Birmingham 1-0 West Ham United FT

Barclays Premier League
Birmingham City v West Ham United
St. Andrews
Saturday 12 December
Referee: Lee Mason



Final score - Birmingham City 1-0 West Ham United

96 mins - That's it. Green clears the ball and Mason blows for full-time. Again, West Ham will feel hard done by on the road. They return to action at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday evening.

92 mins - Birmingham make two changes. McFadden and Benitez go off, with Kevin Phillips and Keith Fahey coming on.

91 mins - Birmingham break and Green shows he's still alert by making a fine low save to deny Bowyer a second goal. He can't prevent the corner, though.

90 mins - West Ham force three quick corners, the third of which sees Parker's low shot deflected wide. Number four is half-cleared to Collison, who wins another corner, which is finally punted clear by Hart. We're going to have five added minutes.

89 mins - Carr fells Dyer just outside the penalty area. Collison takes the free-kick and Ferguson heads clear brilliantly. Parker works the ball out to Diamanti, who forces a corner.

87 mins - Jerome should wrap the game up for Birmingham when he skips past last-man Faubert, only to drag his shot wide of the post from the edge of the penalty area.

86 mins - How are the Hammer losing this? Joe Hart, that's how. The on-loan Manchester City goalkeeper makes a great block to deny Franco.

84 mins - West Ham are making a real fist of this. Zola makes his third change, bringing on Frank Nouble for Ilunga. He joins Franco up front, with Dyer going out wide on the left.

80 mins - A chance for the ten men. Johnson bumps into Franco just outside the penalty area and Mason gives a free-kick. Diamanti curls the free-kick a foot over the top.

78 mins - Another yellow card, and another one that was thoroughly deserved. Dyer slips Johnson and the defender chops him down. Seconds later, the ball is cleared by Birmingham and Noble tries to get back and tackles Benitez. He just fails to get his foot on the ball and the South American goes down. Mason produces a second yellow and Noble is sent-off.

76 mins - Tomkins proves my point by winning a header to deny Benitez a chance to run on to Ferguson's through ball.

75 mins - Scott Parker drives West Ham forward again. He has been in impressive form again today, and certainly doesn't deserve to end up on the losing side. Tomkins, too, has been strong and assured.

73 mins - Noble is booked for dissent after Collison had been penalised for a foul on McFadden. The Scot takes the resulting free-kick but Franco is able to head clear.

70 mins - Aargh! Dyer runs at the Birmingham defence before curling a shot that bounces back off Hart's far post before being cleared. So, so, so close.

68 mins - Noble's corner is cleared to Parker, who finds Faubert. His pass is good and picks out Ilunga, who heads the ball into the danger area. It falls towards Diamanti, whose shot is blocked superbly.

67 mins - Diamanti is trying his hardest out there. He takes Noble's pass and cuts inside Ridgewell before shooting low. Hart dives full-length and helps the ball out for a corner.

65 mins - Zola is going to make a double change, but it's going to be Dyer and Jack Collison who come on. Before that, however, Birmingham's Ridgewell somehow misses from a yard after Larsson's free-kick had flicked off Tomkins' head.

62 mins - Larsson takes a second corner, but West Ham are able to clear, just!

61 mins - Super save from Green to deny Jerome. Franco had given the ball away inside the City half with West Ham having committed four men forward. McFadden found Jerome, but Green was able to beat his fierce shot out for a corner. The ball is headed by a Birmingham player but hits a Hammer on the way out.

60 mins - Another yellow card, this time for Ridgewell, who is penalised for bringing down Diamanti. West Ham have a free-kick ten yards inside the City half.

59 mins - Nouble is also doing some stretches. Will Zola make a double change?

57 mins - Stanislas concedes a free-kick wide on the right. McFadden curls the ball in and Franco heads clear.

54 mins - There are 3,667 West Ham fans in the crowd of 28,203 here at St Andrews. They are going to have a miserable journey home unless the away side can find a goal here. Dyer is out warming up. Maybe he can be the man to turn things around?

52 mins - GOAL! Stanislas gives the ball away. Jerome picks up possession before Benitez slips in Bowyer, who slots past Green from inside the penalty area.

51 mins - Another chance for Diamanti, who takes Franco's poke and turns back on his left foot. He tries to curl the ball into the far top-corner, but it floats just wide.

