Bowyer earns Blues point on debut
Lee Bowyer's first goal for Birmingham City salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to Cardiff City.
Last Updated: 17/01/09 6:00pm
Lee Bowyer's first goal for Birmingham City salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to fellow promotion contenders Cardiff City.
Last season's FA Cup runners-up appeared on course for an important three points after Joe Ledley broke the deadlock just past the hour mark.
But midfielder Bowyer, on loan from West Ham United, arrived on cue in the final minute to mark his debut with the equaliser.
Alex McLeish made six changes to his Blues XI from the side knocked out of the FA Cup in midweek with January signings Bowyer, Scott Sinclair and Hameur Bouazza all making their debuts.
Cardiff boss Dave Jones, however, kept faith with the same side that beat Reading in the cup two weeks ago.
Blues attacked from the first whistle with Kevin McNaughton appearing to block the lively Bouazza's left-wing cross with his hand inside the opening minute although nothing was given, before Cameron Jerome twice came close to breaking the deadlock.
Maik Taylor had to be alert to tip Jay Bothroyd's powerful strike over the bar at the other end before Paul Parry prodded inches wide in an exciting start to the encounter.
Both sides continued to attack at pace and Ledley was guilty of blazing a good chance over from the edge of the area after 20 minutes.
Cardiff hustled and kept the ball well as the half wore on but the threat both sides showed in the final third slowly disappeared.
Radhi Jaidi looked to receive an elbow to the face in the penalty area during the closing stages of the half but referee Michael Jones waved away the protests.
There was a fairly low-key start to the second half with neither side troubling the scoreline.
But all that should have changed 10 minutes into the second half as substitute Chris Burke, making his debut for the Bluebirds, burst clear through on goal after Ledley's pass.
Yet a combination of keeper and defence came to Blues' rescue.
Nevertheless, Cardiff took the lead they deserved on the overall balance of play just minutes later. Burke whipped a cross in from the right and Jaidi could only half clear to Ledley who finished in style.
Blues had to take the game to their opponents and Lee Carsley's turn and snap-shot forced Enckelman into a fine save midway through the second half.
But the home side were not doing enough to find a way back into the game as the encounter went into the final 15 minutes.
Bowyer, though, popped up in the right place at the right time to snatch a share of the spoils for the hosts in dramatic style.