clint Dempsey has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.8:20
Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Blocked by Martin Jiranek.6:32
Foul by Matt Derbyshire on Brede Hangeland, free kick awarded. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.4:16
The assist for the goal came from Jonathan Greening. Danny Murphy delivers a pass corner to short, Sebastian Larsson makes a clearance.4:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Brede Hangeland - Birmingham 0 - 1 Fulham Brede Hangeland scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Birmingham 0-1 Fulham.3:54
Corner taken right-footed by Jonathan Greening from the left by-line to the near post,1:18
Close range effort by Clint Dempsey clears the crossbar.0:46
Barry Ferguson challenges Jonathan Greening unfairly and gives away a free kick. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.0:10
Danny Murphy takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.0:00
The match begins.
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