Sheffield Wednesday 0 Birmingham City 3: Bruce points up striking quality of Birmingham

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The Independent Football

It is increasingly rare that opposing managers reach consensus with their post-match verdicts, but on Saturday at Hillsborough the evidence was simply overwhelming.

Sheffield Wednesday dominated the game, almost from start to finish, and created enough chances to win their next half-dozen fixtures, let alone this one.

Their passing was crisp and purposeful, with Kenny Lunt always seeming to choose the right ball at the right time, while Madjid Bougherra was a revelation at centre-half and complemented his fine defensive work by joining the attack whenever possible.

Birmingham City, meanwhile, displayed none of the same craft, often preferring to fire long, straight clearances in the general direction of Cameron Jerome. However, despite their lack of possession, Birmingham have strikers of real quality and, ultimately, that was why they won this match by the apparently comfortable margin of three goals when the reality was anything but.

"It's the biggest travesty I've ever seen in my life - we were the better side and lost," said Brian Laws, the Wednesday manager, who has made such an impressive start since joining the club last month. "They had three chances and took them all, we had umpteen and took none."

Steve Bruce, his Birmingham counterpart, who used to play alongside Laws at the famous Wallsend Boys Club, was not about to disagree. "That was as tough a game as we've had all season," he said. "We got away with it, simple as that.

"But even though they had more chances, I always felt we looked a threat on the break," Bruce added. "I wouldn't swap Cameron Jerome, Gary McSheffrey and Nicholas Bendtner for anyone else in this League."

Stephen Clemence opened the scoring just before half-time after Mark Crossley had palmed Jerome's shot into his path. The prolific McSheffrey added the second midway through the second half and Jerome concluded the scoring in added time after a late injury to Crossley saw Lee Bullen deputising in goal for the final minutes.

Goals: Clemence (42) 0-1; McSheffrey (65) 0-2; Jerome (90) 0-3.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2 ): Crossley; Simek, Bougherra, Bullen, Spurr; Andrews (MacLean, 44), Lunt, Folly (O'Brien, 75), Brunt; Tudgay, Burton (Talbot, 75). Substitutes not used: Adamson (gk), Coughlan.

Birmingham City ( 4-3-3): Maik Taylor; Kelly, Jaidi, Upson, Sadler; Larsson (Kilkenny, 85), Nafti, Clemence; Bendtner (Campbell, 89), Jerome, McSheffrey (Danns, 85).

Substitutes not used: Doyle (gk), Martin Taylor.

Referee: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).

Booked: Birmingham McSheffrey, Bendtner, Larsson, Upson, Jerome.

Man of the match: Bougherra.

Attendance: 26,083.

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