Birmingham 3-0 Preston: Declan Rudd howler sparks second-half Lilywhites collapse
Maikel Kieftenbeld's hopeful effort slipped through the legs of the Preston 'keeper
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/12/18 7:36pm
Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd helped to hand Birmingham a 3-0 Sky Bet Championship victory after making a huge mistake at St Andrew's.
With no one around him, Rudd completely missed Maikel Kieftenbeld's hopeful punt into the area and watched in horror as the ball rolled between his legs and into the net to hand Birmingham a 46th-minute lead.
Jacques Maghoma then made the game safe for Birmingham with their second goal in the 61st minute before Che Adams added a third 13 minutes from time.
The win extended Birmingham's unbeaten home run in the league to 15 games while it brought to an end Preston's run of nine games without defeat.
Dominant Birmingham made the initial early running with Lukas Jutkiewicz seeing a second-minute header flash wide from Kristian Pedersen's cross before City captain Michael Morrison had his header from Connor Mahoney's corner saved by Rudd six minutes later.
Preston failed to heed the presence of Morrison in their penalty area and he was again given time and space to meet another Mahoney corner after 13 minutes only to this time steer his header off target.
Birmingham then suffered further frustration in the Preston area when they had claims for a penalty rejected in the 22nd minute after Adams crashed to the ground following a challenge from Jordan Storey, with referee David Webb waving away their appeals for a spot-kick.
After being pegged back for so long, injury-hit Preston then came closest to breaking the deadlock in their first real attack in the 28th minute.
Louis Moult had his back to goal when Paul Gallagher prodded the ball towards him and the former Motherwell striker tried his luck with a spectacular overhead kick that goalkeeper Lee Camp had to push to safety over the bar.
But Birmingham ended the half as they had begun it - on the attack - with Jutkiewicz flashing a shot into the side-netting and finally made the breakthrough at the start of the second period when they were gifted the lead by Rudd's howler.
Birmingham then quickly tried to put the game beyond the reach of Preston with Gary Gardner being denied by Rudd before Maghoma lifted a close-range shot over the bar.
Maghoma proved to be more clinical when a second chance presented itself following a cross from Maxime Colin.
He skilfully controlled the ball on his chest before riding two challenges and volleying home into the far corner of the net from 14 yards.
Adams then added some gloss to the final scoreline when he chased down a pass from Kieftenbeld and curled a low shot past the outstretched hand of Rudd.
Garry Monk: "This club have been facing relegation on the last day in three out of the last five years. We want to show progression. That is all we are focused on.
"We are nowhere near those (promotion chasing) teams as a squad. It is not reality to think that we can compete with them.
"Considering where we have come from, we don't have a magic wand. We are fighting and trying to be better than what we have been before."
Alex Neil: "We are certainly not going to make a scapegoat of him (Rudd).
"He made a mistake. It cost us the first goal but we could then go and repair it which we didn't do. There is a lot more that went wrong than that mistake.
"I don't really need to say much to Declan. To be honest with you I didn't even see it. The ball went over the defender and I turned to follow the ball up the pitch. As a professional player you know you made a mistake and you need to let it go. There is nothing you can do about it now."