Bristol City 1 Birmingham City 2: Jerome strikes to keep Birmingham buoyant

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The Independent Football

Birmingham City continued their fine start to the season with a determined victory over Championship rivals Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

Alex McLeish's side took control of the game with a fine first-half performance, and despite heavy home pressure in the second, they hung on to claim a valuable victory.

The visitors took the lead after just eight minutes, as Sebastian Larsson's left-wing free-kick was unwittingly helped into the net by City captain Louis Carey.

The hosts responded well and had a chance to equalise when Dele Adebola's flick-on released Michael McIndoe, but the Robins winger was unable to get sufficient power on his shot, and the ball trickled through to Blues goalkeeper Maik Taylor.

City then went close again through Lee Johnson's deflected free-kick, but it was Birmingham who were looking the more dangerous going forward, and the visitors duly extended their lead after 24 minutes.

The lively James McFadden found David Murphy on the left flank, and his cross was coolly slotted home by Cameron Jerome, who had been afforded far too much space in the penalty area.

McIndoe's long-range effort forced a fine save from Taylor shortly after the half-hour, but Birmingham were looking good value for their lead and almost went further ahead when Jerome's 25-yard strike flew narrowly wide of Adriano Basso's right-hand post.

The hosts were then handed a further blow eight minutes before the break when they were forced to bring on substitute goalkeeper Chris Weale for the injured Basso.

McFadden almost added a third goal for Birmingham after two minutes of the second half when he curled a left-footed shot wide of the post from 18 yards.

McIndoe remained Bristol's chief attacking threat, and he and Bradley Orr both saw shots saved by Taylor as the hosts fought valiantly to get back into the game.

Ivan Sproule came on for Gavin Williams to provide City with an injection of pace. Cole Skuse and Nicky Maynard had chances to pull a goal back, while McIndoe forced Taylor into yet another save.

The hosts finally saw their efforts rewarded with 11 minutes remaining, as substitute Lee Trundle fired home a superb long-range strike.

However, City were unable to find the all-important equaliser, and Birmingham held on with relative comfort to record their second victory in four days.

Bristol City (4-4-2): Basso (Weale, 37); Orr (Trunle, 70), Carey, Fontaine, McAllister; Williams (Sproule, 53), Skuse, Johnson, McIndoe; Adebola, Maynard. Substitutes not used:Webster, Elliott.

Birmingham (4-4-2): Maik Taylor; Parnaby (Kelly, 68), Ridgewell, Martin Taylor, Murphy; Larsson, Agustien (Owusu-Abeyie, 81), Carsley (Bent, 65), McSheffrey; McFadden, Jerome. Substitutes not used: Phillips, Krysiak (gk).

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).

l Wolves maintained their position at the top of the Championship with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the Molineaux. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake put the home side in front inside a minute, netting after being teed up by David Jones. Paul Iffil pulled one back for the visitors but Andy Keogh sealed the win for the hosts with his first goal of the season.