Championship
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Birmingham City 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

Glenn Murray
Glenn Murray has now scored eight goals in his last eight Championship matches for Brighton

Gianfranco Zola's first match in charge of Birmingham City ended in defeat after Brighton & Hove Albion came from behind to close the gap on Championship leaders Newcastle United to one point.

Zola, appointed on Wednesday after the sacking of Gary Rowett, had looked destined for a winning start when Lukas Jutkiewicz headed Birmingham in front.

But Anthony Knockaert volleyed home to make it 1-1 with eight minutes left.

And Glenn Murray's header completed the comeback deep into stoppage time.

The 33-year-old forward met Knockaert's pinpoint corner to head beyond Tomasz Kuszczak for his 14th goal of the season and help the second-placed Seagulls open an eight-point gap on Reading in third.

It seemed harsh on Birmingham, who had largely shaded a contest often low on quality and action in either final third, but one which turned dramatically after Knockaert levelled in the final 10 minutes.

Zola's tenure almost got off to the perfect start when Maikel Kieftenbeld struck the post inside the opening 40 seconds at St Andrew's.

And, after Jutkiewicz's superb, looping header had put Blues in front after half-time, the former Burnley forward nearly made it 2-0 when his sharp turn and shot was only kept out by a smart save from David Stockdale.

But the visitors soon took control once Knockaert had expertly equalised from inside the area - and the pressure eventually culminated in Murray's header in to the bottom corner from their final attack.

Birmingham remain eighth in the Championship table, three points off Sheffield Wednesday in sixth.

Birmingham City manager Gianfranco Zola told BBC WM:

"In the last few minutes we lost a bit of physical presence. It's cruel. The players didn't deserve that. But this is football, you have to accept the way it is.

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Zola says players unlucky in defeat

"They never threatened us in open play, which is down to the hard work of the players.

"I knew it was going to be tough and the players performed in a fantastic way."

Brighton manager Chris Hughton:

"Credit to my players. Sometimes when you are winning 1-0 and the opposition come back to 1-1 you see the game out. But there was real momentum on the part of my players to get the winner.

"It was a really tough game. I thought Birmingham were good in periods but we were not at our best as it was a game of minimal chances.

"We have quality and a great spirit in the team and we continually tell what it takes to win away from home.

Line-ups

Birmingham

  • 29Kuszczak
  • 23SpectorSubstituted forRobinsonat 90+2'minutes
  • 28Morrison
  • 5Shotton
  • 3GroundsBooked at 14mins
  • 6Kieftenbeld
  • 8GleesonSubstituted forTescheat 80'minutes
  • 26Davis
  • 20StewartSubstituted forCogleyat 73'minutes
  • 15Jutkiewicz
  • 11Cotterill

Substitutes

  • 1Legzdins
  • 4Robinson
  • 7Tesche
  • 14Adams
  • 17Solomon-Otabor
  • 19Maghoma
  • 25Cogley

Brighton

  • 13Stockdale
  • 2Saltor Grau
  • 22Duffy
  • 5Dunk
  • 3Bong
  • 11Knockaert
  • 6Stephens
  • 14SidwellSubstituted forNorwoodat 63'minutes
  • 8SkalakSubstituted forMarchat 63'minutes
  • 17Murray
  • 9BaldockSubstituted forHemedat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Hemed
  • 12Pocognoli
  • 16Ankergren
  • 18Goldson
  • 20March
  • 21Norwood
  • 29Towell
Referee:
Andy Madley
Attendance:
17,287

Match Stats

Home TeamBirminghamAway TeamBrighton
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home12
Away14
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home1
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Birmingham City 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Birmingham City 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 2.

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 2. Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Paul Robinson replaces Jonathan Spector.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jonathan Spector.

Attempt blocked. Tomer Hemed (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by David Stockdale.

Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

Hand ball by Robert Tesche (Birmingham City).

Foul by Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion).

David Davis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Tomer Hemed (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dale Stephens.

Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

Foul by Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Robert Tesche (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 1. Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Solly March with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Robert Tesche replaces Stephen Gleeson.

Attempt missed. Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Michael Morrison.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by David Stockdale.

Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Josh Cogley replaces Greg Stewart.

Foul by Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Ryan Shotton (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Tomer Hemed replaces Sam Baldock.

Attempt missed. Oliver Norwood (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Solly March.

Attempt blocked. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Dunk.

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Lewis Dunk tries a through ball, but Glenn Murray is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Solly March with a cross.

Foul by Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds with a cross.

Attempt blocked. David Davis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Greg Stewart.

Foul by Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Oliver Norwood replaces Steve Sidwell.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Newcastle22161545172849
2Brighton22146235142148
3Reading2212463029140
4Huddersfield2212372626039
5Leeds2212282622438
6Sheff Wed2211472623337
7Derby2210662315836
8Birmingham229762729-234
9Fulham2289538281033
10Norwich2210393734333
11Preston229583027332
12Barnsley229493835331
13Aston Villa2161052221128
14Brentford2284102728-128
15Ipswich227782224-228
16Bristol City2283112827127
17Nottm Forest2275103539-426
18Wolves226792830-225
19QPR2165102030-1023
20Cardiff2265112436-1223
21Burton2257102330-722
22Blackburn2255122737-1020
23Wigan2246121827-918
24Rotherham2224162148-2710
View full Championship table

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