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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence