Town off to winning start under Mick after first-half Campbell strike sees Blues take all three points
Town got off to a winning start under new boss Mick McCarthy, winning away at Birmingham thanks to DJ Campbell’s solitary strike.
Blues looked good value for the win, despite some extended defending late on, and the 1-0 scoreline ensured Town recorded a first winning in 13 matches.
McCarthy made two changes as he named his first starting line-up, with midfield duo Guirane N’Daw and Nigel Reo-Coker coming in for Luke Hyam and Josh Carson.
The new boss was looking for an immediate response from his players and he got just that as Blues went ahead after just eight minutes. Lee Martin picked up a loose ball in the middle of the pitch and fired towards goal, but the loose ball fell into the path of Campbell, who spun away from his marker before firing into the top corner of the net.
The hosts did force Stephen Henderson into his first save of the afternoon after 20 minutes though, defender Curtis Davies trying his luck from distance with a dipping drive that the Town stopper had to get down low to, to push away from danger.
Town were playing at a high tempo and Richie Wellens showed good tenacity to rob Nathan Redmond of the ball, before playing inside to Daryl Murphy who fired low towards the bottom corner from outside the area that Jack Butland stopped well, with 25 minutes played.
On the half-hour mark Marlon King threatened the Town goal with a well struck free-kick that Henderson did well to push over the top for a corner.
Danny Higginbotham then went close for Town, seeing his left-footed volley deflected over for a corner, before Lee Martin was then denied by a great save by Butland, diving away to his right to push the ball away from the goal.
The hosts did go close to drawing level ten minutes before the break though, as David Murphy looped a header over Henderson but his effort was just off target.
That was the way it stayed as referee Stuart Attwell blew for half-time, with Town well worthy of their half-time lead.
Blues nearly doubled the advantage just before the hour mark, but Butland made a superb reaction save to keep out Higginbotham’s downward header from Carlos Edwards’ cross, with the rebound not quite falling into the path of Campbell.
Three minutes later and Wade Elliott had a great chance to level the scores, but he sliced his volley from the edge of the area well wide of the target.
Nikola Zigic, who replaced Leroy Lita as a substitute, then had a great chance to equalise after being picked out by fellow sub Chris Burke, but the big striker headed wide of Henderson’s goal when unmarked in the area.
A neat one-two involving Marlon King and Zigic saw the Serbian striker clean through on goal with 18 minutes remaining, but Henderson pulled off a fantastic save with his feet to deny the substitute and ensure Town remained in front.
Ravel Morrison, who is on loan at St Andrew’s from West Ham, showed neat footwork to escape the challenges of a couple of Town players before chipping the ball over Henderson but, thankfully for Town, also over the crossbar with seven minutes remaining.
The hosts almost snatched an equaliser in injury but defender Davies fired over from six yards out and Town held out for a superb away win.
Birmingham: Butland, Robinson, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Redmond (Burke 46), Morrison, Mullins, Elliott (Lovenkrands 83), Lita (Zigic 60), King. Subs not used: Doyle, Ambrose, Packwood, Bouba Diop.
Town: Henderson, Edwards, Chambers, Higginbotham, Cresswell, Wellens (Mohsni 80), N'Daw (Drury 90), Reo-Coker, Martin, Murphy, Campbell (Emmanuel-Thomas 90). Subs not used: Loach, Smith, Scotland, Chopra.
Att: 18,063 (1,054 Town fans)