Saturday 29 December 2007, 3:00pm at St Andrew's, Birmingham
Barclays Premier League
Birmingham City
Larsson 55'
Fulham FC
Bocanegra 8'

55' Goal

Sebastian Larsson

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mehdi Nafti
Off:Damien Johnson

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Daniel De Ridder
Off:Sebastian Larsson

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Garry O'Connor
Off:Mikael Forssell

8' Goal

Carlos Bocanegra

63' Yellow Card

Hameur Bouazza Card was given for a foul

65' Yellow Card

Paul Konchesky Card was given for a foul

79' 2nd Yellow Card

Hameur Bouazza Card was given for a foul

80' Yellow Card

Simon Davies Card was given for a foul

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alexei Smertin
Off:Danny Murphy

With Ray Lewington taking temporary charge of the Whites after Lawrie Sanchez's sacking, Carlos Bocanegra's early goal helped Fulham claim a share of the points in a battling game at St. Andrews.

First Half Action

Ray Lewington revised his starting eleven for Saturday’s trip to Birmingham following Fulham’s Boxing Day to Spurs and the early indications were positive as David Healy almost gave Fulham the lead after 30 seconds of play. Healy’s 25 yard curling shot had Taylor beaten but the ball curled just wide of the far post.

5 min Hameur Bouazza looked lively during the opening exchanges, beating his marker on several occasions but Fulham could not capitalise on his productivity early on.

The best chance of the half fell to McSheffrey. A Birmingham counter attack saw Forrsell release the striker on the half way line and as he sprinted clear of Konchesky he looked odds on to score. As Niemi reduced the angle McSheffrey ballooned the ball over the bar and the chance went begging.

8 min Goal Fulham! (0-1)

Another promising break down the left from Bouazza earned Fulham a corner. Davies’ in-swinging corner found Bocanegra on the near post and the US international sent a thumping header past Taylor to give Fulham the lead.

10 min Healy almost doubled the Whites lead when he latched onto Dempsey’s flick on and sent a rasping right footed strike in on Taylor’s goal.

15 min Another promising break down the left flank saw Konchesky deliver a sweet cross to Dempsey on the penalty spot. Ridgewell won the battle in the box and cleared to safety but Fulham’s probing down the left was a real positive for Fulham.

18 min Captain Stefanovic made a crucial intervention as Jaidi broke down the left and crossed into the area. Birmingham earned two successive corners but Fulham defended admirably in very difficult conditions, restricting the home side to one clear opportunity in the first 20 minutes of play.

22 min Birmingham captain Damien Johnson forced Niemi into a fine save from a near post header. Five minutes later Bocanegra almost snatched his second of the game. A free kick from the right was delivered by Davies and Bocanegra challenged Taylor for the ball on the penalty spot. The keeper was fortunate to connect with his punch amongst a host of players and the home side were lucky to escape unscathed.

33 min Once again Konchesky and Bouazza were causing problems down the left and with Healy and Dempsey linking up well in the final third Fulham looked odds on to grab a second. The home side looked particularly vulnerable from set pieces.

39 min The home crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated as half time approached as Fulham’s travelling army of supporters kept warm with some hearty singing.

43 min McSheffrey almost made amends for his early miss before half time with a curling 25 yard free kick. Niemi looked beaten but the ball flew wide. Seconds later Forssell fired into the arms of the Finnish keeper. Birmingham created more opportunities before the break but Fulham deserved their lead at half-time. 

Second Half Action

Birmingham made one change after the break, introducing Mehdi Nafti for Damien Johnson. Ray Lewington retained the same eleven and 4-4-2 formation for the second half.

50 min Both sides created chances down the right flanks in the opening exchanges of the second half. First Bouazza sent in a fine low drive into the near post before Jerome broke free, reaching the by-line and earning a corner for Birmingham.

55 min Goal Birmingham (1-1)

Birmingham’s equaliser came from Sebastian Larsson but the midfielder needed a fortuitous deflection off Omozusi to beat Niemi. After being set free by Muamba, Larsson turned inside Omozusi and his deflected 20 yard strike wrong footed Fulham’s keeper.

57 min The home crowd were roused following Larsson’s goal and Birmingham went on the offensive. Fulham’s response was positive, with Dempsey and Davies both forcing Birmingham into some last ditch defending following crosses into the near post. However neither side could break the deadlock as the hour mark approached.

65 min Birmingham almost took the lead on three occasions in immediate succession following a free-kick from the left flank. Konchesky was booked for a late tackle and from the set piece Niemi produced two outstanding saves to deny the home side.

70 min Hameur Bouazza almost earned Fulham the lead with a vicious left footed strike from 30 yards. Taylor was beaten but the ball skimmed over the cross bar. Seconds later Ray Lewington made his first substitution of the game, replacing Danny Murphy with Alexey Smertin. Birmingham followed suit, bringing on De Ridder for goalscorer, Larsson.

75 min With the game all square, both sides revised their attacking options. Ray Lewington brought on Shefki Kuqi for David Healy and Forssell made way for O’Connor.

80 min Hameur Bouazza was unfortunate to receive his marching orders ten minutes from time. The winger was dismissed for a late challenge on Franck Queudrue but contact was minimal. Simon Davies was next in the book for a late challenge two minutes later.

85 min Despite being a man down Fulham created two good opportunities in the final ten and Simon Davies went close with 25 yard free-kick. At the other end Omozusi defended superbly under pressure as Birmingham attacked down the left flank in the closing stages.

90 min Three minutes of added time were added to Saturday’s game at St. Andrews. Both sides went on the offensive but neither looked like grabbing all three points. On reflection a point a piece was a fair result and Roy Hodgson will now take command ahead of Tuesday’s West London derby at Craven Cottage. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 29 December 2007
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: St Andrew's, Birmingham
Attendance: 28,923

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Birmingham City

Line-up: Taylor; Kelly, Ridgewell, Jaidi, Queudrue; McSheffrey, Johnson (Nafti 46'), Muamba, Larsson (De Ridder 73'); Jerome, Forssell (O'Connor 77')

Unused substitutes: Doyle, Painter


Line-up: Niemi; Omozusi, Bocanegra, Stefanovic, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy (Smertin 70'), Steven Davis, Bouazza; Dempsey, Healy

Unused substitutes: Warner, Leijer, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Kamara

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 20 45
2 Arsenal 19 44
3 Chelsea 20 41
4 Liverpool 18 36
5 Manchester City 19 35
6 Everton 19 33
7 Aston Villa 20 33
8 Portsmouth 20 31
9 West Ham United 19 29
10 Blackburn Rovers 19 27
11 Newcastle United 20 26
12 Tottenham Hotspur 20 24
13 Reading 20 22
14 Middlesbrough 20 20
15 Birmingham City 20 19
16 Bolton Wanderers 20 17
17 Sunderland 20 17
18 Wigan Athletic 20 16
19 Fulham 20 15
20 Derby County 19 7
Birmingham City (4-4-2)
  • 1Maik Taylor
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 6Liam Ridgewell
  • 15Radhi Jaidi
  • 20Franck Queudrue
  • 19Gary McSheffrey
  • 22Damien Johnson
  • 26Fabrice Muamba
  • 7Sebastian Larsson
  • 10Cameron Jerome
  • 9Mikael Forssell
  • 13Colin Doyle
  • 20Marcos Painter
  • 12Mehdi Nafti
  • 20Daniel De Ridder
  • 11Garry O'Connor
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 29Antti Niemi
  • 22Elliot Omozusi
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 6Dejan Stefanovic
  • 4Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 27Danny Murphy
  • 10Steven Davis
  • 24Hameur Bouazza
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 31David Healy
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 37Adrian Leijer
  • 7Seol Ki-Hyeon
  • 8Alexei Smertin
  • 11Diomansy Kamara