Hughton raises Birmingham as Redmond's talent excites
Birmingham City 1 Portsmouth 0
Wednesday 08 February 2012
Nathan Redmond's career is turning into the most exciting teenage rampage St Andrew's has seen since Trevor Francis plundered four goals in one game when he was still 16. The 17-year-old substitute struck four minutes from time, lifting Birmingham into third place in the Championship and leaving Portsmouth bereft after a battling display that belied fears over the club's very existence.
Redmond, an England Under-18 international, has now scored four times since New Year's Eve. It needed something special to break Portsmouth's resistance and the winger provided it after being pressed into an unfamiliar central role, his first-time volley flashing past goalkeeper Stephen Henderson from 12 yards after Curtis Davies headed the ball on. Of the 63 goals Chris Hughton's team have scored in all competitions, this was the 20th in the final 10 minutes – testament to their fitness after playing 41 matches compared with Pompey's 30.
Birmingham deserved their success, midfielder Jordon Mutch having seen a 20-yard drive hit the post seven minutes before the goal. Defeat, however, was the least of Portsmouth's worries. The threat of administration looms, and manager Michael Appleton confirmed that the players and staff have still not been paid wages due last month. "I'm hoping we get some news in the next few days," he said. "The longer it goes on, the more difficult it will be to keep up morale."
Hughton has hardly been flush with cash either, but despite being without last week's four-goal hero at Leeds, the injured Nikola Zigic, his side are now just two points behind second-placed Southampton in the table.
The Birmingham manager praised Redmond's technique for the goal, describing him as "a wonderful player, a real talent", but also hailed goalkeeper Boaz Myhill for a vital save from Joel Ward's shot late in the first half.
Birmingham City (4-4-2): Myhill; Spector, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy; Burke, Fahey, N'Daw (Elliott, 13), Mutch; King (, Redmond, 62), Rooney. Substitutes not used Doyle (gk), Ibañez, Gomis.
Portsmouth (4-4-2): Henderson; Ben Haim, Rocha, Pearce, Halford; Etuhu (Kitson, 90), Lawrence, Mullins, Ward; Futacs (Benjani, 75), Huseklepp. Substitutes not used Ashdown (gk), Mokoena, Webster.
Referee D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
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