December 15, 2013 by bluenosebible
AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Birmingham City
Written by: Oliver Osborn (The Bluenose Bible)
Birmingham City recorded their third successive away win and sixth match unbeaten with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium.
First half goals from Andrew Shinnie and Nikola Zigic guided the Blues to their first away win over the Cherries since 1991 and move six points clear of the relegation zone.
The away side couldn’t have wished for a better start to the game as Shinnie opened the scoring within three minutes.
Olly Lee was played into the right channel by Chris Burke before the holding midfielder put in a fantastic low cross.
The Bluenoses may have been celebrating, but it was the Scot who breathed the biggest sigh of relief out of the Blues’ travelling party after a disappointing start since his move to England.
Eddie Howe’s men responded well with Marc Pugh and Charlie Daniels looking threatening down the left.
But it was from the right where Bournemouth created their first chance as Lewis Grabban had Darren Randolph scrambling across his goal to make a save from Matt Richie’s cross.
The Blues’ goalkeeper’s inspired form paid off just after the half hour mark as Serbian striker Zigic doubled the lead for his side.
The Cherries pushed to try and grab a goal back just before half time, but their best chance came from Grabban as the club’s top scorer went through one-on-one with Randolph and could only drag his effort wide of the far post.
Bournemouth came out fighting again after the break, but the home side still couldn’t find a way past Randolph in the Birmingham goal.
Marc Pugh did well to control Simon Francis’ deep cross before stinging the palms of the Irish ‘keeper with a powerful effort from six yards out.
At the other end, Manchester United loanee, Jesse Lingard, had a great chance to put the game beyond doubt, but a great last-ditch from Tommy Elphick denied the midfielder his first goal for Birmingham away from home.
One final set of chances came the way of Bournemouth with the full time whistle approaching as Randolph made two superb saves from Ryan Fraser and Tokelo Rantie to keep only the side’s fourth clean sheet of the season.
After picking up the three points, Lee Clark’s side move up five places in the table to 14th, whereas Bournemouth drop to 17th with two crucial games against Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil coming up.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe:
“It is difficult to sum up as I thought we were excellent.
“We were on a high going into the game and but for the early goal I thought we would have won the game comfortably.
“We did everything but score and were the most dominant team. I wouldn’t change much about the performance, the level was very high. If we give that performance on average over 10 games we will probably win nine of them.”
Birmingham manager Lee Clark:
“We are well aware of what is going on below us, we are not oblivious to that, but we do want to look at what is going on above us and try and crawl that deficit back.
“I knew all along when we had a few indifferent results at the start, and we had one or two blips along the way with not good enough performances, that the lads had given me everything.
“Confidence is high and they are now believing in each other and what we are telling them to do, as it is working. We have got to keep it going.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Bartley, Burn, Robinson; Lee, Adeyemi, Burke (McLean 62′), Lingard (Reilly 75′), Shinnie; Zigic
Subs not used: Doyle, Bell, Mullins, Brown, Gray
Man of the match: Darren Randolph