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Wolves 1 Cardiff 2 – match report: Fraizer Campbell scores both goals for Championship leaders

Wolves 1 Cardiff 2: Campbell bags brace for leaders as Molineux misery continues

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

16:10 GMT, 24 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 24 February 2013

Frazier Campbell’s headed double ensured Cardiff would have something to crow about this weekend as Dean Saunders’ nightmare start as Wolves manager showed little sign of ending.

Former Manchester United trainee Campbell pounced in each half to extend his side’s advantage over the Championship’s chasing pack to eight points on an afternoon when rivals Swansea grabbed the limelight at Wembley.

Campbell, a 650,000 signing from Sunderland in January, took his tally to five goals in as many games for his new club on a weekend when Cardiff increased their lead at the top of the division following Hull City’s demise at Bolton.

Brace: Fraizer Campbell scored two goals as the Championship leaders won at Molineux

Brace: Fraizer Campbell scored two goals as the Championship leaders won at Molineux

MATCH FACTS

Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Batth (Ebanks-Blake 46), Johnson, Gorkss, Doherty (Foley 78), Doumbia (Doyle 46), Henry, O'Hara, Robinson,
Sako, Sigurdarson.

Subs Not Used: De Vries, Edwards, Ward, Davis.

Booked: Doherty.

Goals: Sako 70.

Cardiff: Marshall, Connolly, Hudson (McNaughton 75), Turner, Taylor, Conway, Whittingham, Cowie (Kim 80), Gunnarsson, Bellamy, Campbell (Helguson 82).

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Noone, Mutch, Mason.

Booked: Whittingham.

Goals: Campbell 20, 67.

Att: 20,930

Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Championship table, fixtures and results

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay said he was not surprised by his signing’s impact. ‘Fraizer needed to get football back into his life,’ said Mackay. ‘The quality of the boy I remember scoring goals for Hull City has not diminished. He needed us and we needed him.

‘Did I expect him to hit the ground running Yes, I did.’

Saunders’ use of a five-man defence backfired in the first half, with Cardiff establishing a grip in the 20th minute. Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw was flicked on by Ben Turner and Campbell headed home from inside the six-yard box.

Saunders brought on Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at half-time, but Craig Bellamy’s inswinging cross in the 67th minute left Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme stranded in no man’s land after leaving his line and Campbell finished at the far post.

Bakary Sako’s deflected free-kick three minutes later made a game of it and Ebanks-Blake sidefooted a shot into the ground and over the bar with the goal gaping following Sako’s 70-yard run late on.

Lead: Campbell heads past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme

Lead: Campbell heads past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme

Saunders, yet to win in eight games
since arriving at Molineux but hoping to sign Reading striker Simon
Church on loan, said: ‘We made two catastrophic mistakes. We conceded a
goal from a long throw — and I walked them through how to defend it
yesterday. As a manager, it’s the sort of thing that keeps you awake at
night.’

Hope: Bakary Sako scored for Wolves with 20 minutes to play at Molineux

Hope: Bakary Sako scored for Wolves with 20 minutes to play at Molineux

Cardiff 1 Peterborough 2 – match report:

Cardiff 1 Peterborough 2: Bostwick and Gayle seal hard-fought win at Bluebirds' fortress

PUBLISHED:

17:21 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 15 December 2012

Table-topping Cardiff had their perfect record in home npower Championship matches ruined by struggling Peterborough today.

The Bluebirds had won all 10 league matches at the Cardiff City Stadium this season but were stunned by a Posh side who had failed to win in eight.

Michael Bostwick put the struggling visitors ahead after 22 minutes with a superb long-range effort and on-loan Dagenham striker Dwight Gayle netted the second two minutes after the interval.

In it goes: Michael Bostwick celebrates his goal

In it goes: Michael Bostwick celebrates his goal

MATCH FACTS

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton (Gunnarsson 51), Turner, Connolly, Taylor, Whittingham, Cowie (Mutch 53), Conway (Gestede 64), Noone, Helguson, Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Kim, Mason, Lappin.

Booked: Connolly, Helguson, Cowie, Turner.

Goal: Gestede 89.

Peterborough: Olejnik, Zakuani, Bostwick, Knight-Percival (Alcock 68), Tomlin, Rowe (Brisley 83), Newell (Ferdinand 82), Little, Thorne, Boyd, Gayle.

