Birmingham 1 Arsenal 1: Wenger in despair after Phillips' late freak goal

27 March 2010 05:31
Kevin Phillips dented Arsenal's title hopes with a dramatic late equaliser at St Andrew's.   [LNB]Samir Nasri had come off the bench to fire the Gunners in front 10 minutes from time. [LNB] Short lived joy: Goalscorer Samir Nasri is grabbed by Nicklas Bendtner[LNB] But Blues substitute Phillips enjoyed a stroke of luck in injury-time as the ball looped off him and over Manuel Almunia to level.   [LNB]Arsene Wenger was greeted with boos from the Birmingham fans as he made his way along the touchline to the Arsenal dug-out, still disgruntled by his reaction to Martin Taylor's challenge on Eduardo which badly broke the Gunners striker's leg in 2008.   [LNB]The Gunners began in confident fashion against a Blues side unbeaten at home since late September.   [LNB]Tomas Rosicky won the first corner of the game but skipper Cesc Fabregas' centre was held comfortably by Blues keeper Joe Hart. [LNB] Pensive: Eduardo returns to St Andrew's two years after his horror injury[LNB]Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner was high and wide with a 20 yard drive after a James McFadden free-kick had only been half cleared.  [LNB] Theo Walcott then appealed optimistically for a penalty after a challenge from Liam Ridgewell and referee Howard Webb waved play on.  [LNB] McFadden showed good skill in creating a yard of space just outside the Arsenal box but he dragged his powerful drive a couple of yards past the post.   [LNB]The visitors knocked the ball around in trademark style although the final decisive ball was lacking in the opening quarter of an hour.   [LNB]Alex Song became the first player to be yellow carded after 16 minutesfor bringing down McFadden, who had made an impressive start to the game.  [LNB] Hart made the first meaningful save of the game a minute later when hecame quickly off his line to block a shot from Walcott after he had raced onto a long ball from Fabregas.   [LNB] Up and away: Arsenal's Denilson battles with James McFadden[LNB]Gael Clichy was booked after 24 minutes for a foul on Craig Gardner.  [LNB] This resulted in an unhappy Wenger exchanging words with the fourth official Anthony Taylor.  [LNB] Jerome brought a save out of Almunia with a low 25-yard drive.   [LNB]The former Cardiff striker then burst into the box but toe-poked a weak shot straight at Almunia when under pressure from Sol Campbell.   [LNB]Wenger was becoming increasingly animated but the home side were more than holding their own against their title-chasing opponents.   [LNB]Arsenal started the second half on the offensive and Hart saved a drive from Rosicky away to his right.   [LNB]Then Abou Diaby made a good break into the City box but sent his shot straight at Hart.   [LNB]Back came Blues and Barry Ferguson only just failed to connect with a ball into the near post from Gardner.   [LNB] Full stretch: Birmingham goalkeeper Joe Hart dives in vain in a bid to stop Nasri's shot[LNB] Then, after 63 minutes, City defender Scott Dann was guilty of one of the misses of the season.  [LNB] Ferguson's free-kick was met by Roger Johnson, whose shot back across goal at full stretch hit the post.   [LNB]The rebound fell to Dann barely two yards out but he somehow contrivedto put the ball over the bar off his thigh.   [LNB]Wenger made a double change with Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin replacing Rosicky and Walcott respectively.   [LNB]Nasri was quickly involved in testing Hart with a low drive after being teed up by Arshavin.   [LNB]Ferguson was then booked for a challenge on Nasri before the same player finally broke the deadlock 10 minutes from time.   [LNB] Freak show: Wenger shows his despair after Birmingham's late equaliser[LNB]He was allowed time to cut in from the right and his low drive flew past the dive of Hart into the far corner of the net.   [LNB]Gardner was booked for a foul on Diaby and Carr for bringing down Arshavin.   [LNB]But just as Arsenal looked set for a vital win, substitute Phillips snatched a dramatic equaliser in injury time.  [LNB] Phillips battled for the ball with Bacary Sagna, who kicked it into the the former Sunderland striker's face and Almunia could only get a hand to itas it ballooned into the net for a dramatic equaliser.[LNB] Squeaky bum time again: But Fergie predicts United will win title on last dayArsene Wenger can't forgive Martin Taylor for horror tackle on EduardoARSENAL FC

Source: Daily_Mail