Birmingham 1-3 Preston: Harry Redknapp leaves after defeat
Last Updated: 16/09/17 8:05pm
Birmingham parted company with manager Harry Redknapp after throwing away a lead to lose 3-1 against Preston at St Andrew's.
Daniel Johnson cancelled out Maxime Colin's opener for the Blues before forward duo Jordan Hugill and Tom Barkhuizen struck soon afterwards. It was a second win in a week for the Lilywhites, who had ended Cardiff's unbeaten start to the Championship season on Tuesday, and they have now collected 11 points from their last available 15.
While Preston are flying high in fourth, Birmingham slipped to their sixth successive defeat in all competitions to leave the Blues second from bottom with four points from eight fixtures - and now managerless following Redknapp's departure.
Their afternoon was compounded by a leg injury to Jason Lowe, who lasted just two minutes on his home debut following his move from Blackburn on Deadline Day.
Two minutes later another newcomer, Harlee Dean, very nearly marked his St Andrew's debut with an own goal and only a reflex save by David Stockdale prevented Preston taking the lead.
The visitors played with the confidence of a team in the top six and there was a high tempo about their game despite Hugill and Josh Earl collecting disputed yellow cards in the first half hour.
A spell of intensive Birmingham pressure finally paid off in the 35th minute and it was another newcomer in Colin who broke the stalemate. There appeared little danger as Colin gained possession near the byline but he cleverly wrong footed Calum Woods and ran inside to hammer home a low angled shot past Chris Maxwell.
There was a more positive attacking policy from Preston early in the second half when both Sean Maguire and Josh Harrop tested Stockdale with long-range efforts.
This pressure eventually paid off in the 55th minute. Johnson gained possession and advanced unchecked to equalise with a blistering 25-yard low shot which easily beat the slow moving Stockdale.
Preston took full advantage of Birmingham's disorganised defence when Hugill put the Lilywhites ahead on the hour. The Preston striker cut in from the left and Stockdale had little chance with his powerful shot which went home at the near post.
North End put the game out of Birmingham's reach in the 67th minute, with Maguire coolly putting Barkhuizen in possession to score in front of an empty goal.
Harry Redknapp (who later parted company with Birmingham): "We have got to lift ourselves. There is a team waiting to gel but we have suffered several injuries to key players. Fans deserve better and that was my motivation to carry on this season.
"I do not come to work because I need the money, I enjoy the job and leaving home at 5.15 every morning. I would love to be the manager to bring some success to Birmingham."
Alex Neil: "I made the players aware at half-time that I expected more from them in the second half. I got the response I wanted and I could not have asked any more. We had bits of quality to finish off moves we had at the time.
"I cannot speak highly enough of the squad. There are so many things that have happened over the last weeks we have had to contend with including my two captains and several other squad players. I gave them a hard time at half-time and they responded well to come back after trailing by a single goal."