Birmingham City 2 Everton 2: match report
In the race to secure the Premier League's equivalent of a consolation prize, a place in the Europa League next season, no significant progress to report from St Andrew's yesterday. In the race to emerge from the shadows of their more feted neighbours, again no news of an advance from the second city to cheer the terrace fans of either Birmingham City or Everton. Related ArticlesPremier League tableTelegraph player raterPremier League fixturesSport on televisionPremier League actionA match that rarely failed to entertain amid fluctuating fortunes demonstrated why both these teams, though standing on the brink of the division's elite, are unlikely to aspire beyond their present station. David Moyes opines that this is the best Everton squad he has worked with during his eight years' tenure and for the first quarter of this match, he appeared vindicated in his judgment before Birmingham rallied to claim a point that rarely seemed a realistic target as the visitors cantered into a two-goal lead. Joe Hart had already saved well from the outstanding Steven Pienaar as Everton dictated when Victor Anichebe turned Liam Ridgewell in the 18-yard-area and powered a left foot shot in to the roof of the net for his first goal of the season. Three minutes later, Pienaar's clever centre from the byline created a routine headed finish for Ayegbeni Yakubu, 2-0 easy as you like. "They could have blown us away at that stage but this was so typical of what we have done this season," said Birmingham manager Alex McLeish. The revival, however, required a touch of Lady Luck as Cameron Jerome's faintest of touches diverted Keith Fahey's aimless centre through the legs of Phil Jagielka and beyond Tim Howard to reduce arrears. The Bluenoses' recovery was complete in the 52nd minute as Jerome once more was involved, this time flicking on Hart's long punt into the path of Craig Gardner. The ball sat up nicely for the former Aston Villa midfield player yet even so, his left foot volley was crisp and precise. Shortly after, the leg-weary scorer was substituted, a legacy of an overnight illness that made him a doubtful starter. Everton remained the more composed and three reasonable penalty appeals for hand ball proved fruitless. Yet Birmingham's resilience was deserving of a result that extended an unbeaten sequence of home matches that began in September to 12.
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