Huckerby punishes Blues
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Norwich earned a point on their travels against struggling Birmingham.A battling second half performance from Norwich earned them a 1-1 draw against Birmingham at St Andrews.
Steve Bruce's Blues side are going through a crisis of confidence at the moment, and despite yet again leading at half time through Clinton Morrison's header, The Canaries managed to grab a share of the points through Darren Huckerby.
It had all looked so different as Birmingham had dominated the first half, and should perhaps have scored more than Morrison's solitary goal.
Blues looked a more confident outfit throughout the half and Heskey gave an early indication of his aerial dominance when David Dunn flicked on a Robbie Savage free kick and Heskey climbed highest, only to power his effort over the bar.
Within ten minutes the hosts had claimed the lead, and again it was Heskey's heading ability that opened the door.
Mario Melchiot had done well on the right and when Heskey's thumping header beat Robert Green but struck the face of the bar the ball fell kindly for the lurking Morrison however, and he made no mistake with a gleeful diving header into the empty net.
Norwich had a free kick narrowly over and Dunn a shot charged down, before Huckerby wasted a fine chance to level.
Matt Svensson was the architect sending a fine ball through the legs of his marker to set Huckerby free, but after doing everything right, the Canaries striker dragged his shot woefully wide across the front of Maik Taylor's goal.
Morrison was looking lively and a fine one-two with Heskey brought a good effort that Green was grateful to find was straight down his throat.
The Irish striker then drew an even better save from Green when his shot on the turn brought an acrobatic tip-over from the England hopeful.
Green's saves gave Norwich fresh heart after the break, as Jesper Gronkjaer's arrival seemed to extinguish Birmingham's spark.
Taylor had to be alert to a half chance soon after the break, and only Huckerby's poor control stopped him again going through against the goalkeeper.
But an equaliser that had looked anything but likely through the opening 45 minutes, suddenly seemed probable and it was duly provided by Blues keeper Taylor.
A seemingly innocuous cross appeared to catch the Northern Ireland keeper napping and his ineffectual fist away fell for David Bentley.
Bentley's delicate ball back across the box was narrowly too high for substitute Leon McKenzie, but his faint touch took the ball to Huckerby at the far post - and the former Leeds man lashed home gleefully to level.
It could have been even better for Nigel Worthington's side, with the lively McKenzie turning and shooting narrowly wide, whilst at the other end Green comfortably took another Morrison header.
Either side could have plucked a winner from the scrappy close. Huckerby fired a shot narrowly over after drifting across the face of the defence, and Birmingham substitute Stephen Clemence saw a powerful effort from outside the box fly high, before watching Savage waste a close range header from his cross.
So another draw for a disappointing Birmingham side, and whilst Norwich will be delighted that their second half endeavours were rewarded, Bruce will be asking just why his side become so poor after half time.
|Birmingham City||Team Name||Norwich City|
|10||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||3|
|6||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||4|
|14||Total Fouls Conceded||14|