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Birmingham City v Albion - from St Andrew's
This live event has finished
- Final: Birmingham 0 Albion 1
- First win of the season for Seagulls
- Recalled Crofts on target (73)
- Albion create first half chances
- Blues hit bar twice in second half
- Six pages of coverage in The Argus on Monday
Albion fans chorused the name of Oscar Garcia as the win was secured.
Kuszczak fisted away a dangerous cross in a congested goalmouth as Albion looked to hold on for the win.
Ince's miskick then put them in trouble - but Green got them off the hook by heading well wide when the ball was delivered back into the box.
Barnes was booked for a foul, giving Blues another chance to put a high ball into the area.
But Calderon headed away and Barnes completed the clearance.
Final: Birmingham 0 Albion 1
Greer looked unfortunate to be penalised on the edge of his own box as the game entered added time.
But the resulting free-kick, chipped into the box by Elliott, was met by a clearing diving header by Calderon.
Randolph kept Birmingham in the contest with a point-blank save from Upson's powerful header at a corner.
Attendance: 14,885 (1,174 away)
Both teams made a change for the final push, striker Green going on for Allan for the hosts and Agustien making way for Ince for the Seagulls.
B'HAM 0 ALBION 1: Warren Aspinall "Ive been saying Agustein should be getting much further forward, I should be a manager!" @OfficialBHAFC— @BBCSussexSport 17 August 2013
Burke was looking to run at Albion defenders. He teed up Elliott for a shot that was blocked in the area - and half-hearted home claims for handball were waved away.
Eardley was next in the book for clattering into the back of Barnes. Before play resumed, Birmingham sent on Arthur for Ferguson.
Last #bhafc goal for Crofts was in his first spell, 27th March 2010 v Tranmere at Withdean.— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
Albion produced the sort of passing which had marked their first-half display on 73 minutes - and it brought a goal. They worked the ball to Agustien outside the box to the right of goal and he waited for Crofts to make a run outside him before playing the pass. CROFTS drilled a low shot across Randolph and inside the far post.
Burke, a big favourite at St Andrew's, replaced Shinnie as Blues made their first change.
Albion then sent on Barnes - a goalscorer at this venue last season - for Buckley.
Albion, though, created a great chance at the other end on the hour after good work by Ulloa to get hold of possession on the left and look for support. The ball eventually reached Agustien, who burst through a tackle but saw his full-blooded drive well blocked by Randolph.
Calderon was penalised as he tried to force his way past a defender to reach the rebound and, before play could resume, David Lopez made way for Forster-Caskey.
The sub's first job was to clear a cross at the far post. Then Greer made a terrific block in the goalmouth to poke the ball away from Novak.
Home fans momentarily cheered a goal when Adeyemi's shot from outside the box was deflected low past Kuszczak. But the ball had actually gone just the wrong side of the post from a home point of view.
More purpose about Birmingham since the break. Suspect Clark demanded they raised the tempo. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
Albion were coming under pressure now. Ferguson got into a great position on the left edge of the box near the byline but failed to pick out a colleague with his cross, which was delivered under no pressure.
Alert work by Ulloa at the other end set up a shooting chance for Crofts, whose effort hit a defender in front of goal. Ulloa drilled the rebound well wide.
Birmingham, though, were by now looking the more dangerous side.
The buffeted Ulloa's had back treatment for the second time in the match. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
This was much better from Birmingham and, when Albion failed to deal with a long ball, Novak tried his luck from the same sort of range as Shinnie moments earlier and - like his sidekick - saw his blast hit the top of the bar and go over.
Birmingham's fans at last found their voices as they responded to their side's bright start to the half.
Ferguson offered the first hint of second-half danger with a cross which drifted across goal before Albion cleared.
Allan, though, looked the home player most likely to make things happen. He worked space just outside the box and laid the ball off to Shinnie, whose well-struck drive hit the top of the bar and flew over.
Second half is in progress
0-0 at the break. Openings dried up but #bhafc had four decent ones in the first quarter of the contest.— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
Shinnie got in a decent position to the left of goal as the half drew to a close but his tame shot was easily held by Kuszczak.
Then David Lopez poked a pass through the Blues back line and Randolph had to be brave as he dived at the feet of Ulloa to grab the ball.
Half: Birmingham 0 Albion 0
Eardley had looked lively at right wing-back. Birmingham were at last starting to get left-sided Ferguson, on loan from Newcastle, into the game as well. His cross was blocked by Calderon at the cost of a corner. But, when the ball was delivered high to the far post, Kuszczak held it cleanly.
