Birmingham City 1 Wolverhampton W 1: Craddock ensures Wolves feed off Blues' lack of bite

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The Independent Online

You would not normally compare Birmingham City to Arsenal but if the Londoners are the Premiership's most wasteful team in front of goal, then Steve Bruce's men could be their Championship equivalent.

Time and again the hosts of this west Midlands derby worked good positions, with chances falling to a range of players, while also finding Matt Murray in obstinate form in the Wolves goal. It is a problem they have encountered often this season only to squeeze through. But here they came unstuck.

Allied to a lack of urgency following Gary McSheffrey's lobbed first-half goal, and you had the perfect ingredients for the visitors to grab an undeserved point. It duly arrived from the head of Jody Craddock with two minutes remaining.

The Blues' profligacy, combined with a feeling of injustice over the events before Craddock's equaliser, when Sebastian Larsson went down after a Gary Breen challenge, meant Bruce was peeved afterwards. Furthermore, while he did not single out Cameron Jerome for criticism, the striker's return of just one goal since his £3m summer move from Cardiff has not gone down well.

"It's the one thing we have to improve on," Bruce said. "We have to be a bit more clinical. [Being a striker] is the hardest job. It's why they cost the most and why they get paid the most money. I'm very frustrated but you keep working at it."

A win would have taken the Blues top. They also came into this game with five consecutive wins, having not conceded for almost eight hours. Craddock's goal saw the clock stop at nine hours and 22 minutes.

Goals: McSheffrey (30) 1-0; Craddock (88) 1-1.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Maik Taylor; Kelly, Jaidi, Martin Taylor, Sadler; Larsson, Muamba (Nafti, 73), Clemence, McSheffrey; Bendtner, Jerome (Danns, 73). Substitutes not used: Doyle (gk), Kilkenny, Campbell.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-5-1): Murray; Little, Breen, Craddock, Mulgrew (Edwards, 36); Gobern, Henry, Olofinjana, Potter (Johnson, 81), Jones (Ricketts, 71); Bothroyd. Substitutes not used: Ikeme (gk), Davies.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: Wolves Gobern.

Man of the match: McSheffrey.

Attendance: 22,256.

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