Blues move level with Royals
James McFadden's penalty gave Birmingham a 1-0 win at Ipswich and took the Blues level with Reading.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 26/12/08 10:22pm
James McFadden's penalty gave Birmingham a 1-0 win at Ipswich and took the Blues level on points with Reading.
The Scotland international put Alex McLeish's side into a 39th-minute lead and the Premier League hopefuls held on to move within seven points of Championship leaders Wolves.
Birmingham saw Reading leapfrog them into second place last weekend but bounced back to winning ways at Portman Road as the home side continue to struggle in 13th place.
Ivan Campo won a surprise recall for his first appearance in over two months in the Ipswich back four and the former Bolton and Real Madrid man was instantly involved.
Intricate passing in the Birmingham midfield ended with Cameron Jerome being played in down the left-hand side of the penalty area and his powerful shot looked to be heading for the target until Campo turned it round a post with a sliding block.
Liam Ridgewell then produced an excellent challenge of his own to deny Danny Haynes at the other end before Alan Quinn sent a powerful strike just wide as Jim Magilton's side stepped up the pressure.
The impressive Haynes then fashioned a chance for Jonathan Stead but his shot was blocked by Radhi Jaidi before Haynes was forced off with an injury.
Jerome was ploughing a lone furrow in attack for Birmingham and again created a moment of panic when he turned and lashed a shot over from the edge of the area before the Blues opened the scoring.
Kemy Agustien's cross struck Moritz Volz's arm and referee Iain Williamson immediately pointed to the spot.
McFadden made no mistake and planted his strike into the bottom left corner.
Jon Walters had come off the bench to replace Haynes and went close at the start of the second half but his low shot sailed a few yards wide before fellow substitute Darren Ambrose went close.
Ambrose cleverly placed his free-kick under the wall but Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor made a sprawling stop.
The visitors began to control possession in midfield and the impressive Agustien came close to grabbing a second with 15 minutes remaining.
Franck Queudrue played the ball square from the left flank and Agustien drove into the area and smashed a left-footed strike toward the top corner but Richard Wright produced a fine save to turn the ball away.
That proved to be the final moment of quality as McLeish's side moved back onto the tails of Reading and leaders Wolves.