Blues clinch Clarets clash

Tue, 03 Apr 22:07:54 2012

Birmingham overcame a second-half Burnley fightback to steal a march on their npower Championship play-off rivals with a 3-1 victory.

Marlon King fired his 16th of the season to give Blues an early lead in a first-half of few chances. The home side were sparked into life by the introduction of Junior Stanislas before the hour and forward duo Danny Ings and Charlie Austin both hit the crossbar before the former levelled.

Chris Hughton's men responded instantly and Jordon Mutch netted his first goal for the club with 15 minutes to play, leaving full-back David Murphy to apply gloss to the scoreline when Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant dropped Mutch's cross.

Birmingham are now three points clear of seventh-placed Middlesbrough, who are outside the top six on goal difference, having won their game in hand on the clutch of teams on 63 points.

The visitors took an 11th minute lead, Nikola Zigic easily winning a flick-on from Murphy's throw-in with King allowed ample room in the box to fire goalwards. Burnley defender David Edgar might soon have brought his side level when he was afforded a free-header from Kieran Trippier's inswinging corner.

Dean Marney hobbled out of the action following a challenge with Zigic and the introduction of Stanislas along with a switch to an attacking 4-4-2 revitalised Burnley.

The former West Ham winger was involved as the Clarets came close to a spectacular equaliser in the 66th minute, springing the offside trap to bring Boaz Myhill from his area to clear. With the goal unguarded, Austin launched a speculative effort from distant that Blues centre-back Curtis Davies headed behind.

They came closer still and Stanislas was involved once more, storming into the right-hand side of the area for Ings to thump his cutback against the bar and Austin to nod the rebound back onto the woodwork.

The writing was on the wall when the equaliser arrived in the 74th minute. Stanislas popped up on the left this time to tee-up Ross Wallace and his inviting cross was powered home by the unmarked Ings. Birmingham immediately sprung from their slumber and, after Zigic drilled narrowly wide, they were back in front.

King outmuscled Edgar in typical fashion before racing into the box and picking out Mutch, who applied the finish. Blues then sealed the points when Murphy capitalised on Grant's 88th blunder from close range, before Ings blazed over when given the opportunity to set up an exciting finish.

 

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