Given Saves City's Blushes
Sunday 1st November 2009, 4pm
Birmingham held Manchester City to a draw following a less than impressive performance from the visitors.
The newly taken over club gave Abu Dhabi backed City problems all over the pitch and Mark Hughes had the outstanding Shay Given to thank for keeping his side in the game after a string of saves and a supurb penalty stop.
Despite the Citizens run of four consecutive draws in the Premier League, City now move up to fourth place with a game in hand.
Birmingham started the game with purpose and in the ninth minute, Christian Benitez`s 20-yard strike clipped Vincent Kompany and smashed against the upright allowing the visitors the first of many lucky escapes.
Soon after, the diminutive Ecuadorian was allowed time and space to run riot amongst City`s back four yet again, this time Shay Given equal to his second effort of the game, blocking the ball from close range with his body.
In the 18th minute, Shaun Wright-Phillips managed to get a shot away for the Citizens in an attempt to stamp his sides authority on the game, Birmingham`s stand-in keeper initially fumbled the awkward ball but Stephen Carr was on hand to clear the ball from danger.
Birmingham stepped it up a gear and approaching the half-hour mark, McFadden`s long range drive had to be tipped over the bar by the busy Given.
The home side were causing problems all over the pitch for City and there was a distinct look of disorganisation about Mark Hughes` team as they struggled to create chances.
When they did manage to create a chance, stand-in keeper Taylor was there to block from Roque Santa Cruz`s close-range shot after Carlos Tevez and Wright-Phillips had managed to finally open up Birmingham`s defence down the right hand side.
Given was called in action once again as Alex McLiesh`s side continued to have the better of the ball, a powerful shot from Bowyer in the 41st minute was denied by the Ireland international - City lucky to head into the break at 0-0.
Half-time: Birmingham City 0 Manchester City 0
The teams emerged from the tunnel and the second half begun, the visitors starting the half as they had the first, poorly.
Nigel De Jong was correctly adjudged to have handled the ball as he jumped with Larsson, conceding a penalty in the process in just the 56th minute.
Lady luck was surely shining down on City as Given was not just having a good day, he was having a world-class day. The former Newcastle stopper dove the correct way to effortlessly deny McFadden's ill-placed spot-kick and once again prove why he is one of the best in the world.
Stephen Ireland and Martin Petrov were brought on as the game progressed with little improvement, neither player able to influence events on the pitch.
Taylor made a finger-tip save from Carlos Tevez in the 66th minute, but it was a speculative effort and summed up City`s entire performance - not good enough.
Mark Hughes` side finished the game in the ascendency, but that really isn`t saying much considering the level of performance they had put in prior to the hour mark. A few surging runs and desperate attempts barely made an impact as Birmingham saw the game out comfortably to earn a draw in a game that they could have easily won had it not been for the heroics of Given.
Ferguson gained a red card for the hosts after a second yellow to give the game a minor talking point, but truth be told - it was a game to forget.
Full-time: Birmingham City 0 Manchester City 0
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