Finally a team has taken control of the Championship. Birmingham City, after three consecutive victories, look established at the summit. Yesterday they saw off Sheffield Wednesday who had lost only one of their previous 10 games and ought to have extended that run to 11.
Wednesday dominated for long periods but goals from Stephen Clemence late in the first half, Gary McSheffrey after an hour, and Cameron Jerome in added time, proved sufficient for Birmingham to leave South Yorkshire with three points.
"I can't explain that result," said Brian Laws, the Wednesday manager. "It was a travesty for us to lose the game."
City had been fortunate to go in ahead at half-time after Wednesday's Deon Burton had a header cleared off the line and then saw Maik Taylor turn away his toe-poke. Birmingham's first came when Jerome let fly from 30 yards and Mark Crossley's parry allowed Clemence to seize on the rebound. In the second half, Laws' team continued to take the game to their opponents and should have equalised but Chris Brunt shot wildly over only for McSheffrey to score his 12th of the season on the break.
Wednesday still poured forward until Crossley was forced off injured with all three substitutions made, but Birmingham's advantage was unassailable even before Jerome struck at the death.
"That's as tough a game as we've had all season," said Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager. "We didn't have the chances they did but to win a football match you've got to stick the ball in the back of the net."