Subs Not Used: Day, Swanson, McCann, Gordon-Hutton.

Booked: Bostwick, Knight-Percival, Zakuani, Tomlin.

Goals: Bostwick 22,Gayle 47.

Attendance: 22,073

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

The latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Rudy Gestede's late goal ensured a nervy finish for Darren Ferguson's team, but they held on for three crucial points.

The result saw Cardiff's lead at the
summit reduced to two points, while Peterborough climbed off the bottom
ahead of Sheffield Wednesday's visit to Barnsley.

The hosts thought they had taken the
lead after just four minutes when Heidar Helguson headed home from Craig
Bellamy's free-kick, but it was ruled out for offside.

Peterborough began to grow into the
game after a nervy start and Tommy Rowe's industry down the left wing
created a chance for George Boyd, but his left-footed strike was well
held by David Marshall.

They went even closer to breaking the
deadlock moments later as Ben Turner was forced to acrobatically clear
Boyd's deflected effort off the line.

Cardiff failed to heed the warnings and fell behind midway through the half.

Posh capitalised on the dubious award of a free-kick, Boyd rolling it to Bostwick, who rifled in from 20 yards.

Bellamy attempted to muster an
immediate response but after expertly controlling a loose ball on the
edge of the box, he pulled his effort just wide.

The Welshman threatened again soon
after, latching onto Craig Conway's superb pass before cutting the ball
back for Craig Noone, who could only find the gloves of Robert Olejnik
with his shot.

But having failed to make the most of
their dominance in the latter stages of the first half, the hosts fell
behind early in the second.

Lee Tomlin fed Gayle and he raced
through, slotting coolly past Marshall to make it four goals in three
matches and the first time this season Cardiff have conceded more than
one goal in their own backyard.

Gayle was afforded space to try and double his tally after 63 minutes but his low powerful shot was tipped wide by Marshall.

A clearly out-of-sorts Cardiff outfit
struggled to mount any meaningful response, though Helguson perhaps
should have done better with Bellamy's cross, fluffing wide when well
placed.

The Icelandic striker then outmuscled
Gabriel Zakuani to carve out a shooting opportunity, only to hook just
wide from inside the box.

Gayle should have put the game beyond
doubt but somehow contrived to fire straight at Marshall from four
yards, and Cardiff ensured a tense finish for the visitors when Gestede
turned in Turner's flick on.

But, despite six minutes of stoppage time, there was to be no sting in the tail.

Jordan Mutch signs for Cardiff City

EXCLUSIVE: Cardiff seal deal for Mutch as England Under 21 star exits Birmingham

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UPDATED:

18:02 GMT, 22 June 2012

On the move: Mutch is heading to Wales to join Cardiff

On the move: Mutch is heading to Wales to join Cardiff

Cardiff City have signed England Under 21 international Jordon Mutch from Birmingham City.

The Bluebirds have taken advantage of the current cash problems at St Andrew's and have swooped on the 20-year-old playmaker.

The fee is likely to be in excess of 1m for the player who made his breakthrough last term under Chris Hughton.

Bluebirds' boss Malky Mackay is a
long-time admirer of the midfielder. The Scot gave Mutch his first-team
chance at Watford when he took the player on loan from Birmingham two
seasons ago.

News that Lee Clark is expected to be
announced as the club's new boss is not likely to placate supporters
who have seen a succession of players leave St Andrew's in the wake of
Birmingham's demotion from the Premier League 12 months ago.

Clark met acting chairman Peter Pannu in Birmingham to finalise his appointment yesterday afternoon.

However, while Mutch's arrival is an
undoubted coup for Cardiff, it will however, fuel speculation that Peter
Whittingham may be off to pastures new.

West Ham 3 Birmingham 3: Vaz Te salvages point for Hammers as City pay penalty

West Ham 3 Birmingham 3: Vaz Te salvages point for Hammers as City pay penalty

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UPDATED:

18:32 GMT, 9 April 2012

Ricardo Vaz Te's 89th minute penalty salvaged a point for West Ham, although they made it seven home games without a win after drawing 3-3 with Birmingham.

The Hammers were left shell-shocked at the break as they found themselves 3-1 behind.

Jordon Mutch struck first with an impressive solo goal for the visitors, bamboozling Abdoulaye Faye with some trickery before firing a shot past an unsighted Rob Green.

