It doesn't take a footballing expert to see that Birmingham have struggled to settle in to the Championship this season following their relegation from the Premier League. The Carling cup winners prior to yesterday had picked up just two wins all campaign, both at home, whilst losing their last 3 games and picking up only a point away from home.

The Reds however have arguably had a brighter spell lately, after failing to yet pick up a win at their usual fortress Oakwell, the Reds have turned to their impressive away form this season, where they are yet to be beaten. The Reds came into the game on a run of 4 unbeaten games, perhaps feeling a little frustrated to have only picked up 2 points out of 6 at home, which were more than deserved but for slight lapses of concentration.

The blues named a line-up full of Premiership, and now European experience with former Hull man Boaz Myhill starting in goal, a back four of: Carr, Caldwell, Davies and Ridgewell, midfield four of: Spector, Beausejour, Burke and Redmond and a front 2 of Marlon King and former Reds' loanee Chris Wood. The Reds started with a comparatively less experienced side, with one change from last week's starting line up against Watford, Matt Done coming in for Middlesbrough loanee Cameron Park.

It was the Reds who were to take the game to Birmingham, starting brightly with quick attacking sequences through the midfield, with Gray and Butterfield providing the hold up play to bring widemen Matt Done and Jim O'Brien into the game. The game was to gain controversy early, with the first booking and injury of the game coming in only the 6th minute when Curtis Davies brought down Barnsley left-back Jay McEvely after a dangerous looking counter from the Reds' man. The foul was cynical and was met with boos from the vocal Barnsley support, however justice was to be done as not only did Davies receive a booking, but he also had to be substituted after injuring himself during the challenge.

The Reds were to dominate the first half, with Birmingham's only response appearing to be the ability to foul Barnsley men, or the occasional counter attack. The Reds knocked at the door throughout the half however the blues were to keep them at bay. The Reds' momentum was threatened in the 29th minute when the impressive Matt Done was substituted for youngster Jordan Clark after picking up a minor injury whilst running. The Reds however weren't to suffer from Done's absence as Jacob Butterfield hit a stunning strike 4 minutes later from 30 yards to give Barnsley the lead they deserved. This perhaps did invite Birmingham into the game more, however the Reds were successful in maintaining the all important half time lead.

The second half began with the addition of the first bit of noise from the increasingly frustrated home crowd, who looked on expectantly for a response from Chris Hughton's side. It was the Reds who were to maintain the majority of possession however, with more impressive sequences of passing through the midfield. The Reds received a further lift with the injury of Boaz Myhill, who continued to scream to the bench requesting he be substituted, only to be ignored by Blues' manager Hughton. Barnsley were unable to take advantage however, with youngster Jordan Clark providing the only true test to Myhill from a curling shot.

The game was to change in the 64th minute, with the Blues bringing on the huge Nikola Zigic to replace Chris Wood. The Blues appeared to abandon all footballing morals, continuing to play down Barnsley's throat and into the 6 ft 7" Serbian. The Reds initially coped well, however the towering striker seemed to provide his side with some confidence, forcing Barnsley into a change with Miles Addison replacing Jordan Clark to man-mark the Birmingham talisman. The Reds were still on top however and would have doubled their lead had it not been for the crossbar to deny Danny Drinkwater in the 72nd minute.

The game began to fizzle out and it looked like the Reds were coping, however the Reds were to suffer a nightmare finish to a match they dominated when former Cardiff man Chris Burke struck in the 85th minute to score an equaliser which by no means was deserved. The Reds nearly gave the game away completely only 2 minutes later when Marlon King hit the post. The Reds were to regain their momentum following the shot however, with McEvely and O'Brien continually firing in crosses, but to no avail.

The game finished 1-1 with the Reds again dominating a game but unable to capitalise. However this signalled a five game unbeaten run, as well as the Reds still being unbeaten away after 4 games, already beating last season's record. The Reds now look to Tuesday's game away at high flying Derby County, where they have infact enjoyed relative success in recent years, for their 2nd win of the campaign.

Man of the match: David Perkins. Although hardly mentioned in this report, Perkins was instrumental to the performance, with the tireless midfielder continuing to get in crunching tackles and pick out perfect passes. He does the little things well to bring in flair players like Butterfield into the game, and without him the Reds would be a shadow of the team they are.



Steele - 6, Hassell - 7, Foster - 7, McNulty - 6, McEvely - 6, Perkins - 8, Drinkwater - 7, Butterfield (c) - 7, O'Brien - 7, Done - 6, Gray - 7

Subs - Clark for Done - 6, Addison for Clark - n/a


Myhill - 8, Carr (c) - 6, Caldwell - 6, Ridgewell - 7, Davies - n/a, Beausejour - 5, Spector - 5, Redmond - 6, Burke - 6, King - 6, Wood - 4

Subs: Murphy for Davies - 6, Elliot for Spector - 6, Zigic for Wood - 6

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