Dublin leveller gives Lions edge
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The former Aston Villa man scored a typically superb headed goal to cancel out a volleyed opener by Bryan Hughes - and in doing so put his side in the driving seat in the tie.
The first period saw both sides understandably look nervous, and the home advantage seemingly pile more pressure on The Blues.
Millwall looked sharp on the break, and in Neil Harris they have a mobile forward more than capable of punishing a lapse in concentration.
However, Birmingham's defence stood firm marshalled by Darren Purse and the excellent Olivier Tebily.
At the other end of the pitch Geoff Horsfield and Stern John ploughed a lonely furrow with little to feed off from a midfield that looked reticent to try things.
Harris, Dublin and Tim Cahill prodded and probed without ever really troubling Nico Vaesen in the Birmingham goal.
The second half brought more pressure from Millwall, with Cahill missing a glorious chance to grab a vital away goal, failing to make contact with a low cross along the six-yard box, and then heading the resultant corner narrowly side.
Yet it was Birmingham that grabbed the first goal - and midfielder Bryan Hughes that scored it.
A 56th-minute scramble in the area wound its way back to the influential Martin Grainger who - with the crowd demanding a shot - chose instead to dink the ball over the onrushing defence to the back post.
Although the ball looped over intended target Horsfield, Hughes had made an intelligent run into the box and his carefully judged volley bounced past Tony Warner and inside the far post, to the delight of most of St Andrews.
But Millwall knew that their play deserved something and when the superb Steven Reid delivered a simply perfect right footed cross, the travelling fans saw Dublin rise to head home a goal that has become a trademark in a prolific career.
Birmingham looked shell-shocked, and could have conceded a second when substitute Steve Claridge tumbled in the box only for penalty appeals to be waved away.
All in all a draw seems a fair result, and Millwall will hope to use their home advantage to great effect in the second leg as they chase a place in the play-off final.
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Birmingham v Millwall