English Premiership

Vital point for Blackburn

2011-04-09 19:09
Steve Kean (File)

Blackburn - Blackburn striker Junior Hoilett punished a Liam Ridgewell blunder to earn a 1-1 draw in Saturday's crucial relegation showdown against Birmingham at Ewood Park.

Steve Kean's side were trailing to Lee Bowyer's first half goal when Birmingham defender Ridgewell gifted possession to Hoilett, who ran clear to stroke in the equaliser just before the break.

The draw moved both teams three points clear of the relegation zone heading into the final weeks of the season.

Rovers carved out a fine chance in the opening seconds when Hoilett threaded a pass to Jermaine Jones in the box but he slipped and the chance went begging.

In a promising start by Rovers, captain Chris Samba came close in the fifth minute when he stooped to head a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick just wide of Ben Foster's right-hand post.

Ryan Nelsen headed a Pedersen corner straight at Ben Foster as the visitors struggled to get a grip on the game

But Birmingham grabbed the lead out of nowhere in the 32nd minute when Bowyer headed home from Cameron Jerome's cross.

Alex McLeish's side came close to making it 2-0 two minutes before the break when David Dunn fouled Craig Gardner and Seb Larsson slammed the free-kick against the post.

A nasty-looking injury to Roger Johnson meant a lengthy period of stoppage time and Blackburn took advantage to draw level.

It was Ridgewell's mistake as he allowed Hoilett to steal the ball and the youngster showed a cool head to round Foster and slot home.

Birmingham looked the better side early in the second half and Larsson once again came close from a free-kick which Paul Robinson saved well.

Rovers came close in the 55th minute when Hoilett crossed for Roque Santa Cruz, who headed against the top of the bar, but neither side could make the decisive breakthrough.

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