January 12, 2015 by bluenosebible
Birmingham City 3-1 Wigan Athletic
Written by: Oliver Osborn
Clayton Donaldson scored a hat-trick as Birmingham City gained a 3-1 win over Wigan Athletic at St. Andrews.
The 30-year-old striker scored two early on before picking up a third just after the hour mark.
James McClean pulled one back ten minutes before half-time, but it wasn’t enough to bring the visitors back into the game.
With Donaldson being rested for the FA Cup tie at Blyth Spartans last weekend, the striker showed no signs of rustiness by opening the scoring 67 seconds into the match.
Former Wigan winger David Cotterill latched onto ex-Blues defender Liam Ridgewell’s stray pass and found space to send an inch perfect cross to Donaldson at the far post.
The striker headed the ball back across goal and found the bottom corner, with a little help from the post.
Blues looked to press home their advantage minutes later against the side second bottom of the league, a position they were in when Gary Rowett took over in late October, with Donaldson unable to find the corner from ten yards out.
But Birmingham’s in-form front man didn’t need to wait long to double his tally and the home side’s lead.
A great twisting and turning bit of skill from Andrew Shinnie, one of the many Blues players rejuvenated under Rowett’s reign at St. Andrews, led to the Scot getting a shot away at goal.
His effort cannoned off the post and fell kindly for Donaldson to tap home from close range.
The goal gave Rowett’s men a bit of breathing space and the side began to look comfortable with the lead.
But Wigan managed to pull one back in a spell of the game they dominated both sides of the interval.
As the break approached, Jame McClean received the ball to the right of the box before the Irishman shifted it onto his left foot and fired home a beautiful curling effort that sneaked in off the woodwork.
The goal gave the visitors a confidence boost, but the Lactics weren’t able to find an equaliser with their best chance coming from a long range strike from McClean that was well saved by his compatriot Darren Randolph.
That save proved vital as Blues grabbed a third to put the game beyond doubt and gifted Donaldson his first hat-trick since 2011 (or since his last game against Nottingham Forest, as the striker claims!).
Cotterill’s cross was headed away by Rob Kiernan and straight to Dimarai Gray.
The teenager made a brave header to get the ball to Donaldson, who made no mistake from under Scott Carson’s nose to score his fifth goal in two games and eleventh of the season in all competitions.
It could have been four late on with another Cotterill cross finding Donaldson but, under heavy pressure, the striker couldn’t find the target from almost under the cross bar.
Up next for Birmingham is a trip to Leeds United next Saturday while Wigan entertain Blackburn Rovers.
Birmingham manager Gary Rowett:
“Clayton Donaldson always does so much for the team.
“His role is so pivotal to us and he does it brilliantly, working hard, holding the ball up, chasing things. He’s a real team player and the way he took all three goals – each very different – was excellent.”
Wigan boss Malky Mackay:
” I think we shot ourselves in the foot, giving the ball away in a really poor area and against any team, you’re going to be punished. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb with both of the first half goals.
“Then we settled and getting a goal settled us down more. We were in the ascendancy after that and had two or three chances early in the second half. You’ve got to take those, but we didn’t and then the third goal deflated us.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Davis, Gleeson; Cotterill, Shinnie (Novak 74′), Gray (Thomas 87′); Donaldson
Subs not used: Doyle, Edgar, Spector, Reilly, Zigic,
Man of the match: Clayton Donaldson