Wigan Athletic 2 Birmingham City 0: Taylor dives back in at deep end but Wigan namesake sinks City

Martin Taylor has known worse afternoons, notably Saturday 23 February, the last occasion on which he pulled on a Birmingham City shirt. The big central defender was back in first-team action yesterday, six weeks on from the mistimed challenge that left Arsenal's Eduardo da Silva with a dislocated ankle and compound fracture of the left leg. He did not enjoy the happiest of returns as Birmingham's safety bandwagon ran up against the buffers of a superior Wigan team managed by the man who spent six years building the bulk of the side that remains at St Andrew's, Steve Bruce.

Taylor was caught short of pace in the move that led to the first of two goals struck past his namesake in the Birmingham goal, Maik Taylor, by the home player with the same surname: Ryan Taylor. To his credit, there was a redeeming goal-line clearance by Martin before this tale of three Taylors was reduced to two with his substitution in the 72nd minute.

By then, City were down to 10 men and Martin Taylor was wearing the captain's armband, Damien Johnson having been sent off seven minutes before the interval for a two-footed tackle on Kevin Kilbane. And Wigan were well on the way to adding three points to the handy cushion they now enjoy above the Premier League relegation zone.

"Five months ago, when I came through the door here, we were almost adrift with Derby," Bruce reflected afterwards. "All credit to the players: that was probably our best performance since I came here. But we've got a nice, easy one next week: Chelsea away."

It was never likely to be easy for the returning Taylor yesterday, once Alex McLeish, the Birmingham manager, had inked his name on the team-sheet. He received a warm reception from the visiting supporters, and also a quiet word before kick-off from Mike Dean, the referee who red-carded him for that unfortunate challenge back in February. Like the rest of the City team, though, he was a step behind the Wigan players from the start.

Marcus Bent had already spurned a couple of openings before Wigan struck in the 15th minute. Antonio Valencia breezed past Martin Taylor on the right edge of the area and squared the ball to Ryan Taylor, who drilled home a low shot from 15 yards. If that was bad enough for the visitors, their plight could have got a lot worse before half-time.

While Chris Kirkland fiddled with his thumbs in the home goal, Maik Taylor twice came to Birmingham's rescue, saving goal-bound efforts from Paul Scharner and Emile Heskey. Martin Taylor also blocked a stinging drive from the lively Valencia, Scharner smacked a shot off the left post, and Bent curled a low effort wide. As it was, the only further damage Birmingham suffered before the interval was the loss of Johnson, who drew a straight red card.

It took Birmingham until first-half injury time to muster a threat, Mikaël Forssell chipping a shot wide from 20 yards out. Any prospect of a salvage operation effectively came to an end in the 56th minute. City failed to clear a Valencia cross into the box and, after Bent miscued a shot, Maik Taylor could only parry a follow-up effort from Scharner, and Ryan Taylor turned in the loose ball from close range. The only positive for City thereafter was Martin Taylor calmly clearing a Bent shot from the goalmouth.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform