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
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Raheem Sterling interview: No amount of money can convince Sterling to stay at Liverpool
Liverpool injury news: Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren expected to be ready for Arsenal clash
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men