Number two: Marlon King bagged Birmingham's second

Number two: Marlon King bagged Birmingham's second

Match facts

To follow…

And Blues doubled their advantage moments later when Marlon King beat the offside trap before keeping his cool to slot home.

The home supporters were beginning to
voice their displeasure before Vaz Te headed in his fourth goal in as
many games in first half stoppage time.

However, Birmingham went straight up
the other end and restored their two goal advantage when Chris Burke
fired a volley into the ground which somehow bounced into Green's net.

Carlton Cole pulled one goal back
before Vaz Te lashed in the equaliser from the spot which was awarded
after Henri Lansbury's shot hit Burke's arm.

West Ham's recent home form has
threatened to scupper their bid to immediately return to the Barclays
Premier League and the Blues broke the deadlock in the 27th minute
thanks to a terrific effort from Mutch.

The midfielder won the ball with a sliding challenge before launching a counter attack following a one-two with King.

Rise: Birmingham looked certain to seal all three points but were pegged back late in the game

Rise: Birmingham looked certain to seal all three points but were pegged back late in the game

Mutch drove straight at Faye, creating space with a step over, before squeezing a left foot shot into the bottom corner.

Chris Hughton's side were then two goals to the good just three minutes later courtesy of King.

Cole was robbed in the middle of the
park and King, played onside by Winston Reid, collected Keith Fahey's
pass before opening his body and placing the ball past Green.

With murmurs of discontent circling
around the ground, Vaz Te's goal offered some hope. Mark Noble's corner
was hung up to James Tomkins and he headed the ball across goal for Vaz
Te to nod in.

Crunch: The scorer of Birmingham's third goal, Chris Burke, is seen to by Mark Noble

Crunch: The scorer of Birmingham's third goal, Chris Burke, is seen to by Mark Noble

But Birmingham had their two goal
advantage back just over a minute later when Burke hit a volley into the
ground which somehow looped over Cole and into the net.

Allardyce threw Lansbury on at
half-time and he nearly had an immediate impact after Peter Ramage
clumsily clattered into him in the penalty area, although referee Jon
Moss ignored the Arsenal loanee's appeals.

The hosts were incensed when Cole was
also denied a penalty after Steven Caldwell pulled him back, but the
former England striker was on target in the 70th minute.

Kevin Nolan lifted the ball back to
Cole from the byline and he controlled the ball before smashing a
left-foot half-volley past Boaz Myhill.

Silencing the crowd: Mutch celebrates his opener for the visitors

Silencing the crowd: Mutch celebrates his opener for the visitors

The home side flooded forward in search of an equaliser with Cole and Danny Collins firing narrowly over.

And referee Moss awarded a spot-kick
to the hosts right at the death when Lansbury's vicious shot struck the
raised arm of Burke, who was in close proximity to the effort.

Vaz Te stepped up and crashed his penalty straight down the middle, into the roof of the net, to earn a share of the spoils.

Promotion push: Hughton's side are well in the hunt for a play-off place

Promotion push: Hughton's side are well in the hunt for a play-off place

Birmingham 1 Cardiff 1

Birmingham 1 Cardiff 1: Hudson makes his Mark as Bluebirds rescue point

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UPDATED:

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

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.

MATCH FACTS

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.

Cardiff:
Marshall, McNaughton, Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Whittingham, McPhail
(Miller 84), Gunnarsson, Cowie (Gestede 72), Mason, Lawrence. Subs Not Used: Heaton, Earnshaw, Blake. Goals: Hudson 78.

Att: 17,704

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
post.

Minute's applause: Former Blues star Muamba was given a rousing reception at St Andrews

Minute's applause: Former Blues star Muamba was given a rousing reception at St Andrews

Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba

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.

Football League blog

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
break.

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.

Coventry 1 Birmingham 1: Curse of the former player strikes with McSheffrey and King on target

Coventry 1 Birmingham 1: Curse of the former player strikes with McSheffrey and King on target

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UPDATED:

15:19 GMT, 10 March 2012

Gary McSheffrey and Marlon King both scored against their former clubs as a 1-1 draw at the Ricoh Arena did little for the respective survival and promotion hopes of Coventry and Birmingham.

For a midlands derby, the first half was a tame and forgettable affair but the game sprang into life after half-time.

The goals came within two minutes of one another midway through the second half.

