Birmingham 1 United 1
MANCHESTER United came from a goal down against Birmingham to rescue a point at a freezing St Andrews. Cameron Jerome scored for the home side after a goalmouth scramble before Scott Dann's own goal put the Reds back on terms. Darren Fletcher was sent off after 84 minutes for a second bookable offence. Striker Mame Biram Diouf came on for his United debut with 10 minutes to go but the Reds, who lacked spark throughout, could not grab a winner. The draw leaves United a point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea having played a game more. Sir Alex Ferguson had demanded a response after the FA Cup reversal against Leeds and made seven changes to his starting line-up. United dominated possession from the first whistle and Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson blocked a shot from Fletcher at the expense of a corner. Fletcher teed up Paul Scholes in space 20 yards out and it needed James McFadden to get in an important block at the expense of a corner. Wayne Rooney got the better of Birmingham skipper Stephen Carr, who misjudged a pass down the line from Patrice Evra, and it needed McFadden to get in a vital block at the far post to keep out Luis Antonio Valencia's shot. Park Ji-Sung had an opportunity when running onto a Fletcher through-ball but he lost his balance when under pressure from Carr. It was non-stop attacking from United and Dann threw his body in the way of another shot from Carrick. But after 39 minutes Birmingham stunned United by taking the lead in their first worthwhile attack from Jerome. Situation The former Cardiff player forced a corner when his shot was blocked by Scholes. United failed to deal with McFadden's centre, Bowyer headed the ball back across goal and it bounced off Johnny Evans to Jerome, who applied the finishing touch for his fifth goal of the campaign. Birmingham then squandered a great chance to double their lead. They found themselves in a two against one situation on the counter-attack but Benitez lost control and allowed Carrick to make a vital tackle when Jerome would have had a clear run on goal. Fletcher became the first player to be yellow-carded after 44 minutes for a crude challenge on Bowyer. Benitez found himself in a promising position in the United box at the start of the second half but was dispossessed by Wes Brown. But the Ecuador international forced a low save out of Kuszczak after United had failed to fully clear a Sebastian Larsson corner. United finally drew level after 63 minutes through an own goal from Dann. The central defender was under pressure from Park when he turned a low centre from Evra past Hart. Hart held onto a low Valencia drive and Scholes fired over the bar as United searched for the winner. Their hopes were all but ended when Fletcher was sent off for a second bookable offence after 84 minutes for a foul on Jerome, and it ended all square. What is your verdict on the action? Have your say.
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