50 mins - Bowyer leaves Diamanti in a heap near the touchline. A free-kick but no booking for the ex-Hammer. Diamanti gets up curls a superb ball over the Birmingham defence to Gabbidon. The defender tries to square for Franco, but the ball rolls behind the striker to safety.

48 mins - West Ham break and Franco shoots. It is blocked behind for a corner, which Diamanti balloons miles out of play past the far post.

47 mins - Benitez has the ball in the net and half the fans in the ground think he's scored. The offside flag goes up as he puts the ball in the net, but replays suggest he may well have been onside. Hmmm....

46 mins - Ferguson and Benitez kick-off... The visiting fans are in good voice and start the second period with a rousing 'Bubbles'. Good work.

Birmingham are first out after the break. No sign of the Hammers just yet. Here they come! The Blues will get us back underway here. It's certainly got a bit colder now the sun has gone down.

Half-time score - Birmingham City 0-0 West Ham United

48 mins - Mason blows his whistle and that's half-time.

46 mins - Into the first of two added minutes and Diamanti gives the ball away to Benitez before rugby tackling the South American. I think that was a yellow card, and referee Mason agrees.

45 mins - Right on the stroke of half-time, Jerome should score, but he can only head over from Ridgewell's left-wing cross. That was a great chance.

43 mins - Good defending by Ilunga there. He nipped in just in the nick of time to steal the ball from Bowyer. The midfielder looked to have stolen a yard from Benitez's pass.

40 mins - Carr gets well forward and his cross hits Gabbidon. Ilunga can only head out for a corner. Gabbidon heads clear and Bowyer screws the loose ball out for a throw-in.

39 mins - Better from Stanislas, who picks the ball up 40 yards out, turns away from his marker and shoots. He hits it well, but it's fairly comfortable for Hart. Birmingham break and McFadden's cross is deflected towards Bowyer, but the former Hammer's shot bounces through to Green.

36 mins - Blimey! Franco shows some neat skill to turn on Noble's pass inside the box. He tries to keep his balance but cannot. Mason waves away any penalty appeals.

35 mins - This is getting a bit exciting. Benitez goes through on goal but pokes his shot straight at Green. The ball flies up in the air and Green has no idea where it is. Benitez hooks goalwards but the ball hits Green in the chest before he is finally able to claim it!

34 mins - Birmingham win another corner and take it quickly, but Faubert heads clear.

33 mins - Diamanti again! Franco heads the ball down and Diamanti takes a touch before curling the ball a yard wide with Hart beaten.

32 mins - So close from Diamanti! Faubert finds the Italian with a neat pass, Diamanti takes the ball down and runs through a challenge from Bowyer before lashing the bouncing ball into the side netting from 18 yards. It was about 18 inches wide, that.

31 mins - Stanislas is involved in a move that ends with Diamanti trying to play in Franco, but his pass is overhit and runs out for a goal kick.

30 mins - Birmingham throw the ball back to Green and Stanislas is waved back on.

28 mins - City win another free-kick wide on the left. Larsson crosses and Kovac heads clear, Parker launches a counter-attack that ends with Stanislas picking up a knock. Eventually, the ball is kicked out and the physio is back on to treat the winger. It looked like a foul by McFadden on replay, but referee Mason gave nothing. Dyer is out warming up on the touchline.

25 mins - Tomkins wins the ball well from Jerome, and Parker finds Diamanti. The Italian crosses towards Franco, but the Mexican is offside.

24 mins - Birmingham have another spell of pressure inside the West Ham half, which ends with a left-foot shot from Benitez that skips through into Green's arms.

21 mins - Larsson finds Benitez inside the box. He holds off Faubert, but the full-back does enough to ensure the striker's shot is tame and rolls through to Green.

19 mins - Larsson's corner is only half-cleared by Noble straight to Bowyer. He finds Benitez wide on the right and then bursts into the box, but can only divert the Ecuadorean's cross past the far post.

18 mins - McFadden curls in the ball left-footed and Faubert can only head the ball out for a corner on the other side.

17 mins - Gabbidon gives away a cheap free-kick wide on the right in challenging Benitez. McFadden curls in a vicious ball and Green punches behind for a corner under pressure from Ridgewell.

16 mins - Noble takes the free-kick short to Stanislas, who cuts inside and lets fly with a well-struck shot that Hart can only grab at the second attempt. Good, positive play from the winger.

