Birmingham 3-1 Sunderland: Blues win relegation clash
Last Updated: 30/01/18 11:01pm
Birmingham climbed out of the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone for the first time in two months after a comprehensive 3-1 win over drop rivals Sunderland.
Goals from David Davis, Jeremie Boga and Sam Gallagher earned Steve Cotterill's side a deserved victory at St Andrew's.
It lifted them to 20th, a point above the bottom three, while wretched Sunderland sit second bottom and two points behind Blues.
This was the first time Birmingham had scored three goals or more in a league game since October 2016. Bryan Oviedo netted a late consolation for Sunderland.
The Black Cats survived a warning after 10 minutes when Gallagher planted a header over from Boga's free-kick. David Stockdale then made a meal of Oviedo's bouncing shot but it was a rare Sunderland chance.
Former Everton man Oviedo produced a goal-saving tackle after 22 minutes to deny Jacques Maghoma when Gallagher's cross bypassed Robbin Ruiter.
Goalkeeper Ruiter has failed to impress at Sunderland this season and he added another blunder to his collection when the hosts opened the scoring after 28 minutes.
Maghoma and Davis swapped passes to send former Wolves man Davis clear down the right and his low shot squeezed under Ruiter and over the line.
The goal knocked Sunderland's confidence and they went 2-0 down to the improving hosts a minute before half-time. Maghoma was again the architect and his delicious cross was headed in by the on-rushing Boga from 10 yards.
Sunderland's horror show continued nine minutes after the break when calamity goalkeeper Ruiter gifted Birmingham a third. He was easily beaten to the ball by Davis and the midfielder cut it back for the unmarked Gallagher to roll in and seal the game.
Gallagher and Jota nearly added a fourth for Birmingham - who had previously scored just eight home goals this season - with Sunderland well beaten.
But Oviedo, who also hit the post, grabbed an 83rd-minute consolation when he volleyed in at the far post.
Steve Cotterill: "It's more about being out of the bottom three at the end of the season than it is now but we said if we won tonight and results went our way we could get out of it. Now we have to carry on like we have done in the last two or three months to make sure we stay out of it.
"There has been a lot of hard work and we haven't got the points we've deserved but the performances have been really good."
Chris Coleman: "It's unacceptable, that's the word. We can't even begin to accept that. All over the pitch for an hour we were second best. I don't get it. These games are cup finals for us.
"You win and you lose but the manner of the first hour, which was surprising considering where we are and who we were playing."