Terriers too tough for City
Huddersfield stunned a beleagured Birmingham City to steal the win thanks to Chris Brandon's late strike
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 05/01/08 6:29pm
Huddersfield Town stunned a beleagured Birmingham City side to steal the win thanks to Chris Brandon's late strike.
The Terriers certainly lived up to their name and were relentless in pressure from start to finish with solid striker Luke Beckett causing havoc in the Birmingham defence.
Town lifted the roof off the Galpharm Stadium when Danny Schofield's tame effort was parried by Taylor into the path of Beckett who had an easy tap-in.
City equalised against the run of play in similar fashion after Fabrice Muamba's surging run and placed shot fell to the feet of Garry O'Connor and the Scotland forward made no mistake.
Huddersfield deserved something out of the game and, after a scrappy period of play, Beckett found himself down the right wing with space to loft in a cross to the backpost which was coolly volleyed home by Brandon.
After just three minutes, the hosts were ahead when Schofield took possession in a deep-lying position but was not tackled as he strode into Birmingham territory.
He made light work of Radhi Jaidi's attempted block and after a quick give-and-go in the penalty area, he unleashed a shot at Maik Taylor.
Taylor spilled the scuffed effort but Beckett was first to the loose ball and he stabbed home into an empty net to kickstart the home crowd.
After 13 minutes, Town goalkeeper Matt Glennon was on hand to save Mikael Forssell's low drive at the near post.
Brandon, meanwhile, was causing problems at the other end and twice earned corners by attacking the static City defence.
But a quick break following a corner drew the visitors level in the 20th minute.
Taylor set Daniel de Ridder free down the left and he played in Muamba, who shrugged off Robbie Williams' attentions to make room for a shot.
Glennon got a firm hand to it but when the ball broke it found O'Connor, who slotted home with ease.
The equaliser steadied Birmingham and only a linesman's flag stopped them taking the lead after 24 minutes.
De Ridder was again the architect, breaking at pace and curling a cross high into the Huddersfield penalty box.
The ball took a deflection on its way to O'Connor who poked his shot past Glennon on the volley before seeing his celebrations cut short by an offside verdict.
The match remained open and the home team continued to play their part, Beckett and Malvin Kamara combining to give McLeish's side another scare after half an hour.
The lively Brandon climbed highest from a free-kick, and he was unfortunate to be denied by a combination of Taylor and the woodwork.
Immediately after the restart, a hopeful punt up field landed at the feet of O'Connor 20 yards out but he could not force a meaningful save from Glennon.
Joe Skarz, a half-time substitute, presented Town with their first chance of the second half, fizzing a cross in from the left and finding the unlikely figure of Andy Holdsworth in the six-yard box, but the skipper made a hash of the finish as the goal beckoned.
Birmingham then took the initiative, Gary McSheffrey and O'Connor both having passable shots.
McLeish introduced Cameron Jerome - who played for the Terriers as a schoolboy - and the former Cardiff man immediately offered a different threat, harrying the defence with pace and brawn, but the crowd delighted in an overhit first touch which sent the ball skidding out of play.
Jerome fluffed his lines again, rolling the ball into touch when attempting a simple pass.
Instead it was Brandon who was left to claim the winner. Beckett, clearly tiring but charging manfully down the wing, heaved a cross deep into the danger area.
As Liam Ridgewell and Jaidi were pulled to the near post, Brandon was given space at the opposite upright to drill home his volley.