Sad Robson sees Savage shine as Captain Marvel

Birmingham City 4 - West Bromwich Albion 0

Robbie Savage may be overly aggressive, bad-tempered and prone to fits of pique, but he is certainly no coward and, when he pushes himself to perform like he did against West Bromwich Albion yesterday, there is no doubt that he is a midfield captain to rival the best in the Premiership.

Savage was outstanding and won the game for Birmingham in the first 45 minutes of a bruising encounter. He gave his side the edge in a crowded midfield and provided the foundations for what turned out to be a blue cakewalk to the club's biggest win in the Premiership.

The Welshman has never been the most gifted with the ball at his feet but his energy and sheer devotion can be as important to Birmingham as any deft through ball or defence-splitting pass.

His day started well, largely thanks to the West Brom defender Darren Purse who, just four minutes after getting a rousing reception on his return to St Andrew's, bear-hugged Clinton Morrison in the area when chasing an innocuous-looking through ball. Savage stepped up to slot home the penalty in front of the baying away supporters.

Savage then shone in the 20-minute scrap that followed. Zoltan Gera may have struck the Birmingham crossbar with an opportunistic effort but Savage refused to allow the visitors' five-man midfield any time on the ball. With the Wales manager John Toshack looking on, Savage battled with international team-mate Jason Koumas and won, despite receiving an ugly foul on an already injured ankle. He clattered into Andy Johnson, bit into Jonathan Greening and took the best that West Brom could muster in return.

And, with West Brom distracted by the Savage show, Birmingham scored a second after 23 minutes. Darren Carter raced down the left before pulling the ball back to Morrison, who had enough time to right himself following a poor first touch before hitting home.

Six minutes later and Birmingham had a third. David Dunn, following Savage's lead, crashed through the defence before flicking a pass to Emile Heskey to fire in past Russell Hoult. The goal was made by Dunn's quick thinking but owed its heritage to Savage's breathless leadership.

Bryan Robson, the West Brom manager, changed his formation at half-time and introduced Robert Earnshaw. The switch had the desired effect and the visitors looked capable of holding their own, if not fighting back.

Johnson then went close and Earnshaw chipped weakly into Maik Taylor's arms. But despite the glimmer of hope, Birmingham added a fourth on 80 minutes when substitute Darren Anderton, with his first kick of the game, blasted a free-kick that deflected off Heskey into the net.

The win, coming on the back of a victory over Aston Villa, gives Birmingham the Christmas bragging rights in the Midlands. But manager Steve Bruce had sympathy for opposite number and former team-mate Robson after he was heckled by West Brom's disgruntled away support.

"I hoped last week's win would give us a springboard," said Bruce. "They just couldn't handle big Emile all day long. I do feel for him [Robson] but he's only had six games. If anyone can turn it around then he can."

Robson admitted that his post-match dinner date with Bruce would not be quite so enjoyable after his team's drubbing, but promised supporters that January will see new faces arrive at The Hawthorns. "It was awful defending in the first 20 minutes and then you have no platform on which to build anything. The chairman has said I can bring a few players in and we obviously need to do that."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week