Burnley 1 Birmingham 2: DJ turns the tables on Burnley

Click to follow
The Independent Football

As match-winning substitutions go, this was as good as it gets for Birmingham City and Steve Bruce. DJ Campbell, the striker who made his name in Brentford's FA Cup journey last season, had been on the field barely 20 seconds when he bundled in the goal that gave his side a fifth successive away victory.

Only eight minutes remained when Brian Jensen failed to gather Nicklas Bendtner's driven low cross, leaving Campbell to pick up the pieces.

"Call it an inspired substitution," Bruce smiled. "The work of our front players was the difference all afternoon and I didn't want to break up Nicklas and Gary McSheffrey, so I put on another offensive player to try to win it."

There was almost another sting in the tail when the Burnley substitute Kyle Lafferty then had an injury-time effort hooked off the line by Stephen Clemence, but Birmingham look much better equipped to go the distance than a Burnley side now beaten in three consecutive games. Initially, at least, both teams appeared intent on suggesting their fine defensive records were achieved by accident.

Birmingham fell behind in three minutes when Stephen Foster's cross was side-footed in by the unmarked Chris McCann. But McSheffrey soon set up an equaliser with a 14th-minute centre from which Michael Duff hit team-mate John Harley with an attempted clearance and Bendtner tucked home.

Some of Burnley's first-half defending was chaotic, but their manager, Steve Cotterill, insisted: "I thought the least we deserved was a draw, although Birmingham have some quality players. Bendtner is probably the best centre-forward in the division."

Bruce had further encouragement with the stoppage-time return to action of Matt Upson after eight months out with a ruptured Achilles tendon.