Bruce's rage creates thin disguise for Blues' disarray

Blackburn Rovers 2 Birmingham City 0
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The Independent Football

But football's policemen may still have work to do in the wake of events at Ewood Park after Savage's former manager, Steve Bruce, launched an impassioned tirade against referee Barry Knight and Rovers' striker Paul Dickov who, along with City defender Matthew Upson, were involved in the game's pivotal moment.

Upson's manhandling of his opponent, featuring a knee to the behind as well as hands on shoulders, brought Blackburn a 49th-minute penalty that Dickov himself whacked into the net. That, given Birmingham's current dismal state, was always going to be enough to earn three points.

"The decision was pathetic, absolutely pathetic," raged Bruce. "When you pull somebody, which is what the referee gave the decision for, they usually fall backwards, not forwards.

"We all know Paul Dickov. He is very, very good at it and, unfortunately for us, today the referee fell for it. My concern is, would we have got that? Would we heck! We all know it, but I can't say it - oh bollocks, I'll say it!"

Debatable as the award certainly was, it probably did not warrant quite such an extreme reaction from Bruce and he may yet question whether it is worth the disrepute charge that may well follow. But Bruce could be forgiven if his comments were a diversionary tactic to try to disguise another woeful display by his team.

Blackburn substitute Craig Bellamy completed the scoring, collecting Morten Gamst Pedersen's pass, a goal that gave the scoreline a far fairer look.

Goals: Dickov pen (49) 1-0; Bellamy (81) 2-0.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Khizanishvili, Nelsen (Todd, 45), Gray; Bentley (Emerton, 76), Savage, Tugay, Pedersen; Kuqi, Dickov (Bellamy, 62). Substitutes not used: Enckelman, Reid.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Taylor; Tebily (Kilkenny, 76), Cunningham, Upson, Lazaridis (Jarosik 70); Pennant, Johnson, Butt, Clapham; Heskey, Forssell. Substitutes not used: Vaesen, Taylor, Pandiani.

Booked: Birmingham City Heskey, Cunningham, Pennant.

Referee: B Knight (Kent)

Man of the match: Khizanishvili.

Attendance: 18,341.

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