Birmingham City 0 Wigan 1 match report: Birmingham on brink of relegation as Wigan head for play-offs
Tuesday 29 April 2014
Birmingham City edged closer to the Championship trap door as their long season of frustration at St Andrew's reached a predictably bitter end against Wigan Athletic.
Despite the backing of a 20,427 crowd – their second highest of the season – Lee Clark's side succumbed to a fifth straight home defeat as Callum McManaman's early goal lifted Wigan Athletic into fifth place above Reading and cemented their play-off berth.
It was Wigan's first win at St Andrew's and leaves them two games away from a fifth visit to Wembley in a year. For Birmingham by contrast, memories of winning the League Cup at Wembley in 2011 feel a long time ago now. They now stand on the verge of falling into the third tier for the first time since 1995.
They sit third bottom of the Championship, a point behind Doncaster – who visit Leicester on Saturday – and two behind Millwall, and the only blessing is that their final match is at Bolton, rather than St Andrew's. After all, this was their 16th home league match without a victory.
The lone cry of "bollocks" when the stadium announcer revealed there would be two minutes of first-half stoppage time, seemed a fair summary of a desperate first period on a night when nerves got to both sides resulting in pass after pass going astray.
In the case of Wigan, they could at least point to the fact this was their 59th game of a long campaign which has featured 14 cup ties at home and in Europe. Fatigue seemed to have got the better of Uwe Rösler's men when losing three of their previous four Championship fixtures but they had the perfect fillip with McManaman's third-minute strike. Jordi Gomez brought the ball forward and slid a pass to McManaman who stepped in from the left side of the penalty box and found the far corner with a low shot.
The only response from a blunt Birmingham side came with a curling shot by Emyr Huws, the young midfielder on loan from Manchester City, that Scott Carson kept out of the top corner.
At half-time, Clarke threw on Nikola Zigic who decided to stick around when it turned out his rumoured £70,000 a week contract had no relegation clause. The big Serbian's goal threat was confined to a tame header at Scott Carson. The goalkeeper also kept out Hayden Mullins' low drive as Birmingham upped the pressure at the end but for Wigan, it was job done. Birmingham still have it all to do.
Birmingham City (4-2-3-1): Randolph; Caddis, Spector, Mullins, Hancox; Huws, Adeyemi (Shinnie, 83); Burke, Allan (Ibe, 60) Novak, (Zigic, h-t) Macheda. Substitutes not used Doyle (gk), Martin, Reilly, Gray.
Wigan Athletic (3-4-1-2): Carson; Boyce, Caldwell, Kiernan; Perch, Gomez, McArthur, Beausejour; Maloney (Barnett, 90); Waghorn (Fortune, 61), McManaman (Maynard, 84). Substitutes not used Al Habsi (gk), Espinoza, Crainey, Collison.
Referee A Woolmer (Northamptonshire).
Latest in Sport
Guus Hiddink leaves Netherlands: Louis van Gaal's replacement resigns less than a year after taking Dutch job
Sergio Ramos to Manchester United: Real Madrid defender 'wants' Old Trafford switch
Petr Cech joins Arsenal: key dates for the goalkeeper after Chelsea move - including Stamford Bridge return on 19 September
Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray tests himself with practice games against Rafael Nadal
Arsenal sign Petr Cech: Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey - and even Wojciech Szczesny welcome goalkeeper
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato