April 30, 2014 by bluenosebible
Birmingham City 0-1 Wigan Athletic
Written by: Oliver Osborn
Birmingham City’s Championship fate will be decided on the final day of the season after losing at home to Wigan Athletic.
The result means Lee Clark’s side will have to rely on other results to stay in the second tier for another season.
It also means Blues have equalled the Football League record for the most games without a home victory after failing to win a league match at St. Andrews game since October 1st.
An early goal from Callum McManaman sealed victory for the Latics and guaranteed their place in the play offs.
With Tom Thorpe picking up an ankle injury against Leeds United, Hayden Mullins was recalled from his loan at Notts County and thrown right in at the deep end into the starting line up.
The veteran utility man could only look on as McManaman gave Wigan the lead inside the opening three minutes.
After intercepting Scott Allan’s pass, Jordi Gomez played the ball out wide to McManaman, who’d moved out to the left.
Blues couldn’t have wished for a worst start to the game, especially with the 20,000 crowd giving them their full support that has been missing for the majority of the season.
Unlike the previous three matches, one goal didn’t result in more as the side kept Uwe Rosler’s side at bay without really creating many chances of their own.
Emyr Huws continued to receive the plaudits for another good performance against an experienced Wigan midfield, but his effort on the half hour mark was well saved by Scott Carson.
From a tight angle on the right hand side of the box, the Welshman attempted a curling effort into the opposite top corner before Carson palmed away Blues’ best chance of the half.
The introduction of Nikola Zigic at half time for what was probably his last ever game at St. Andrews raised the spirits and meant the home side could play two upfront.
But Blues still struggled to create chances as the three Wigan defenders dealt with the long ball very well and frustrated the Serbian.
The visitors causing a threat on the counter attack and had Martyn Waghorn pulled back to Gomez rather than fire a shot into the side netting, they may have had a less nervy end to the game.
Knowing an equaliser would pull them out of the relegation zone, Birmingham piled on the pressure in injury time, but a chance that fell for Mullins right at the death was kept out again by Carson.
The final whistle brought to an end the home woes for Blues over this campaign with the last match of the season away to Bolton Wanderers.
A win wouldn’t necessarily be good enough for survival, but if they better Doncaster’s result, they’ll be playing in the Championship next season.
After a home run of 23 games and just two victories, a quote from 13 year old Kieran Corcoran on the Goalzone phone-in summed it all up; “The only team scared of playing at St. Andrews this season was Birmingham City.”
Birmingham City manager Lee Clark on his team’s home form:
“It’s not good enough for us, for me or the players, but most importantly not good enough for the fans. They’re the ones I’m feeling for.
“It’s imperative we get a result on Saturday. Our away form has been very good. But like I’ve said many times, the players need to walk the walk when they get out on the grass and deliver what’s got to be delivered.”
Wigan manager Uwe Rosler:
“Overall the achievement from when I came in on 9 December has been fantastic. The effort the players have put in is monumental to get to 73 points in such a short time.
“We’re not over excited, we’re keeping calm and we know what we want to achieve but we’ve achieved the first hurdle, though there are more hurdles to come.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Mullins, Spector, Hancox; Adeyemi (Shinnie 83′), Huws; Burke, Allan (Ibe 60′), Novak (Zigic HT); Macheda
Subs not used: Doyle, Martin, Reilly, Gray
Man of the match: Rob Kiernan