Birmingham 2-2 West Ham United FT





Final score - Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham United

95 mins - Dyer wins a free-kick about 40 yards from the Birmingham goal. Last chance to nick it... Parker lifts the ball in and Gabbidon nearly gets on the end of it before a sprawling Foster scoops the ball to safety. Referee Oliver blows for full-time and we can all take a very deep breath. That was one of the most frantic halves of football I have ever seen. Amazing stuff.

94 mins - 30 seconds to go... Ferguson lifts the ball in, Zigic wins it and Green rises high to claim.

93 mins - Piquionne and Cole so nearly combine on the edge of the Birmingham penalty area, but the Blues scramble the ball clear.

92 mins - Ilunga fouls Larsson on halfway. It looks like the Swede has dislocated a finger as he comes straight to the bench for treatment to his hand.

91 mins - Obinna's afternoon is over as he is replaced by Kovac. We're going to have at least four minutes of added-time.

89 mins - Obinna chases back and pushes Carr to the ground about five yards outside the box wide on the right. Larsson will curl the ball in right-footed. Ilunga heads clear....

89 mins - Jerome is replaced by Lee Bowyer for the final few minutes. Surely not...

88 mins - Jerome needs some attention, so Ilunga hammers the ball out of play to allow the physio on.

86 mins - Both sets of players look absolutely knackered. West Ham have possession and are looking to nick this, but they can't find a way through. Jacobsen wants a penalty for shirt pulling, but it's not given. Replays show Beausejour had a massive handful of claret and blue.

83 mins - Dyer is on for Boa Morte. This is breathless stuff, it really is.

82 mins - This game is no good for my nerves. Obinna fires in a low cross that is cleared from about two yards off the line. Ilunga then crosses and Piquionne powers a header just past the angle of post and cross bar.

81 mins - Obinna receives a talking to from Oliver after catching Larsson late. Perhaps more worryingly, Birmingham have another dangerous free-kick. Larsson crosses and Cole wins it in the air.

79 mins - Parker latches on to Piqiuonne's pass but he is eased out by Ferguson. Goal kick to Birmingham.

78 mins - That is a miraculous escape. Jerome gets past Ilunga and Upson and pokes the ball past Green, only for Gabbidon to get back and divert the ball to safety via the underside of his own crossbar!

76 mins - Another chance for the Hammers as Jacobsen gets down the right and crosses. Johnson can only half-clear and Behrami hammers the ball high over the top.

75 mins - West Ham are piling on the pressure, but Birmingham are somehow keeping them out. Parker and Boa Morte both try and find Cole, but they see crosses blocked. Cole then gets the ball inside the box and tries to shoot left-footed, but it's blocked.

73 mins - GOAL! Larsson shoots on target and Green can only push the ball into the path of Ridgewell, who slots the ball into the net from about seven yards. This is ridiculous. Birmingham had not had a kick for an hour.

72 mins - Parker brings down Gardner about 30 yards out just left of centre. Larsson will fancy this one...

70 mins - This is going to be a long 20 minutes... Grant sends Kovac out to warm up along the touchline.

69 mins - This is all-action. Green smashes a free-kick up to the edge of the Birmingham penalty area. Cole controls into the path of Obinna, whose first-time shot is on-target but close enough to Foster to allow the No26 to fall on the ball.

68 mins - It is clear that Birmingham's tactic is now to thump as many high diagonal balls into the West Ham area as possible and hope for a repeat of Jerome's goal.

67 mins - My goodness! Larsson shoots at the near post and Green punches the ball clear to Beausejour, whose fierce left-foot shot is blocked inside his six-yard box by Upson. That was going in...

66 mins - Piqiuonne fouls Jerome and Larsson has another chance to cross from just outside the corner of the penalty area on the left. This is dangerous.

65 mins - All of a sudden, the home fans are alive and cheering their team on. West Ham are on the back foot.

64 mins - GOAL! Birmingham get one back through Jerome. Ridgewell lofts the ball into the penalty area and Zigic knocks it down for Jerome to smash in from close-range. Green kicks the post in frustration.

63 mins - Carr sends the ball in from deep. Zigic beats Gabbidon in the air, but Parker is there to smash the ball upfield.

63 mins - West Ham need to stay positive and go for a third. If they score again, it's game over. If Birmingham get one back, it will be squeaky-bum time for the men in claret and blue.

61 mins - Argh! Obinna does amazingly well, controlling a high ball on his chest before twisting and turning past at least three Birmingham defenders and hammering a shot against the crossbar from 16 yards. The ball flies into the air, but Cole is offside before he challenges Foster.

58 mins - Birmingham make two changes. Hleb and Fahey are replaced by Beausejour and Gardner.