On target: Marlon King lequalises

On target: Marlon King lequalises

Match facts

Coventry: Murphy, Clarke, Keogh, Cameron, Cranie, Baker (Thomas 81), Clingan, Norwood, McSheffrey, Nimely, McDonald (Platt 61). Subs not used: Dunn, Deegan, Christie.

Booked: Nimely, Clarke

Scorer: McSheffrey.

Birmingham: Myhill, Ramage, Caldwell, Davies, Spector, Burke, N'Daw (Mutch 73), Fahey, Huseklepp (Zigic 61), Townsend, King (Elliott 90). Subs not used: Doyle, Ibanez.

Sent off: Mutch.

Scorer: King 72.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.

Attendance: 22,240.

McSheffrey, who had four years at
Birmingham before rejoining Coventry in the summer of 2010, had the
hosts dreaming of climbing out of the relegation zone with a sixth
npower Championship victory in their last eight home matches when he
headed the Sky Blues in front after 70 minutes.

But the lead lasted just two minutes
before King, Coventry's top scorer last season, capitalised on some
slack defending to equalise from close range.
Birmingham finished the game with 10 men after substitute Jordon Mutch
was shown a straight red card for allegedly elbowing Alex Nimely.

Andy Thorn's side stay in the bottom
three while Birmingham's hopes of mounting a late automatic promotion
challenge are looking increasingly slim after only one win in their last
five league games.

The only noteworthy action of the
first half came when the visitors thought they should have had a penalty
when Andros Townsend went down under a challenge from Jordan Clarke but
referee Neil Swarbrick waved away the appeals.

Guirane N'Daw and Chris Burke worked
Coventry goalkeeper Joe Murphy before the hour mark before Peter Ramage
and Keith Fahey also threatened for the Blues.

But it was Coventry who went ahead.

Carl Baker did brilliantly down the
right-hand side and his pin-point cross was headed back across goal by
McSheffrey from 12 yards out for his seventh goal of the season.

Opening strike: Gary McSheffrey (left) had Coventry dreaming of a precious win

Opening strike: Gary McSheffrey (left) had Coventry dreaming of a precious win

However, the lead was short-lived.
The Sky Blues failed to deal with a long throw from Ramage and after
substitute Nikola Zigic missed his header, King took advantage of
Clarke's hesitancy to tuck the ball away from six yards out.

Oliver Norwood almost immediately restored Coventry's lead but his curler from the edge of the box struck a post.

King came close to scoring a winner with five minutes remaining but he got his header wrong and the ball drifted wide.

Mutch was sent off in the final minute following an innocuous-looking challenge on Nimely.

Birmingham 0 Chelsea 2: Juan Mata and Raul Meireles seal FA Cup replay win

Birmingham 0 Chelsea 2: Life without AVB starts with win thanks to Mata and Meireles

If anyone is mourning the loss of Andre Villas-Boas, they are hiding it well. 'Roman Abramovich, he sacks who he wants,' sang Chelsea fans last night with more than a hint of glee as their campaign shuffled towards Wembley.

Two goals inside six second-half minutes from Juan Mata and Raul Meireles ended the Birmingham's resistance and set-up the six times FA Cup winners with a quarter-final at home to another Championship team.

Beat Leicester on Sunday week and Roberto di Matteo could be leading Chelsea back to Wembley, where they have won the trophy three times in five years since the national stadium was rebuilt.

Juan-nil: Spain midfielder Mata celebrates after putting Chelsea ahead at St Andrew's

Juan-nil: Spain midfielder Mata celebrates after putting Chelsea ahead at St Andrew's

MATCH FACTS

Birmingham: Doyle, Spector, Ibanez,
Davies, N'Daw (King 72), Redmond, Mutch, Gomis, Elliott, Rooney (Burke 59), Zigic.

Subs not used:
Myhill, Valles, Reilly, Jervis, Packwood.

Booked: Zigic

Chelsea:
Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Bertrand, Ramires (Lampard 75), Mikel, Meireles,
Kalou (Sturridge 59), Torres, Mata (Essien 89).

Subs not used: Hilario, Drogba, Lukaku, Terry.

Goals: Mata 54, Meireles 60

Booked: Torres

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 21,822

Villas-Boas can only look on from a distance as the team who rebelled against his leadership find an extra gear as they respond to Abramovich's ultimatum to prove their worth before the end of the campaign.

