FULL TIME: Birmingham City 1 Wanderers 2
WANDERERS have lift off!
Goals from Jermaine Beckford and Neil Danns handed Dougie Freedman’s side a hard-earned win at St Andrew’s but it was wing wonder Liam Feeney who once again stole the show.
The on-loan Millwall man created both goals and was a constant menace down the right flank.
All the talk pre-match had been about Wanderers’ mis-firing strikers and the absence of David Ngog from the bench was a telling one.
But Beckford, who had improved dramatically against Blackpool on Tuesday night, provided an emphatic answer to his critics with a well-taken 12th minute strike.
His first league goal of the season came with some help from the home side, with defender Dan Burn totally mistracking a long ball out of the back from Liam Fenney. Beckford kept his cool, and while the woodwork denied him at Bloomfield Road, this time he found the target.
For a few brief moments the Whites threatened to double their lead. Neil Danns went close with a drive from distance but Chris Burke helped the home side get into the game and they finished the half stronger.
Whether they should have had a full complement of players is another matter – with referee David Coote missing a clear foul by ex-Wanderers defender Paul Robinson on goalscorer Beckford just outside the penalty box.
Adam Bogdan was called upon to make one world class save from Callum Reilly, whose curling shot looked destined for the bottom corner before the Hungarian keeper scrambled across to push the ball wide.
The new look defence got a thorough examination by half time but stood firm despite a flurry of dangerous crosses from Burke.
It was more of the same into the second half as on-loan Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard also started to get into the game.
Andy Shinnie should have done better with a header close to goal and Tom Adeyemi had a shot blocked by Medo after a big scramble in the box.
But Wanderers came within a lick of paint of a second when Feeney got round David Murphy to deliver a perfect ball for Beckford, whose header cannoned down off the bar.
Moments later, the on-loan Millwall winger produced another superb centre, misjudged by Darren Randolph who palmed the ball into Danns’ path leaving him the simple task of nodding it over the line.
The added aerial threat of Zigic still caused issues for the Whites’ back line, and led to the Blues getting back into the game a few minutes later.
Murphy’s free kick found the big striker at the far post and his header drifted over Bogdan and into the net via a touch from fellow sub Lee Novak.
Freedman threw on Zat Knight for Darren Pratley to combat Zigic’s presence and it was clear it was going to be backs to the wall stuff until the end.
Feeney always looked an outlet on the right and had either Beckford or Chung-Yong got a telling touch on his cross 20 minutes from the end, the nerves may have been settled somewhat.
Birmingham had a huge claim for handball a few minutes from time when Feeney charged down a Reilly shot with his hands well above his head – but ref Coote turned away the home appeals and signalled a corner.
Wanderers survived, though, and finally broke their winning duck at the 11th time of asking.