Blues end drought with an own goal

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Matt Wright

BIRM­ING­HAM ended an eight-game win­less run with a de­served victory over play-off hope­fuls Brent­ford, with manager Gary Rowett hail­ing it as their most im­por­tant re­sult of the sea­son.

The hosts should have won by more but passed up chance af­ter chance to make the game safe, and the hosts’ nerves were hardly helped by a stupid late sendin­goff for Stephen Glee­son.

But to their re­lief they claimed a much-needed three points, although their win­ner came from an op­pos­ing player with James Tarkowski putting into his own net.

Brent­ford re­main just out­side the play-off places and had they nicked an equaliser late on, it would have cov­ered up a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance by them.

Rowett said: “That was the big­gest win of our sea­son – it was ab­so­lutely cru­cial for us to get some­thing from th­ese next two games.

“And to get it against a very good side in Brent­ford who as we know have done re­ally well un­der Mark War­bur­ton and it looks like they’re play­ing for him.

“They had 42 shots which was well doc­u­mented against Black­pool but we needed to get back to ba­sics, I’ve said that a cou­ple of times af­ter de­feats.

“You an­a­lyse things and maybe we’ve been a bit too open in games and too at­tack­ing in or­der to please peo­ple in that sense.

“We are what we are at the mo­ment and un­til we have time to change that and be a lit­tle more flex­i­ble in our ap­proach, we’ve got to con­tinue to do it.”

Birm­ing­ham goal­keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph missed Jota’s cor­ner 16 min­utes in, but his blushes were spared by Tarkowski head­ing wide.

The Blues then went straight up the other end and came very close when David But­ton clawed away a Clay­ton Don­ald­son header that was des­tined for the bot­tom cor­ner.

But the hosts took the lead five min­utes be­fore half-time when Paul Cad­dis’ cross was turned into his own net by Tarkowski, who was un­der pres­sure from Don­ald­son, at the near post.

But Brent­ford missed a good chance to draw level just be­fore the break when the un­marked Jonathan Dou­glas nod­ded Alex Pritchard’s cross over.

Birm­ing­ham pressed for a sec­ond af­ter restart with Cad­dis bend­ing a shot wide from the edge of the area af­ter cut­ting in­side from the right.

It re­ally should have ar­rived af­ter 64 min­utes when Don­ald­son nod­ded down Glee­son’s hang­ing cross with De­marai Gray some­how blaz­ing over from close range.

The Blues con­tin­ued to cre­ate all the chances with David Cot­ter­ill forc­ing But­ton into a fly­ing save with a won­der­ful strike be­fore Gray whipped a shot a whisker over the bar from the re­sult­ing cor­ner.

Glee­son’s red card with three min­utes left for stamp­ing on Pritchard made for a ner­vous fin­ish, which made the fi­nal whis­tle all the more sat­is­fy­ing for the home fans.

Brent­ford boss War­bur­ton said: “I thought we lacked a bit of qual­ity, we weren’t quite at our best.

“We had a lot of pos­ses­sion and a lot of en­tries into the fi­nal third but we lacked a bit of care in our fi­nal ball and in truth never re­ally tested the ‘keeper more than two or three times. For all the pos­ses­sion you have to get the end prod­uct but it’s a tough, tough league.

“The pitch was dif­fi­cult – the wind was blow­ing across the top and dry­ing it out and it was chal­leng­ing but it was the same for both teams.

“There are a lot of points still to be played for and there’s a chance on Tues­day to hope­fully cor­rect this.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

TRUE BLUES: Birm­ing­ham’s Clay­ton Don­ald­son cel­e­brates with David Cot­ter­ill af­ter James Tarkowski’s own goal

GET RID: Birm­ing­ham’s Paul Cad­dis clears from Brent­ford’s James Tarkowski

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