Di Matteo stepped in and gave the squad a shake but much of what unfolded was roughly the same. There with no hint of the relentless power or energy which was once the trademark of the team from Stamford Bridge until Mata had opened the scoring in the 54th minute.

Fernando Torres found himself a figure of fun. When one Birmingham fan fluffed his big moment during a half-time shoot-out. 'Worse than Torres,' he declared. Then, after he was tripped to win a penalty in the second half and Mata stepped forward, the crowd chanted: 'We want Torres.' Mata's effort was saved.

The game had barely kicked off when more than 3,000 Chelsea fans chanted the name of Jose Mourinho but made it known they did not want Rafa Benitez. So much for the FA Cup legend on the touchline, who had ditched the tracksuit in favour of a smart overcoat, slacks and skinny tie.

Predator: Mata pokes home from inside the box after Ramires's cross caused pandemonium

Predator: Mata pokes home from inside the box after Ramires's cross caused pandemonium

Through the crowd: Raul Meireles (second left) strikes to double Chelsea's advantage

Through the crowd: Raul Meireles (second left) strikes to double Chelsea's advantage

Di Matteo, picking his first team since sacked by West Bromwich 13 months ago, made five changes to the Chelsea team beaten at The Hawthorns on Saturday in what was to be the last game of the brief Villas-Boas era.

On the bench were Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, although they were apparently assured by the caretaker manager that this was a decision made with the next two fixtures – homes games against Stoke and Napoli – in mind.

John Terry was among the substitutes, too, less than a fortnight after a knee operation which was expected to keep him out for up to eight weeks.

On the touchline: Chelsea caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo (right) gives his orders

On the touchline: Chelsea caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo (right) gives his orders

Di Matteo made a tweak to the usual Chelsea shape. The 4-3-3 became a 4-2-3-1 formation with Raul Meireles and John Mikel Obi deployed as deep midfielders. Ramires and Salomon Kalou started wide with Juan Mata in the hole behind Torres and, within two minutes, the Spaniards had combined well.

Torres dropped, turned and released Mata, who was thwarted by Colin Doyle, the goalkeeper who saved his penalty in last month's drawn game at Stamford Bridge.

Spring in his step: But Chelsea's misfiring striker Fernando Torres did not score yet again

No spring in his step: Chelsea's misfiring striker Fernando Torres did not score yet again

The inability of Villas-Boas to make Torres function effectively played a significant part in his downfall, not to mention the implied criticism of a comparison with Andriy Shevchenko and Mateja Kezman in an interview last week.

This was a 50th Chelsea appearance for Torres and despite his understanding with Mata, there were still moments when his touch deserted him in front of goal. The 50million striker looked timid and hesitant at the times when instinct ought to kick in. When a clear chance dropped on his left foot in first-half stoppage time, he screwed it wide.

Group hug: Chelsea congratulate Meireles (centre) on his goal

Group hug: Meireles' Chelsea team-mates congratulate him (centre) on his second-half strike

Chelsea arrived at St Andrew's having lost their last three away games, scoring only once, but dominated against a depleted Birmingham team playing for the 47th time this season. Kalou, starting for the first time in club colours since October, was bright on the left, ahead of Ryan Bertrand, deputising for the injured Ashley Cole.

Ramires sliced wide but Chris Hughton's makeshift defence resisted well and Doyle was rarely tested in the first half. Yet, when defending counter-attacks and set-pieces, Chelsea did not look comfortable and Petr Cech was forced to scramble backwards and turn a diving header from Nijola Zigic over before the interval.

Packs a punch: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech stretches to repel a Birmingham cross

Packs a punch: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech stretches to repel a Birmingham cross

Zigic had stitches in a cut above his left eye, after taking a boot in the face from David Luiz. Zigic was clearly unhappy and sought retribution but it was on Gary Cahill and earned the first booking of the night. It was his header from Jordan Mutch's cross which nearly embarrassed the expensive central defensive partnership.

The breakthough came from Mata. Ramires stole the ball from Mutch on the right and Kalou fought down his cross in the goalmouth. It spilled to Mata who adjusted quickly and poked a shot inside the post.

At full stretch: Birmingham's Serbian striker Nikola Zigic controls the ball under pressure

At full stretch: Birmingham's Serbian striker Nikola Zigic controls the ball under pressure

Mata then headed narrowly wide and Meireles soon pounced to score a wonderful second. Again it came from a move down the right and Ramires eased a short pass into his path and the Portuguese midfielder lashed a right-footer into the top corner.

