Fans feel blue but Birmingham keep unbeaten record

Birmingham City 0 Wigan Athletic 0

Equalling their longest unbeaten run in the top flight in the club's history should have been a cause for celebration for Birmingham City, but there was no disguising the crowd's frustration. Although it is now exactly a year and 18 Premier League matches since Alex McLeish's team lost at home, this turgid affair was instantly forgettable.

Whether or not it was down to the pressure of maintaining that run, Birmingham's football rarely flowed. Cameron Jerome, playing as a lone striker for most of the match, worked hard but to little effect, Alexander Hleb was peripheral out wide and it was left to Sebastian Larsson on the right flank to provide their rare moments of inspiration.

Wigan, who have yet to concede an away goal this season, were not stretched and might have taken all three points had they shown more ambition. Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia both threatened but too often Wigan's counter-attacks broke down on the edge of the penalty area. N'Zogbia coped well with the hostile home crowd who booed him throughout after his move to St Andrews broke down last month when Birmingham refused to meet hispay demands.

In the early stages Wigan looked the more likely to break the deadlock. Scott Dann's block kept out Rodallega's shot after a run by N'Zogbia who then tested Ben Foster with a drive from 20 yards which the goalkeeper pushed over.

Larsson, however, soon began to have an influence. Jerome should have done better when heading wide at the far post from a searching centre and Birmingham went even closer from two excellent free kicks by Larsson just before the break. Roger Johnson narrowly missed with a header from the first and then Jerome had his close-range effort saved by Ali Al-Habsi.

Johnson headed wide from another Larsson free kick after 52 minutes but with Birmingham creating little the crowd began chanting for a change to four-four-two. After an hour McLeish obliged, bringing on Nikola Zigic to partner Jerome in attack but the lumbering Serb made little impact.

A ragged contest ended when Craig Gardner was shown a red card after 87 minutes for a reckless tackle that left Franco Di Santo with cuts to his leg. "His leading foot was really high," Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, said of Gardner's challenge, adding that he was concerned that Di Santo might also have suffered ligament damage.

McLeish had no complaints about Mark Clattenburg's decision. If it was a disappointing end to the afternoon for the Birmingham manager, he was still proud of his team's performance.

"There was a lot of pressure on us today due to the media coverage of the unbeaten record," McLeish said. "I felt it could be one of those occasions when people were looking at us to get egg on our faces. I'm sure there were lots of people predicting that we would lose."

Attendance: 22,186

Referee: M Clattenburg

Man of the match: Larsson

Match rating: 3/10

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick