Blackburn 1 Birmingham 1: Berg still in search of first win after tense draw on home debut
17:51 GMT, 10 November 2012
17:51 GMT, 10 November 2012
Henning Berg is still waiting for his first win as Blackburn boss as his home debut ended all square after an enthralling encounter against Birmingham.
Berg enjoyed many a battle with opposite number Lee Clark during their top-flight playing days and they went head-to-head in the dugout at Ewood Park in front of 14,919 fans – only 1,000 up on average from games under Steve Kean and caretaker boss Eric Black this term.
The Norwegian started his Rovers reign with one point from two away games and a draw this afternoon was the right result on the balance of play.
Waiting game: Henning Berg (right) is still searching for his first win as Blackburn boss
Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson,
Formica, Etuhu, Murphy (Lowe 84), Markus Olsson (Nunes 71), Rochina (Vukcevic 61), Rhodes.
Subs Not Used: Kean, Orr, Pedersen, Nuno Gomes.
Goals: Rochina 13 pen.
Birmingham: Butland, Spector, Caldwell, Robinson, Murphy,
Burke (Ambrose 90), Morrison, Mullins, Elliott, Zigic (Redmond 75), King.
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Ibanez, Lovenkrands, Hancox, Diop.
Booked: Morrison, Spector.
Goals: King 17.
Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).
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Spaniard Ruben Rochina handed Rovers a
deserved early lead from the penalty spot after David Murphy felled
Mauro Formica but, crucially, Birmingham pulled level almost immediately
courtesy of Marlon King's ninth goal of the season from close range.
Both sides could indeed have clinched
all three points but it was not to be, with Birmingham now 19 attempts
without victory at Ewood Park stretching back to 1968.
Blackburn were undoubtedly the dominant side from the off.
Blues skipper Steven Caldwell denied
Jordan Rhodes after Jack Butland had raced out of his area
unnecessarily, before Rochina fired wide from 12 yards when well placed.
It was no real surprise when the hosts took the lead after 13 minutes.
Full-back Murphy brought down Formica in the area and Rochina stepped up to send Butland the wrong way from the spot.
But Birmingham pulled level almost immediately with their first real attack.
Chris Burke's cross was met by a
combination of former City defender Scott Dann and Wade Elliott and the
ball fell to Nikola Zigic, whose effort came back off a post and King
was on hand to tap home from two yards.
The goal inspired the visitors and Ravel Morrison brought a save out of Paul Robinson before King fired narrowly wide.
Rovers passed up a great chance to
retake the lead from Rochina's corner as the game flowed from end to
end, with Blues very much now in proceedings.
Danny Murphy struck the side-netting
from distance on the half-hour mark before both sides saw goals
rightfully ruled out for offside.
Catch me if you can: Ruben Rochina tries to find a way past Hayden Mullins
Markus Olsson was presented with a
clear opportunity to put Blackburn in front on the stroke of half-time
but he could only fire wide.
Zigic headed wide from Burke's cross
at the start of the second half when the towering 6ft 8in Serbian should
really have done better.
Rhodes was next to threaten at the
other end as his header was cleared off the line by Blues defender Paul
Robinson in impressive fashion.
His Blackburn namesake got down well
to deny marauding City full-back Murphy, while Rovers were being
constantly dogged by the offside flag in the final third.
Formica brought a good save out of
England prodigy Butland with former Three Lions stopper Robinson showing
what he could do to turn away Burke's effort from distance.
Robinson then tipped over Hayden
Mullins' 81st-minute strike from 30 yards before substitute Nuno Gomes'
impressive effort flew over amid a breathless conclusion to proceedings.
Dann came within inches of a late winner against his former employers but a point apiece was just reward.