He refused to celebrate, pushing his team-mates away. It seems someone is after all mourning the loss of AVB.

Torres was fouled for a penalty but Mata, having shrugged off Sturridge, saw his kick saved by Doyle, just as in the first game.

On the spot: Mata saw his penalty saved once again by Birmingham keeper Colin Doyle

On the spot: Mata saw his penalty saved once again by Birmingham keeper Colin Doyle

Barnsley 1 Birmingham 3: Keith Fahey breaks duck

Barnsley 1 Birmingham 3: Fahey breaks duck as in-form Blues take third spot

Keith Fahey scored his first goal since August as ruthless Birmingham stretched their unbeaten run to 16 games to move up to third in the npower Championship as Barnsley were brushed aside at Oakwell.

In-form Blues showed no signs of fatigue in their 44th game of the season as they followed up their impressive FA Cup draw at Chelsea with a deserved victory against Keith Hill's side.

Chris Burke set the ball rolling with an early opener which was deflected in off Tykes skipper Rob Edwards and the impressive Fahey was also on target in the first half after Barnsley's leading scorer Craig Davies' 10th goal of the season had brought the home side level.

On target: Nathan Redmond celebrates after scoring Birmingham's third goal

On target: Nathan Redmond celebrates after scoring Birmingham's third goal

Substitute Nathan Redmond sealed the points for Chris Hughton's side with a third goal after great work from Fahey and Burke to leave Blues five points behind second-placed Southampton with a game in hand.

It took Blues just six minutes to take the lead, with Marlon King capitalising on a mistake from Jim McNulty on the touchline and cutting the ball back for Burke, whose goal-bound left-foot shot was deflected in off the head of centre-half Edwards.

MATCH FACTS

Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman, Edwards, McNulty,
McEveley (Golbourne 73), Cotterill (O'Brien 61), Digby, Smith (Tonge 73), Done, Dagnall, Davies.

Subs Not Used: Preece, Gray.

Booked: Cotterill, McNulty.

Goals: Davies 19.

Birmingham: Myhill, Spector (Ibanez 90), Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Burke, Mutch, Fahey, Gomis (Redmond 73), Elliott, King (Rooney 73).

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Jervis.

Booked: Spector, Mutch.

Goals: Edwards 8 og, Fahey 27, Redmond 78.

Attendance: 9,558

Referee: Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire).

But the Tykes were level 18 minutes in, when debutant David Cotterill looked to be upended in the penalty area but after referee Carl Boyeson waved play on the winger picked himself up to cut the ball back for Davies, who drilled home with a clinical right-foot finish.

Burke was giving Tykes left-back Jay McEveley a torrid time and the winger fired over the bar before the impressive Fahey swivelled and fired the visitors back in front with a venomous left-foot drive from 20 yards which in off the far post.

Barnsley's leading scorer Davies was proving to be a handful for the Birmingham defence and the summer signing from Chesterfield had his head in hands 10 minutes before half-time when his measured right-foot strike rattled the crossbar.

Barnsley were struggling to contain Burke and the former Cardiff man foxed McEveley with an exquisite piece of skill but his cross was deflected away from King as the striker prepared to pull the trigger.

Blues midfielder Jordon Mutch had a lucky escape when he sliced a tame corner from the right just wide of his own goal.

But Hughton's side gave themselves some breathing space with a third goal 13 minutes from time after a brisk break which involved Fahey and Burke, the two best players on the park.

Irish midfielder Fahey was the architect, with a raking long-range pass into the path of Burke and he crossed to the back post where the onrushing Redmond finished emphatically with his left foot just four minutes after coming on as Blues sauntered to a fifth consecutive away win.

Millwall 0 Birmingham 6: Marlon King scores a brace against nine-man Lions

Millwall 0 Birmingham 6: King at the double as nine-man Lions are hit for six

At the double: King netted a brace in the win over Millwall

At the double: King netted a brace in the win over Millwall

Marlon King bagged a brace as Birmingham outlined their promotion credentials by hammering nine-man Millwall.

Blues were on the back foot for the majority of the first half but they took their chance after the sorry hosts completely lost their discipline.

