Burke restores Blues' pride
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Birmingham City 1
There can be few better ways for a team to restore wounded pride than by winning away at the leaders of their division, and Birmingham City put everything they had into achieving exactly that yesterday. Humiliated 5-0 in front of their own fans by Barnsley in their previous match, they pulled 10 men behind the ball for most of this match and battled to hang on to a lead given them by Chris Burke in the 26th minute, inflicting a first home defeat of the season on Brighton.
"We needed a reaction and we got it," Lee Clark, the Birmingham manager, said. "If we had felt sorry for ourselves, Brighton have enough quality to have given us a 5-0 hiding as well."
It proved the received football wisdom that any team in this season's Championship can beat any other on their day, and luckily for Brighton, similarly unlikely results elsewhere on a day of defeats and draws for fancied teams kept them at the top on goal difference.
Birmingham packed the midfield to stifle Brighton's passing game, which worked up to a point, but with Will Buckley taking on both full- backs the home side still looked threatening until the ball reached the City penalty area, where the absence of Brighton's injured striker Craig Mackail-Smith was keenly felt. No such problems for Birmingham, who went ahead when Burke met Gordon Greer's headed clearance 22 yards out and although Tomasz Kuszczak got a hand to his thunderous first-time shot, he had no chance of keeping it out.
The second half began 15 minutes late after a floodlight failure, and Brighton seemed to benefit more from the extended break, but Birmingham stood firm.
"Of course it hurts and we're a bit down, but we did everything possible," Gustavo Poyet, the Brighton manager, said. "You have to give credit to them, they defended well after the result they had last week."
Brighton (4-1-2-3): Kuszczak; Calderon, Greer, El-Abd (Lopez, 60), Bridge; Bridcutt; Hammond, Dicker; Buckley (Lua Lua, 71), Dobbie, Barnes.
Birmingham (4-5-1): Butland; Packwood (Mullins, 81), Davies, Caldwell, Robinson; Burke, Spector, Elliott, Fahey, Lovenkrands (Redmond, 69); Lita (King, 87).
Referee Oliver Langford.
Latest in Sport
James Rodriguez to Real Madrid: Would Colombian star fit in with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale?
William Carvalho to Arsenal? Gunners make new enquiry for £35m rated midfielder
Manchester United transfer news: More signings expected, indicates Ed Woodward
Chelsea transfer news: Completed summer deals - including Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas
Liverpool transfer news: Loic Remy, Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi on verge of Anfield moves
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains