Birmingham 1 Cardiff 1: Hudson makes his Mark as Bluebirds rescue point
13:26 GMT, 25 March 2012
Birmingham moved into the npower Championship play-off places despite being held to a 1-1 draw by promotion rivals Cardiff at St Andrew's.
The hosts, who were poor in the first half, took the lead through Erik Huseklepp's second goal for the club – a neat close-range finish – shortly after Marlon King had seen a penalty saved by David Marshall.
Making his Mark: Hudson celebrates after drawing Cardiff level
But Cardiff levelled with a goal
from nothing as Mark Hudson fired in a cross from Peter Whittingham and
Blues could not find a winner.
Birmingham boss Chris Hughton made
four changes to his line-up, with Jordon Mutch, Wade Elliott, Huseklepp
and Pablo Ibanez coming in.
The visitors named an unchanged side following their 2-2 draw at home to Coventry in midweek.
Birmingham: Myhill, Ibanez (Gomis 72), Caldwell, Davies, Ramage, Burke, N'Daw, Mutch, Elliott, King, Huseklepp (Townsend 69). Subs Not Used: Doyle ,Zigic, Redmond. Goals: Huseklepp 68.
Marshall, McNaughton, Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Whittingham, McPhail
(Miller 84), Gunnarsson, Cowie (Gestede 72), Mason, Lawrence. Subs Not Used: Heaton, Earnshaw, Blake. Goals: Hudson 78.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).
Cardiff started brightly but Joe Mason screwed a shot horribly wide while defender Hudson cleared the crossbar with a header.
Lifelong Birmingham fan Ben Turner
thought he had opened the scoring on the quarter-hour when he found
space in the box and tried to bend the ball around Boaz Myhill but his
shot went inches wide.
A fluid counter-attack from Blues
resulted in a corner which was not dealt with by Cardiff and when the
ball fell to Guirane N'Daw he let fly from 30 yards but his shot was
comfortably gathered by Marshall.
The Bluebirds were dominating as
half-time approached and the lively Mason was close to converting a low
cross from Don Cowie before the same player flashed a shot past the left
Minute's applause: Former Blues star Muamba was given a rousing reception at St Andrews
Birmingham had failed to impress in
the first half but looked much better at the start of the second and
they were handed a great chance to break the deadlock.
Chris Burke played the ball through
to Mutch who was fouled in the area by Cowie. King stepped up to take
the resulting penalty but his low effort was turned away by Marshall.
From their next attack, Blues found Huseklepp one-on-one with the keeper but Marshall saved well with his legs.
The opening goal did not take much
longer to arrive, with Norwegian Huseklepp getting the better of
Marshall from close range after a superb solo run from Burke on the
But, just as Birmingham looked set to go on and secure three points, Cardiff snatched an equaliser out of nothing.
Whittingham's cross fell to defender Hudson and he volleyed the ball into the bottom corner.
Blues were straight back on the
attack, though, and only a great save from Marshall denied Burke as his
shot on the turn looked destined for the top corner.
Cardiff responded through substitute Rudy Gestede but his right-foot volley from the edge of the box was straight at Myhill.
Marshall was almost embarrassed by a
weak Burke shot which hit a bobble on the pitch and looped up but he
clawed the ball away.
The Bluebirds almost stole the points at the death as Gestede came close with a header.