Birmingham 1 Leicester City 1: Bruce suffers bout of 'refereeitis'

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The Independent Football

Two refereeing decisions either side of half-time sent an already ailing Steve Bruce home feeling worse. He clearly felt aggrieved by both incidents. In the first half Leicester City's goalkeeper, Conrad Logan, could have received a red card for a foul on DJ Campbell just outside his box. Later, in the move that led to the substitute Elvis Hammond's 85th-minute equaliser, the Leicester midfielder Iain Hume appeared to handle the ball.

The Birmingham assistant manager, Eric Black, spoke for Bruce after the match, revealing that the manager was suffering from "flu and refereeitis". On the handball, Black was adamant: "I saw it clearly, he touched it with his hand, so obviously we're bitterly disappointed with that."

The Leicester manager, Rob Kelly, however, did not see it as such a crucial decision. "I didn't think it was handball, but I will have a look at the video. I thought the referee was good today, though, and for our endeavour I think we deserved to get something out of the game."

Though they worked tirelessly, Kelly's inexperienced side were fortunate to leave St Andrew's with a point. They fell behind to a 56th-minute Gary McSheffrey goal when the £4 million winger latched on to DJ Campbell's through ball to score his first League goal for the club with his weaker right foot.

Two minutes earlier McSheffrey had been denied his landmark moment by the Leicester goalkeeper, Logan, who was passing a milestone of his own as he made his first League appearance. The young Irish keeper was immensely impressive, but the Birmingham fans will remember him for very different reasons after yesterday.

The referee, Steve Bennett, had adjudged his 40th-minute foul on DJ Campbell only warranted a booking, pointing to the four Leicester defenders who had been rushing back to cover. However, Campbell had been poised to shoot into an unguarded net.

Again, Kelly thought it was the correct decision. He said: "My initial reaction was that Steve Bennett got it right. Normally, I'd turn around to the goalkeeper and say get ready you're going on, but not with that one."

For all of Birmingham's grievances, they were guilty of not killing off the game and were punished late on when Hammond stabbed home Josh Row's cut-back. A valuable point for Leicester, and two vital ones lost by a worryingly misfiring Birmingham.

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