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19 August 2014

Berra strikes twice to give Town a dramatic point

Christophe Berra scored twice at St Andrew’s, the second in the last minute to give Blues a dramatic point .

The Scotland international headed home from Paul Anderson’s free-kick early in the second-half after David Edgar had put the home side in front. 

Clayton Donaldson looked to have won it for Birmingham with a cool finish but Berra threw himself at Anderson’s cross in the final minute to give Town a share of the spoils.

Conor Sammon came in for his first start for Town since arriving on a season long loan from Derby in one of two changes to the team that went down at Reading at the weekend. David McGoldrick dropped to the bench, with Paul Anderson replacing Elliott Hewitt on the right of midfield.

Darren Randolph, who was outstanding when the two clubs met at St Andrew’s last season was soon in action, gathering from Daryl Murphy’s stabbed effort at goal after Jay Tabb’s initial effort had been blocked. 

Anderson showed a turn of pace to get away from the Birmingham defence, his cross was partially cleared by Edgar but the wideman was quickest to the loose ball but couldn’t keep his shot down.

Lee Novak fired over after Dean Gerken appeared to be pushed as he challenged for a free-kick, the same player then heading at the Town ‘keeper from 10 yards out. 

At the other end Luke Hyam’s effort spun up off a defender but Murphy couldn’t make decent contact on the ball as he swung his left foot.

Donaldson twice threatened to break the deadlock, hooking the ball over from David Cotterill’s cross, then going wide with another effort before Edgar found the net on the half hour mark, the defender left alone to head in from Cotterill’s corner. 

Wesley Thomas fizzed an effort past Gerken’s post, Edgar then cleared the danger as Sammon got on the end of Anderson’s cross at the near post, with Cotterill sending in a dangerous free-kick in the last action of the first-half. 

Town were level five minutes after the restart though. Tabb won a free-kick and from Anderson’s delivery, Berra flicked the ball in from close range.

Murphy had a header deflected wide as Town threatened again, then Randolph was forced into a save at full stretch from Anderson. 

Murphy headed over from a corner as Blues looked the more likely to strike, with McGoldrick replacing Sammon in Town’s first change on the hour. 

It was Brum who nudged in front though, Donaldson galloping clear from Thomas’ pass and sliding the ball past Gerken on 63 minutes. 

Luke Chambers headed over from a corner as Town responded, McGoldrick volleying just wide from distance.

Birmingham were close to a third though, Novak finding space on the left and from his cross Donaldson scuffed his shot wide from 12 yards. 

Grant Hall headed over from yet another Cotterill cross, then a stirring run from Tyrone Mings saw the full-back evade two challenges but his cross was cleared by Hall. 

Blues made a double change for the last 10 minutes, Balint Bajner on for Murphy and Alex Henshall on for his League debut, replacing Tabb. 

Paul Caddis claimed a penalty when he went down under a challenge but referee Roger East waved away the appeals. 

Chambers’ goalbound header hit Jonathan Grounds from Henshall’s excellent delivery as Town pressed for an equaliser, Henshall volleying the resultant corner over. 

Paul Robinson, who had only been on the pitch 30 seconds, picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Bajner but Town couldn’t make the free-kick pay and it looked as though Blues would leave empty-handed until Berra’s head found the net right at the death, his third goal in two games at St Andrew’s, to give Town a point.   

Birmingham: Randolph, Spector, Hall, Edgar, Grounds, Cotterill (Robinson 86), Davis (Gleeson 59), Caddis, Novak, Donaldson, Thomas.  Subs not used: Doyle, Duffy, Johnstone, Brown, Gray. Booked: Robinson.

Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Mings, Anderson, Skuse, Hyam, Tabb (Henshall 80), Murphy (Bajner 80), Sammon (McGoldrick 60). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Parr, Bru, Hewitt. 
Att: 14,022 (790 Town fans)



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