Emre breaks Blues' hearts
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle defeated Birmingham with Maik Taylor at fault with Emre's winner.
Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce must have been left cursing his luck as the 19th-placed side in The Premiership slipped to an undeserved 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United.
Newcastle, the team that tried to lure Bruce to the North East as manager, were prompting groans from their supporters with a tepid performance that was doing little to suggest they would secure maximum points.
That was until Maik Taylor made a total hash of a powerful, but extremely saveable, shot from Emre Belozoglu with 12 minutes remaining and it was always going to be enough to defeat Bruce's Blues.
Although the tackles were flying in on a greasy surface, it was a dull opening half. Taylor pushed out an awkward free kick from Emre but most of the action in the opening 45 minutes involved shouts for penalties.
Stan Lazaridis fell under a sliding challenge from Scott Parker and was yellow-carded by Mike Dean for diving. At the other end, the ball hit Matthew Upson's hand during a scramble but again Dean refused to point to the spot. Michael Owen also had a half-hearted appeal waved away by the official.
Nolberto Solano crashed a free kick into the side-netting before Jiri Jarosik finally registered Blues' first shots with two long-range attempts.
Belying their lowly position, Birmingham dictated much of the play after the interval with Jarosik a constant threat.
The Chelsea loanee shot over the top following a run by Jermaine Pennant and then produced a moment of sheer class. A poor touch by Emile Heskey did not stop the ball finding its way to Jarosik, possibly via the striker's hand, and his thumping 30-yarder beat Shay Given but clipped the woodwork.
The shot deserved a goal but Upson should have got on the scoresheet soon afterwards when somehow nodding a free header wide from Neil Kilkenny's free kick. A neat move then saw Kilkenny feed Heskey but his drive was kept out by Given.
You sensed the visitors would pay for not breaking the deadlock and, after firing a free kick over the bar, Emre grabbed the winner. Owen took an age before passing up the opportunity to shoot, instead finding Celestine Babayaro who touched it to substitute Shola Ameobi. Finally, the shot came from Emre and, even though the chance looked to have gone, Taylor could only stick out a hand and divert it into the net.
Despite a double substitution, Blues were never going to find a goal so Newcastle continue their upturn in form, even though this result may paper over some of the cracks at St James' Park.
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|Newcastle United||Team Name||Birmingham City|
|3||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||1|
|4||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||5|
|21||Total Fouls Conceded||18|