Birmingham 2 Huddersfield 0: Harry Redknapp edges Blues towards survival

Tom Doyle
Joy for Redknapp as Birmingham win: Getty Images

Harry Redknapp secured a vital victory for Birmingham City on Saturday as the 10-man Blues beat Huddersfield 2-0 at St Andrew's.

Redknapp took over the Blues after Gianfranco Zola resigned on Easter Monday, though lost his opening game in charge in the midlands derby against Aston Villa.

Birmingham forward Che Adams was shown a straight red for a poor challenge on Martin Cranie after just 25 minutes, but Jonathan Grounds headed in four minutes before the interval.

The hosts held out and even added another through Craig Gardner's penalty 14 minutes from time, leaving the Blues' fate in their own hands heading into the final game of the season at Bristol City.

The result could not have come at a better time as 10-man Birmingham recorded only their third win in 24 League games.

Despite the success Blackburn's 1-0 win over Aston Villa means that Birmingham's future will now be decided on the last day of the season at Bristol City.

In a battling, nail-biting performance the win was achieved against all the odds as Birmingham certainly did not make it easy for themselves.

Their hopes of a vital victory seemingly nose-dived on the back of two early incidents when Lukas Jutkiewicz missed a penalty and shortly afterwards Che Adams received a straight red card.

Huddersfield - assured a play-off place after beating Wolves on Tuesday - made 10 changes, which did not go down well with the home fans.

Despite their much changed line-up it was Huddersfield who created some early promising moves with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis gliding a low shot just wide of the far post.

In a tense atmosphere Birmingham then wasted a glorious opportunity to go ahead from the penalty spot. In only the eighth minute Adams was brought down by Mark Hudson.

Jutkiewicz blasted in a low spot kick but goalkeeper Joel Coleman dived to his right to make a fine save.

Worse was to follow for Birmingham. In the 22nd minute Adams was sent off for a challenge on Martin Cranie to make Birmingham's survival task even harder.

The departure of Evans changed the whole complexion of the game as Birmingham struggled to dictate the game which became heated and bad tempered on occasions

One pleasing aspect of Huddersfield's performance was the cultured play of Phillip Billing.

But in the 40th minute the home side took the lead. Craig Gardner's cross from the right was headed back across the goal by Jutkiewicz and Grounds forced the ball home at the near post.

Birmingham put the game to bed in the 75th minute. Jacques Maghoma was brought down in the area by Tommy Smith and Gardner lashed home the penalty to the relief of the home crowd.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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