English Premiership

Birmingham defeat Burnley

2010-05-01 16:30
Christian Benitez (AP)

Birmingham - Birmingham piled more misery on Burnley with a 2-1 win over the already-relegated team at St Andrew's on Saturday.

Alex McLeish's side were gifted the lead when Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen pushed Cameron Jerome's close-range effort into his own net before Ecuador striker Christian Benitez increased Birmingham's advantage in the final moments of the first half.

Steven Thompson got one back for Burnley late on but the loss compounded their pain after last weekend's confirmation of relegation just a year after winning promotion via the Championship play-offs.

It is the Clarets' woeful away form which has been key to their failure and this was their 17th defeat from 19 away league games.

Burnley's fate had been sealed by defeat against Liverpool and Brian Laws' side, who welcomed back captain Steven Caldwell for his first start in five months after recovering from a groin injury, inevitably seemed to lack any real motivation.

Birmingham, ninth in the table, were unbeaten at St Andrew's since September and immediately laid seige to the Burnley goal.

In the first minute, leading scorer Cameron Jerome did well to create space for himself before sending over an inviting cross for Lee Bowyer but, from six yards out, the midfielder headed wide.

Jerome was a constant threat and he headed over at the near post from a James McFadden corner, then forced Jensen to save with a smart snap-shot.

Birmingham's pressure paid off as they took the lead in the 29th minute.

Bowyer glanced a header across goal from Sebastian Larsson's cross and Jerome poked goalwards before the ball finally crossed the line after a deflection off the hapless Jensen.

Any hopes of a Burnley fightback were ended four minutes before half-time as Benitez celebrated his 24th birthday in style by scoring his first goal at St Andrew's.

Caldwell brought down Jerome to the right of the Burnley box and McFadden's free-kick was headed back across goal by Roger Johnson before Benitez applied the finishing touch at close range.

Burnley began the second half on the offensive and Steven Fletcher fired over before bringing Joe Hart into action with two shots in quick succession.

Their improved attacking quality finally produced a reward in the 87th minute when Thompson beat the offside trap and shot past Joe Hart.

Read more on:    premier league  |  alex mcleish  |  birmingham
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