Middlesbrough 0 - 1 Birmingham: Blues win at Riverside Stadium for the first time cince 1980
Birmingham City won at The Riverside Stadium for the first time since 1980 on Saturday, beating Middlesbrough 1-0.
Nikola Zigic scored the only goal of the game, in the 81st minute, to push Birmingham up 11th in the Championship table.
It was Middlesbrough third successive home defeat and leaves them five points off the playoffs.
Birmingham began strongly at The Riverside, with Wes Thomas forcing a shot inches wide from a tight angle.
After Keith Fahey came close for the visitors, Middlesbrough had a goal ruled out for offside. Scott McDonald tapped in after George Friend’s effort had been saved but the assistant referee quickly raised his flag and the striker’s celebrations were cut short.
Ravel Morrison replied for Birmingham with a fizzing 20-yard drive that forced Jason Steele in the Middlesbrough goal into a smart save.
The match became far more open after the break as Middlesbrough sensed an opportunity to end their recent rot.Friend headed Grant Leadbitter’s cross over the bar. Then, moments later, Jack Butland saved a McDonald effort after an error by Curtis Davies. The rebound fell kindly for Friend but Birmingham loanee Shane Ferguson cleared the ball off the line.
Birmingham, who came into this game buoyed by their 3-1 against Derby last weekend, stemmed the tide and Morrison, a constant threat to the Middlesbrough backline, came close up the other end.
Nathan Redmond, minutes later, cut inside from the right wing to curl a ferious drive inches wide of Steele’s goal as he searched for his second goal in as many matches.
However, Middlesbrough still remained dangerous themselves. Adam Reach’s cross-come-shot was tipped expertly over by Butland.
It proved to be crucial as the visitors went up the other end to find a goal themselves. Wade Elliot found Ferguson, who surged into the box and play in Nikola Zigic with a low, dangerous cross. The tall Serbian striker bundled the ball home, despite Friend’s desperate attempts to keep it out, and Birmingham hung on to claim their 12th league win of the season.
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