Premier League - Late Dann winner sees off Blackpool

Tue, 04 Jan 21:55:00 2011

Scott Dann scored a late winner as Birmingham beat Blackpool 2-1 at Bloomfield Road to move out of the Premier League relegation zone.

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Despite the hosts dominating for long periods of the match, Birmingham took the lead through Alexander Hleb midway through the first half, following an error by Stephen Crainey.

DJ Campbell continued his recent goal-rush with a second-half volley, which looked to have won Blackpool a point, but Dann popped up in the penalty box late on to win three invaluable points for Alex McLeish's side.

That goal claimed the headlines but the display of Ben Foster in the Birmingham goal was just as important in a game they scarcely deserved to profit from.

Blackpool were the stronger side throughout the first half, creating several chances, at least one of which should have been put away.

The best of the bunch came on 12 minutes when a wonderful cross by Charlie Adam found Matt Phillips at the far post, but the striker hit it straight at Foster, who did well to save with his legs. Phillips was left red-faced.

That opportunity came moments after Cameron Jerome fluffed his lines at the other end when Matt Derbyshire set up a chance up for him on a plate. Jerome’s inability to finish with his left foot left him in a crumpled heap on the floor, with the ball out of play for a throw.

But Hleb, a class above everyone on the pitch but Blackpool skipper Adam, started to flex his muscles.

The Belarusian signalled a warning when he weaved some space on the edge of the box, before unleashing a left-footed drive just wide of Richard Kingson’s right post.

Five minutes later, Hleb was on the score-sheet. It came courtesy of a terrible mistake on the edge of the box by Blackpool left-back Crainey, who passed it straight to Hleb. The former Arsenal man could not miss.

The goal took the wind out of Blackpool’s sails for the rest of the first half, but Phillips still found time to miss two more chances, the best of which was a free header from Crainey’s cross, which he put over the bar.

Jerome fired a warning to Blackpool on the stroke of half-time, forcing Kingson into a point blank save.

Blackpool came out for the second half with a point to prove and, although Jerome should have doubled Birmingham’s lead with a glaring miss from six yards, Blackpool deservedly squared the game on 68 minutes.

A lovely cross by Neil Eardley, a constant threat down the right, found Gary Taylor-Fletcher at the back post, who nodded it into Campbell's path to volley home from 12 yards.

Blackpool were in the ascendancy and, at this point, only the home side looked like claiming the points, and it took a world class save from Foster to deny the excellent Adam Blackpool’s second.

The former Manchester United keeper threw himself to his right, denying Adam a sure goal, with the ball on its way into the far top corner.

Birmingham weathered that storm and, just as the game looked to be heading for a draw, the visitors made sure it had a sting in its tail.

Substitute Jean Beausejourfloated a ball to the back post, which was nodded into the path of Dann, who remained in the box from the corner moments earlier, to tap-in from close range.

Both sides had penalty claims turned down late on but it was ultimately a brilliant display by Foster which gave Birmingham breathing space in their battle to avoid the drop.

Michael Da Silva / Eurosport

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