Birmingham City moved back into a play-off place after a closely contested 1-1 draw against Cardiff City at St. Andrew’s on Sunday.
All the significant action came in the second half where Cardiff’s Mark Hudson cancelled out Erik Huseklepp’s opener to take a share of the points; this after Marlon King had a penalty saved by David Marshall.
Before the game, there was a minute’s applause for Fabrice Muamba, who is recovering in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane last weekend.
The Bolton midfielder spent two years at St. Andrew’s earlier in his career and both teams wore shirts bearing a picture of Muamba and ‘26’ – the number he wore at Blues – whilst warming up.
It was a game of few chances, in truth, with the first effort on goal coming from the visitors, although Joe Mason’s shot went high and wide of Boaz Myhill’s goal.
Icelandic midfielder Aron Gunnarsson was a threat all game with his long-throws and one of them early on led to Birmingham-born Ben Turner fizzing another Cardiff chance wide.
Blues’ first chance of the game came when on-loan midfielder Guirane N’Daw shot straight at Marshall from distance and Mason again fired wide before the break.
The second half started much brighter with an early effort from Birmingham’s Jordon Mutch from a Wade Elliott free kick going just past the post.
Mutch was again involved soon after. A Birmingham City breakaway resulted in the youngster being fouled inside the box by Don Cowie, referee Andy D’Urso pointing to the spot.
Jamaican striker King stepped up but his poor penalty was saved by Marshall low to his right just before the hour mark.
Poor defending from Peter Ramage led to a Cardiff corner on 68 minutes; however a brilliant counter-attack saw Chris Hughton’s team take the lead.
Former Bluebird Chris Burke got away from his old side’s defence to put the ball into the path of the Norwegian Huseklepp, on loan from debt-ridden Portsmouth, to tap home from close range.
Malky Mackay’s side soon equalised after another one of Gunnarsson’s long-throws eventually came out to Peter Whittingham, whose cross was volleyed in on the slide by centre-half Hudson, just ten minutes after Birmingham went ahead.
Neither keeper had much to do on a sunny day in the West Midlands, and it wasn’t until the 83rd minute that substitute Rudy Gestede forced a save out of Myhill.
The point leaves both teams tied on 60 points in the nPower Championship; however the home team’s superior goal difference sees them move up to 5th in the table while the Welsh side remain in 8th.