Curtis Davies gave Chris Hughton's side an 18th-minute lead against the run of play before the Lions' chances were hampered when Shane Lowry was sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Nikola Zigic.

Zigic was at the centre of the action
again as he was felled by Alan Dunne's tackle from behind, with the
defender also given a straight red card.

MATCH FACTS

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Lowry, Smith, Feeney (Henry 85), Trotter, Abdou, Bouazza, N'Guessan (McQuoid 71),Kane (Marquis 85).
Subs Not Used: Mildenhall, Craig.
Sent Off: Lowry (22), Dunne (57).
Booked: Trotter, N'Guessan.

Birmingham: Myhill, Ridgewell, Caldwell, Davies, Spector, Fahey, Mutch (Gomis 46), Beausejour, Burke (Redmond 81), King, Zigic (Rooney 61).
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Murphy.
Booked: Mutch, Zigic, Rooney.
Goals: Davies 18, King 59, Burke 74, Rooney 81, King 83, Redmond 90.

Att: 10,539

Ref: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).

From there on, Birmingham ran riot
as strikes from King and then Chris Burke ensured the points would go to
the midlands outfit.

Further efforts from Adam Rooney,
another from King and Nathan Redmond ensured Birmingham extended their
unbeaten run to six matches in some style.

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett made
five changes to the side that drew at Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA
Cup and it was one of those replacements who nearly put the hosts in
front.

Hamer Bouazza picked out Dany N'Guessan at the near post but the striker could only head wide.

On-loan Tottenham striker Harry Kane
then had his effort from Bouazza's corner cleared off the line by a
perfectly positioned Jean Beausejour as the Lions continued to belie
their lowly league position.

Despite being on the back foot for much of the early stages, Davies gave Blues an 18th-minute lead against the run of play.

The former Aston Villa defender burst in unmarked at the back post to head home Jordon Mutch's free-kick.

Millwall's defence had failed to pick up Davies' run but things went from bad to worse four minutes later as Lowry received a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Zigic.

Referee Jon Moss initially missed the incident but after consulting with his linesman, gave defender Lowry his marching orders.

Despite being reduced to 10 men, Millwall continued to dominate the contest until the interval and only a spectacular save from Blues goalkeeper Boaz Myhill denied Kane from finding the top corner with a 25-yard strike.

The visitors started to gain the upper hand after the interval and their chances of coming away with all three points were enhanced even further when Millwall were reduced to nine men in the 57th minute when Dunne saw red after a tackle on Zigic from behind.

And King took full advantage to double Birmingham's advantage two minutes later.

The striker collected the ball from Keith Fahey before turning and shooting past Millwall's David Forde.

Unsurprisingly, Birmingham controlled the tempo of the clash thereafter and a one-two between Burke and King ended with the former cutting into the box and firing into the top corner.

Substitute Rooney made it four with a thumping effort from the edge of the area after being teed up by Burke in the 81st minute.

The goalscorer then turned provider as his clever ball found King, who then rounded Forde before finishing for his second of the afternoon two minutes later, while Redmond hammered home a sixth from 12 yards in stoppage time.

Birmingham 1 Maribor 0: Adam Rooney strike in vain

Birmingham 1 Maribor 0: Rooney strike in vain as Blues reach end of the road

Adam Rooney scored his first goal for nearly four months but it wasn”t enough to extend Birmingham”s run in Europe.

The striker grabbed the only goal of the game after 24 minutes when heading home a cross from the impressive Nathan Redmond.

But Braga”s draw with Club Bruges meant those two sides finished above Birmingham to go through to the final 32 of the Europa League.

More to follow

Heads I win: Adam Rooney scores the opening goal for Birmingham

Adam and Eve it: Birmingham midfielder Rooney scored his first goal for four months

MATCH FACTS

Birmingham: Doyle, Spector, Ibanez, Davies, Murphy, Redmond, Fahey, Gomis, Beausejour, Rooney, Zigic. Subs not used: Myhill, Caldwell, Burke, N”Daw, Mutch, Elliott, Wood.

Maribor: Handanovic, Potokar, Vidovic, Rajcevic, Arghus, Cvijanovic, Filipovic, Mertelj, Mezga, Tavares, Volas. Subs not used: Radan, Milec, Ibraimi, Velikonja, Trajkovski, Lesjak, Beric.

Referee: Sascha Kever (Switzerland).