Birmingham City v Crystal Palace 21/10/08

BIRMINGHAM CITY 1 V 0 CRYSTAL PALACE

Welcome to tonight's game against Birmingham in St Andrew's, where Neil Warnock has sprung a surprise by including Danny Butterfield in the starting line up. The right back wasn't expected to recover from his hamstring injury in time but it seems he has and he replaced Nathanial Clyne, who drops out of the 16.

Palace: Speroni, Butterfield, Lawrence, Fonte, Hill, Derry, Watson, Carle, Ifill, Moses, Beattie. Subs: Kuqi, Scannell, Danns, Oster, Ertl.

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Queudrue, Martin Taylor, Parnaby, Ridgewell, Larsson, Carsley, Agustien, Jerome, O'Connor, Phillips. Subs: Doyle, Wilson, Nafti, Quashie, Bent.

Should be a tough task this for Palace tonight. Birmingham are the favourites for the Championship and are starting with three out and out strikers, while former Eagle Marcus Bent is on the bench.

2 min: Lawrence forced to stretch to cut out Phillips throughball that would have put Agustien through.

4 min: Moses tries a rather audacious shot from wide on the left but gets it all wrong.

8 min: Ifill just fails to control Beattie's cross at the near post but the defending was good.

11 min: Lawrence needlessly pushed Phillips out wide but Larsson free kick is cleared back out to the Swede who fired over.

14 min: Scrappy football from both sides so far as Butterfield puts Derry in behind the back four and though his cross eventually falls to Watson he can only toe poke wide.

16 min: Carsley has space 30 yards out but fires high and wide.

17 min: Good defending from Queudrue to stop Ifill reaching Watson's cross.

22 min: O'Connor hits the post from inside the box. Queudrue skated past Ifill too easily and played a great ball to O'Connor who cut inside Lawrence but hit the inside of the post. Unlucky and the home side are looking the stronger right now.

25 min: Beattie gets a shot away from 20 yards but it's well wide.

30 min: Most of the Birmingham threat is coming down the left through Queudrue but their front three are looking lively too. Palace have struggled going forward but as I say that Moses skins Taylor but his cross is poor.

32 min: O'Connor hits the post again, this time cutting inside Butterfield and curling towards the top corner only to see it hit the same post as he did ten minutes ago. He then flashes a header wide form Larsson's free kick moments later.

35 min: YELLOW CARD. Lawrence booked for tripping Jerome 20 yards out after a great counter for Brum. Some fans were calling for red but that would have been harsh, Hill was covering.

36 min: Speroni saves Larsson's free-kick low to his to his left. Was a good but comfortable for the Argentine. Birmingham waste the corner.

40 min: If Palace can get to half time level it would be good and hopefully they will play a bit better in the second half. They've been quite disjointed so far.

45 min: One minute added on.

HALF TIME: Birmingham have been the better side this half and should really be ahead through O'Connor. I can't see Palace scoring but they did this plenty of times away from home last season, snatching a win against the odds but they will have to improve considerably after the break.

46 min: Palace eventually make their way out for the second half and we're off again. No changes by either side.

50 min: Not much to talk about second half, Birmingham have been forward a couple of times but created nothing.

51 min: Palace caught napping from a throw and O'Connor is given time and space 30 yards out to shoot but Speroni gathers well at his near post.

54 min: Palace win a free-kick that Watson curls in but it hits the first man. Palace need to make those count.

56 min: O'Connor just fails to control Jerome's chipped cross and Fonte gets back to nick the ball off him. Birmingham players are getting frustrated now. Kuqi is getting ready.

58 min: SUB: Kuqi replaces Moses. Personally I would have taken Ifill off as he hasn't been at the races today. Beattie moves to left wing and Kuqi goes through the middle.

60 min: Great tackle from Taylor stops Kuqi getting a shot away after he nutmegged the big defender.

64 min: Good block from Fonte to step Phillips cutting inside him.

66 min: A short corner ends with Carle shooting miles over with his right. Wasn't a bad chance though.

67 min: Attendance 17,706

69 min: Even better chance for Beattie as he cuts inside Taylor but tries to curl it rather than blast it and it goes about a foot over.

69 min: SUB: Jerome off, Bent on.

72 min: Agustien off, Quashie on.

73 min: Palace having their best spell at the minute but they are not penetrating and I think it's more Birmingham being bad than Palace being good.

76 min: Kuqi tries to chip Taylor from the half way line but hits the corner flag.

80 min: Carle penalised for a perfectly good tackle on the right but Larsson delivery is poor and Palace clear.

82 min: Sub: Carle off, Danns on against his former club.

84 min: Lawrence clears a Larsson cross and Speroni does well to gather the resultant corner.

87 min: Birmingham work it around the edge of the box but O'Connor's shot skews wide.

90 min: Three minutes added on and Birmingham beginning to press.

90 min: Ridgewell heads Larsson's corner wide.

93 min: GOAL! Terrible luck for Palace as Parnaby's shot finds Phillips at the back post and Speroni saves his shot brilliantly only for it to hit O'Connor's chest a yard out and go in. Hard on Palace.

FULL TIME and Derry and Fonte square up with Derry appearing to punch Fonte in the face before racing off down the tunnel. Ugly scenes that weren't needed though the fans don't seem to have seen it. Palace defended ok today and didn't really deserve to lose with the last kick of the game. Next is a long trip to Blackpool on Saturday. See you then.

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