RT @AndyNaylorArgus: OG has complained about missed chances in the first three games. He will be doing the same again at this rate. #bhafc— @AlbionChat 17 August 2013
Hesistant play in possession by Agustien gave Blues the chance to launch an attack which saw Shinnie's goalbound shot well blocked by the covering Greer.
David Lopez was having his most creative game of the season so far. But he dug in at the other end with a terrific tackle just outside his own box to nick the ball away from Allan.
With Birmingham coming more into the game around the half-hour mark, Allan tried an ambitious volley from a long way out which dipped a yard or two over Kuszczak's crossbar.
In a rare moment of Birmingham menace, Shinnie ran with the ball into the area but Upson stepped in and guided it back to Kuszczak.
City came again and Greer had to be alert to head away Eardley's cross.
A poor pass by Ulloa gave Shinnie the chance to run at Albion from just inside their own half and Greer's obstruction to halt his progress earned the skipper a yellow card.
But, when the free-kick was lofted into the box, Ulloa made amends by heading clear and then volleying the follow-up cross out of harm's way.
Ward just too high from 25yds (22). Fifth attempt already for #bhafc, including two on target. Playing well, need to make it tell.— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
The feeling that Albion should, by now, have taken their fourth early lead of the season was reinforced on 21 minutes when David Lopez got Ulloa in behind the defence.
The striker tried to check back on to his right foot and ultimately could only manage to poke what was a very good chance gently past the post.
City were then at full stretch to prevent Ulloa reaching a far post cross. The resulting corner was worked short and across to the centrally located Ward, who blasted narrowly over from 25 yards.
Randolph has been earning good reviews since his summer switch from Motherwell and the Irish goalkeeper was alert to block a downward header from Ulloa right on his line after Buckley crossed from the left byline. Both Albion players involved looked hungrier than their markers to get to the ball.
At St Andrews, Scott Allen and Wade Elliott have had efforts at goal but Brighton look the better side so far. #bcfc 0-0— @sportbbcwm 17 August 2013
RT @_ShaneIreland: Brighton fans at Birmingham. #bcfc #bhafc @Awaydays23 @awaydays_— @Brighton_RT 17 August 2013
Thje free-kick eventually led to Agustien drilling a shot into the home goalmouth but City cleared after a couple of ricochets.
The home crowd were in subdued mood - but they were somewhat relieved when ref Hooper brought play back to award Albion a free-kick in midfield as they looked to be developing a dangerous attack. Robinson was booked for his foul on Buckley.
Early chance for Agustien against club he served on loan from a quick Lopez free-kick. Couldn't make up his mind and chipped wide. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
Albion, though, had made a composed start and they should have tested Randolph for the first time on seven minutes.
David Lopez got the ball in to Agustien breaking into the box in the inside-left channel and he jinked past a defender - only to be caught in two minds over whether to chip for goal or to the far post and eventually do something in between the two.
Then Buckley thumped in a volley which Randolph held.
Kuszczak, back at the ground were he has had dramatically contrasting fortunes in the past, came out to hold the game's first cross very confidently above his head as Albion defended the goal closest to their own supporters.
The visitors then got Calderon to the byline but his low cross was cleared.
Birmingham's 3-5-2 set-up demanded that their wing-backs get forward. Eardley did just that after a neat passing move in their own half but Upson moved across to capably deal with the danger and win the ball back.
Allan had the first shot of the game with a free-kick drilled low from 25 yards but Kuszczak got down sharply to his right to hold.
Buckley is drifting towards the left and David Lopez further right.
Albion fans have the corner section away to my right at the Raiilway End. Albion will defend that end in this first half.
There are no fans actually behind that goal. Birmingham are in the other corner.
Match is under way.
Teams are out with Albion in yellow shirts, black shorts and yelllow socks.
Upson received a mix of applause and boos when his name was read out.
That tallies with what we were told beforehand. The local newspaper reporter advised me Upson would get a decent reception, then Upson himself said he expected it to be hostile!
Guessing Buckley will start left flank and David right. Could be the opposite. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
Lots of empty seats at St Andrews. Wasn't like that when Matt Upson was defending for Birmingham. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 17 August 2013
My first tweet brought news of a Sussex success in Birmingham today. Sid The Shark of Sussex CCC won the mascot race on t20 finals days at Edgbaston. Will there be more to follow?
@SussexCCC well done Sid the Shark on winning the 2013 Mascot race #legend #gosbts— @SussexWCA 17 August 2013
Ward, Andrews and Crofts in for Maksimenko, Ince and Barnes today. Here's your link for team news...
So then, is today the day? Or will Oscar's first win as head coach of Albion have to wait until, shall we say, mañana.
All will be revealed on the St Andrew's pitch right in front of me over the next two hours.
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