15 mins - Ferguson follows Kovac into the book for kicking the ball away after Carr had fouled Franco.

14 mins - Larsson's set piece hits the wall before Gabbidon completes the clearance.

13 mins - McFadden trots across after Ilunga had conceded another corner. Green does well to punch clear, but City keep up the pressure and Franco brings down Bowyer in a dangerous position five yards outside the penalty area.

11 mins - Kovac will have to be careful after becoming the first player booked by referee Mason. The Czech has no complaints after making a late lunge and bringing down Johnson on halfway.

10 mins - West Ham are still down to ten as Ilunga receives some treatment to a cut to his left ear. No matter, as the Hammers put together their first serious attack, which ends with Diamanti curling a shot over from 25 yards. Ilunga rejoins the fray before Hart takes the resulting goal kick.

8 mins - Larsson's cross is blocked by Parker. Ilunga attempts to clear the ball and is caught in the side of the head by Carr's boot. The physio is on to treat the DR Congo man. The clash was a complete accident, and it looks like Ilunga will be fit to continue in a short while.

7 mins -  A neat spell of City possession ends with Ridgewell clipping the ball over Ilunga for Larsson, but his header is weak and easily claimed by Green.

5 mins - The second corner is headed over his own crossbar by Herita Ilunga, before the third is cleared easily to lift the early pressure on the Hammers.

4 mins - Birmingham force their first corner of the afternoon through Lee Bowyer. Sebastian Larsson will take an inswinger with his right foot. The Swede curls the ball in and Roger Johnson flicks on at the near post, forcing Green into a low save. Liam Ridgewell then shoots from close-range and Green parries the ball behind.

2 mins - Not much to report either on. Both sides have launched attacks, but to no avail. Behind Robert Green's goal, a row of at least ten Santas have made the trip up from east London.

1 mins - It looks like Franco is going to play up front on his own, with Kovac in front of the back four and a flat four across the midfield.

3pm - Scott Parker and Alessandro Diamanti will get us underway...

2.59pm - The stadium announcer introduces West Ham's left-back as 'Henry Ilunga'. The mascots leave the pitch and we're nearly ready for kick-off.

2.58pm - Julien Faubert is wearing some interesting lime green boots. Junior Stanislas, meanwhile, has light blue ones to match his socks. Very fetching.

2.56pm - Here come the two teams to the strains of 'The Tamperer'. A classic dance tune, if I do say so myself. The atmosphere is certainly lively here in the second city. West Ham are sporting claret shirts, light blue shorts and claret socks.

Good afternoon and welcome to a chilly but bright St Andrews for West Ham United's Barclays Premier League visit to Birmingham City.

Gianfranco Zola has made three changes to the side that went down 4-0 at Manchester United a week ago.

At right-back, Julien Faubert returns for his first start since the 3-3 draw at Hull City on 21 November in place of Jonathan Spector. In midfield, Mark Noble comes in for Jack Collison, who drops to the substitutes bench. Finally, Alessandro Diamanti makes his first start since the 2-1 loss at Stoke City on 17 October in place of the injured Zavon Hines.

Alex McLeish has named two former Hammers in his starting lineup, with ex-Academy student Liam Ridgewell at left-back and Lee Bowyer in the centre of midfield.

The Blues are on a run of six matches unbeaten in the top-flight, and have won their last three Barclays Premier League fixtures against Fulham (1-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-0) and Wigan Athletic (3-2). City have conceded four goals in seven home league games in 2009/10.

West Ham are looking for their first away league win since triumphing 2-0 at Wolves on 15 August. However, the Hammers are two matches unbeaten away from the Boleyn Ground courtesy of draws at Sunderland (2-2) and Hull City (3-3).

The Hammers' most recent visit to St Andrews came on 18 August 2007, when Mark Noble's penalty secured a 1-0 victory. West Ham are unbeaten in six visits - five of them wins - to the blue half of Birmingham, a run dating back to 17 August 1985.

Birmingham City: Hart, Carr, Dann, Johnson, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, McFadden (Phillips 90), Jerome, Benitez (Fahey 90)
Subs: Maik Taylor, Vignal, Carsley, O'Shea, McSheffrey

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Gabbidon, Ilunga (Nouble 82), Kovac (Dyer 67), Parker, Noble, Diamanti, Stanislas (Collison 68), Franco
Subs: Kurucz, Spector, Da Costa, Payne