Blues finish on a high
By Steve Luckings
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Stern John's double, Stephen Clemence and a Bryan Hughes effort were enough to comfortably win the game for Steve Bruce's men in a match they dominated.
John gave Bruce's men the perfect start with a goal after just eight minutes when he dropped deep to collect a ball from Jamie Clapham and had time to turn and unleash a devilish low right-foot shot from 25 yards that gave Azmin no chance as it fizzed into the side netting.
Malaysia's best player from their opening game against Chelsea, Akmal Rizal, provided the only real spark for the hosts and it was he who gave Ian Bennett his first test in City's goal when he cut in from the right hand side and let fly on 21 minutes with an awkward left foot effort from outside the box that went through Darren Purse's legs and the big keeper did well to push it away for a corner after slipping as he attempted to dive low to his left.
Recent recruit David Dunn nearly got off the mark for his new team two minutes later but his free-kick from the edge of the box did not dip in time and Purse had a volley saved by Azmin's feet, although the shot-stopper can feel a tad fortunate with the save, seeing as how he had his back to the shot.
Australian star Stan Lazaridis and England stopper Matthew Upson came on for Purse and Dunn in the second half and it was Lazaridis who supplied the left-wing cross for John to grab his second on 50 minutes as he steered the ball home from close range.
The St Andrews outfit then made it three on 77 minutes thanks to woeful defending and goalkeeping when Paul Devlin's deep curling cross from the left was headed in by Clemence, a second half replacement for Clapham, although Azmin's pathetic attempt to keep the ball out will surely displease boss Allan Harris.
Fellow subs Damien Johnson (John) and Hughes (Geoff Horsfield) combined for the latter to score the fourth with nine minutes remaining, as the hosts conceded four goals to a Premiership side for the second time in two days.