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15:20 1th May 2011

Ten Men Blues Hold Out

Birmingham City1 (Larsson 27)

Wolves 1 (Fletcher-pen 7)

Wolves had to be satisfied with a point from a keenly contested derby game with Birmingham at St Andrews.

Blues had to play for an hour with ten men following the dismissal of Craig Gardner but, facing a packed defence, Wanderers failed to take advantage of the extra man.

George Elokobi made an earlier than expected return at left-back and Kevin Foley returned in right midfield with Christophe Berra and the injured Michael Kightly the men missing from the team that had started against Stoke.

Michael Mancienne moved into central defence and Stephen Ward partnered Steven Fletcher in the attack in a 4-4-2 formation.

Wolves kicked-off defending the Railway End and within the first minute Foley had a shot blocked after a cross from Karl Henry with Jamie O'Hara hitting the rebound wide from just outside the area.

But Wolves had their supporters cheering as they took a seventh minute lead through a Fletcher penalty. The spot kick was awarded after Ben Foster clattered into Ward who was chasing Matt Jarvis' through pass after the winger had picked up a poor clearance from the keeper. Fletcher rolled the ball home after sending Foster the wrong way (pictured).

Just a minute later O'Hara and Gardner were shown the yellow card - O'Hara for fouling the midfielder and the Blues man for his angry reaction.

There was a let off for the visitors after Richard Stearman had fouled Gardner right on the 18-yard line. Seb Larsson's free-kick curled over the wall and smacked against the face of the crossbar before being cleared.

Foster had little difficulty in gathering a Stearman header after O'Hara had pumped a free-kick into the box, then Roger Johnson just beat Ward to the ball after a back heel from Fletcher opened up the Blues defence.

Just seconds later City were level after a mistake by Mancienne whose misdirected header from a long clearance dropped nicely for Larsson to bury a low shot past Wayne Hennessey.

With the home crowd still celebrating, Blues were reduced to ten men when Gardner was sent-off. He went down as Jody Craddock ran in to challenge and was booked for diving - his second yellow card.

Alex McLeish immediately withdrew Wolves nemesis Kevin Phillips and sent on Jean Beausejour.

Craddock was the next to go into the book for late challenge on Cameron Jerome.

Foley had a good chance two minutes before the break after Ward knocked down a Jarvis centre but he hurried his shot and the ball bobbled wide of the mark.

In stoppage time, Ward's hooked effort was blocked by a defender and, at the other end, Craddock had to clear from Lee Bowyer who was closing in on another Larsson free-kick.

Half-Time: Blues 1 Wolves 1

Stearman was replaced at half-time by Adam Hammill who took his normal position on the wing whilst Foley dropped to right-back.

Hammill was soon involved and Foster was fortunate to have the ball bounce off the winger for a goal kick after he had to leave his area to cover.

Henry was shown the yellow card after a heavy challenge on Bowyer before Foley was harshly penalised for a foul on Beausejour to the left of the Wolves box with Larsson's free-kick curling a couple of feet over the bar.

Jarvis dispossessed Beausejour just outside the home box but then fired well over the bar after crossing the 18-yard line. A few seconds later Jarvis was withdrawn with Stephen Hunt taking his place.

With the home side packing their defence, opportunities for Wolves were few and far between and when O'Hara did get in a long distance drive, Foster made an easy diving save.

Bowyer joined the list of bookings for a foul on Hammill.

Foster punched clear a dangerous Elokobi centre before Mick McCarthy made a final change for the last few minutes with Sam Vokes taking the place of the industrious Ward.

Stephen Carr threw himself in the way of a Hammill drive and that was followed by a scramble in the Blues area after Hunt's cross was headed out to Henry.

The Wolves skipper drilled a low drive into the six-yard box and the ball pinged about for a few seconds with Fletcher in the thick of things but unable to get a shot in. The danger eased for City when Hammill handled the ball.

Blues: Foster, Carr (capt), Bowyer, Johnson, Ridgewell, Larsson, Gardner, Phillips (Beausejour 32), Jerome, Ferguson, Jiranek.

Unused subs: Doyle, Derbyshire, Fahey, Parnaby, Hleb, Davies.

Bookings: Foster (6 - foul), Gardner (8 - retaliation, 29 - diving), Bowyer (79 - foul).

Sending-Off: Gardner (29 - two bookable offences).

Wolves: Hennessey, Stearman (Hammill 45), Elokobi, Henry (capt), Craddock, Mancienne, Foley, Ward (Vokes 83), Fletcher, O'Hara, Jarvis (Hunt 67).

Unused subs: Hahnemann, Berra, Milijaś, Guedioura.

Bookings: O'Hara (8 - foul), Craddock (33 - foul), Henry (54 - foul).

Referee: K. Friend.

Attendance: 26,072 (2,492 away supporters).

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.