Birmingham secure vital win to take relegation fight to last game of season
Jonathan Grounds and Craig Gardner kept Birmingham's Championship survival hopes alive with crucial goals in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield at St Andrew's.
A beaming caretaker manager Harry Redknapp was delighted with the result which was achieved by a tremendous team effort.
It was Grounds' second goal of the season and it could not have come at a better time as 10-man Birmingham recorded only their third win in 24 League games which was sealed by Gardner's penalty in the 75th minute.
Despite the success Blackburn's 1-0 win over Aston Villa means that Birmingham's future will now be decided on the last day of the season at Bristol City.
In a battling, nail-biting performance the win was achieved against all the odds as Birmingham certainly did not make it easy for themselves.
Their hopes of a vital victory seemingly nose-dived on the back of two early incidents when Lukas Jutkiewicz missed a penalty and shortly afterwards Che Adams received a straight red card.
Huddersfield - assured a play-off place after beating Wolves on Tuesday - made 10 changes, which did not go down well with the home fans.
Despite their much changed line-up it was Huddersfield who created some early promising moves with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis gliding a low shot just wide of the far post.
In a tense atmosphere Birmingham then wasted a glorious opportunity to go ahead from the penalty spot. In only the eighth minute Adams was brought down by Mark Hudson.
Jutkiewicz blasted in a low spot kick but goalkeeper Joel Coleman dived to his right to make a fine save.
Worse was to follow for Birmingham. In the 22nd minute Adams was sent off for a challenge on Martin Cranie to make Birmingham's survival task even harder.
The departure of Evans changed the whole complexion of the game as Birmingham struggled to dictate the game which became heated and bad tempered on occasions
One pleasing aspect of Huddersfield's performance was the cultured play of Phillip Billing.
But in the 40th minute the home side took the lead. Craig Gardner's cross from the right was headed back across the goal by Jutkiewicz and Grounds forced the ball home at the near post.
Birmingham put the game to bed in the 75th minute. Jacques Maghoma was brought down in the area by Tommy Smith and Gardner lashed home the penalty to the relief of the home crowd.