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.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
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

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect