Saturday 21 November 2009, 3:00pm at St Andrew's, Birmingham
Barclays Premier League
Birmingham City
1
Bowyer 16'
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Fulham travelled to St. Andrews on Saturday without three key members of their squad. Captain Danny Murphy, Andy Johnson and Diomansy Kamara missed out through injury. All three players are expected to return to full training next week.

16' Goal

Lee Bowyer

67' Yellow Card

Lee Bowyer Card was given for a foul

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Keith Fahey
Off:Christian Benitez

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Damien Duff
Off:Stephen Kelly

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dickson Etuhu
Off:Chris Baird

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham’s starting eleven featured former Birmingham City defender Stephen Kelly at right back in place of John Pantsil, who had played in both of Ghana’s matches during the recent international break.

In midfield Roy Hodgson welcomed back Simon Davies following the Welshman’s successful rehabilitation from an ankle injury. Following his mid-week heartbreak in Paris, Damien Duff featured on the substitutes bench with Zoltan Gera starting on the left hand side of midfield. Clint Dempsey partnered Bobby Zamora in attack.

The players were greeted by torrential rain and a fierce wind as they emerged from the tunnel for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off. The home side got the match underway.

Bobby Zamora provided the first moment of inspiration after 9 minutes of play. Receiving the ball with his back to goal down the right flank the striker produced an exquisite turn to leave his marker, Ridgewell, trailing in his wake. Zamora sprinted free into the penalty area before striking a right-footed effort across goal and just wide of Hart’s far post.

Fulham looked dangerous on the counter attack and three minutes after Zamora’s effort, Zoltan Gera flashed a header just over Hart’s goal from 16 yards, following a fine delivery from Dempsey down the right.

The home side’s first effort on goal came after 13 minutes of play. A delivery from the left flank found Jerome on the six-yard line but Schwarzer was perfectly positioned to save the striker’s headed effort.

Two minutes later Birmingham took the lead through Lee Bowyer. After Gera was dispossessed in central midfield the home side countered down the left flank and McFadden played a deft chip over Fulham’s back line. Bowyer read the pass and raced into the penalty area unchecked before chipping the ball over Schwarzer to hand Birmingham the advantage.

Bowyer’s strike was a bitter pill to swallow for Hodgson’s side after the Whites had made a bright start to the game. After going a goal behind Fulham dominated possession with some calm, assured passages of passing play in difficult conditions.

Fulham looked to utilise the pace and power of Zamora and Dempsey in attack and the pair were full of energy and running during the first period. However for all their effort Fulham could not find a way through Birmingham’s resolute defence.

As half time approached captain Aaron Hughes was left grounded after Ridgewell ran into the defender in the area following a Birmingham free kick. Hughes was forced off the pitch to receive treatment as blood poured from the defender's head wound. The Northern Ireland international was back on the pitch moments later.

Seconds before half time Hangeland headed just over Hart’s cross bar after meeting Davies’ corner 12 yards from goal. It was the final opportunity of the first 45 and Fulham could count themselves desperately unfortunate to be a goal behind at half-time.

Both sides remained unchanged for the second half and Fulham made an excellent start, dominating possession with some slick passing in difficult conditions. The continuous flow of torrential rain saw the ball zip off a sodden pitch but Fulham’s passing remained controlled and precise.

Despite being camped in Birmingham’s half as the hour mark approached, chances were few and far between. Zoltan Gera was handed the first opportunity of the second half after 62 minutes of play.

A cross from the left was controlled superbly on the chest by Zamora in the area. The ball was cushioned into Gera’s path 12 yards from goal but the Hungarian’s volley seared over the cross bar.

It was one-way traffic at St. Andrews as Birmingham failed to muster any attacking play of note as Fulham went in search of an equaliser.

Bowyer was booked after 70 minutes after a blatant foul on Dempsey as the American sprinted through Birmingham’s midfield. Dempsey was on the end of some heavy challenges on Saturday but responded with typical resilience and fight.

Dempsey almost pulled Fulham level moments later after latching onto Kelly’s cross from the right in the area. Dempsey won the aerial battle to head towards the far corner but Hart tipped the ball over the cross bar with a fine fingertip save.

With 15 minutes remaining Roy Hodgson introduced Damien Duff to the fray. Stpehen Kelly made way whilst Davies retreated to right back as Duff took on a more advanced position down Fulham’s right flank.

Dempsey produced a sublime piece of skill on 78 minutes, which almost brought the game level. Receiving the ball at chest height with his back to goal on the 18-yard line, Dempsey attempted an overhead kick but the ball flew just wide of Hart’s goal.

Duff was the next Fulham player to go agonisingly close for Fulham. The Republic of Ireland international fired a fierce 30-yard drive on Hart’s goal but the ball once again went the wrong side of the post.

Roy Hodgson made his second substitution with eight minutes remaining. Dickson Etuhu replaced Chris Baird in central midfield.

How Fulham were not at least on level terms was a mystery. The Whites had dominated possession, created the majority of opportunities on goal and played with greater attacking intent.

However Birmingham's defence held firm and Bowyer's first half goal was to be the deciding factor. Fulham threw everything at the home side in the seond half and will feel justifiably aggrieved at having come away from the game at St. Andrews without anything to show for their efforts.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 21 November 2009
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: St Andrew's, Birmingham
Attendance: 23,659

Referee: Chris Foy

Birmingham City

Line-up: Hart; Carr, Dann, Johnson, Ridgewell; Larsson, Bowyer, Ferguson, McFadden; Jerome, Benitez (Fahey 70')

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Vignal, Mutch, Carsley, Kevin Phillips, McSheffrey

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Kelly (Duff 73'), Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Davies, Baird (Etuhu 80'), Greening, Gera; Zamora, Dempsey

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Pantsil, Smalling, Bjorn Helge Riise, Johnson

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 13 33
2 Arsenal 12 25
3 Manchester United 12 25
4 Aston Villa 13 22
5 Tottenham Hotspur 12 22
6 Manchester City 12 21
7 Liverpool 13 20
8 Sunderland 13 20
9 Burnley 13 17
10 Stoke City 12 16
11 Fulham 12 15
12 Everton 11 15
13 Birmingham City 13 15
14 Wigan Athletic 12 14
15 Blackburn Rovers 11 13
16 Hull City 13 12
17 West Ham United 13 11
18 Bolton Wanderers 11 11
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 10
20 Portsmouth 12 7
Birmingham City (4-4-2)
  • 25Joe Hart
  • 2Stephen Carr
  • 15Scott Dann
  • 5Roger Johnson
  • 6Liam Ridgewell
  • 7Sebastian Larsson
  • 4Lee Bowyer
  • 12Barry Ferguson
  • 16James McFadden
  • 10Cameron Jerome
  • 11Christian Benitez
Substitutes
  • 1Maik Taylor
  • 27Grégory Vignal
  • 12Jordon Mutch
  • 18Keith Fahey
  • 26Lee Carsley
  • 9Kevin Phillips
  • 19Gary McSheffrey
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 29Simon Davies
  • 6Chris Baird
  • 27Jonathan Greening
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 25Bobby Zamora
  • 23Clint Dempsey
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 26Chris Smalling
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 17Bjorn Helge Riise
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 8Andrew Johnson