English Premiership

Zigic late show shatters Stoke

2011-02-12 20:08
Nikola Zigic (AFP)

Birmingham - Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic scored a stoppage time winner to clinch a 1-0 victory over Stoke at St Andrews on Saturday.

Zigic headed in a Cameron Jerome cross at the end of a dour clash to lift Birmingham three points clear of the relegation zone.

Alex McLeish's side, who achieved back-to-back league wins for the first time in 14 months, were the first to threaten when Zigic powered a header over the bar from Sebastian Larsson's cross.

Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic was called into action for the first time in blocking a header from Liam Ridgewell after Barry Ferguson had headed a cleared free-kick from Larsson back into the box.

Blues keeper Ben Foster, who had recovered from the thumb injury which ruled him out of England's friendly with Denmark, went down to cling onto a deflected drive from Jon Walters.

Stoke enjoyed a spell of possession and John Carew had a shot blocked by Ridgewell inside the box.

Jermaine Pennant, who had a spell on loan at Birmingham earlier in his career, curled a free-kick past the post after being brought down by Larsson.

Begovic needed two attempts to hold onto a dipping drive from Craig Gardner although Obafemi Martins was better placed ahead of him inside the box.

Birmingham started the second half on the offensive and a 50-yard crossfield ball from Gardner was controlled by Larsson who cut inside before sending a dipping drive just wide.

But at the other end Carew was only just off target with an angled effort.

Blues had a strong appeal for a penalty rejected when Robert Huth appeared to block a fierce drive from Bentley with his hand.

Huth went down clutching his face even though replays showed the ball had struck his hand.

McLeish brought on Jerome for Martins with 15 minutes remaining and he teed up Roger Johnson but he dragged his shot wide as Birmingham searched for the winner.

Then in injury-time Zigic headed the winner from close range from a Jerome centre after Begovic had parried David Bentley's drive.

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