58 mins - GOAL! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant goal by Behrami. Parker nips in to win the ball in midfield before playing a one-two with Cole. He then passes back to Cole, who keeps his composure and rolls the ball across the box to Behrami, who smashes it first-time past Foster.

57 mins - Close again! Obinna crosses into the six-yard box where Cole wins the header, but it flies over the top.

56 mins - Ilunga launches the ball down the touchline where Cole flicks it to Obinna. The Nigerian gives it back to Cole, who crosses low towards Piquionne, but Johnson is there. Moments later, Ilunga finds Boa Morte, who crosses and Cole wins a corner off Dann.

55 mins - The attendance today is 26,474. About 3,000 of them are desperate for the final whistle to be blown right now!

54 mins - Carr gets away from Obinna and drives into space. Parker tackles him and claims he has won the ball, but referee Oliver disagrees. Free-kick about 30 yards out  to the right of Green's goal. Larsson takes and Gabbidon flicks the ball to safety with his head.

53 mins - That is a let-off. Fahey sends the ball into the centre of the penalty area where Larsson has completely lost his marker. Any sort of touch is a goal, but he does not connect and Green collects.

51 mins - Parker takes a free-kick quick to Cole, who finds Obinna. The Nigerian cuts inside and looks to have options inside the penalty area, but he again shoots wildly off-target. You have to admire his confidence...

49 mins - West Ham come again through Obinna, who cuts past Ferguson before shooting low. The effort knocks Johnson off his feet, but the defender does his job and blocks the shot.

48 mins - GOAL! Brilliant stuff from Boa Morte, who releases Piquionne through the middle. He weighs up the situation before driving an inch-perfect strike past Foster and into the bottom left-hand corner.

47 mins - Hleb comes forward dangerously before finding Zigic on the edge of the West Ham box. The big man's touch lets him down and Gabbidon clears.

46 mins - Cole and Piquionne gets us back underway...

The two teams are back out on the pitch. The challenge for the Hammers is to play as well as they did in the opening 45 minutes. If they do, they'll win this game. It doesn't look like either manager is going to make a substitution at the break.

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

47 mins - Green kicks upfield and referee Michael Oliver blows for half-time.

46 mins - We're going to have at least one more minute. Fahey begins it by shooting and seeing the ball deflect wide for a corner off Upson. Larsson takes, the ball is won by a West Ham head and hacked upfield by Obinna. Birmingham come again but Jacobsen tackles Ridgewell and the ball spins behind for a goal kick. That should be that...

45 mins - Howls from the home fans as Jerome launches himself at an overhead kick, but he's already been penalised for a push on Upson.

44 mins - Parker wins the ball back in midfield and finds Behrami. He lays it infield to Cole, who takes a touch and shoots right-footed, but it's too close to Foster.

43 mins - Obinna curls the corner over and Zigic makes amends by heading clear at the near post.

42 mins - Zigic mis-controls a throw and gives West Ham a throw deep in Birmingham territory. Jacobsen throws to Piquionne, who wins a corner.

40 mins - Obinna and Jacobsen combine before the Dane feeds the ball into Cole's feet inside the box. He drops a shoulder and loses his marker before shooting left-footed. The ball looks for a second as if it might squeeze past Foster at his near post, but the England goalkeeper is there to make the save.

39 mins - Carr overlaps and gets in behind Ilunga. He crosses low to the near post where Parker is able to clear left-footed. Birmingham are finally waking up, it appears.

38 mins - Obinna gives away a needless free-kick by fouling Fahey wide on the left. Larsson will curl this one into the danger zone. The visitors rise as one and Piquionne heads clear before Cole belts the ball into the stand for a throw.

37 mins - West Ham put together a superb passing move, pulling Birmingham all over the place, but they just can't force a clear-cut opening. Boa Morte crosses into the penalty area, but again it's too high for the men in claret and blue and goes behind.

36 mins - Birmingham keep the ball for an age at the back before Larsson tries to break forward, but Behrami is there to make the challenge.

35 mins - It really is very quiet inside St Andrews at present. This first half has absolutely flown by. Ten minutes til half-time...

33 mins - Obinna and Boa Morte combine to release Ilunga down the left. Piquionne points to where he wants the ball played, but the left-back slightly over-hits the cross and it flies over the Frenchman's head.

32 mins - Jacobsen curls the free-kick over, but it's too high for everyone and bounces out for a throw to Birmingham on the far side. That was a decent chance to get a quality ball into the box, to be honest.

31 mins - West Ham win a free-kick wide on the right when Fahey brings down Behrami. It is taken along the line to Obinna, who is impeded by Ridgewell.

29 mins - Oh Victor! The ball spins into the path of Obinna about 35 yards out. He has just one defender between himself and Foster, but instead of controlling and taking on Dann, he shoots first-time. The ball barely reaches the six-yard box.

27 mins - West Ham come again. Parker finds Obinna on the right and he drives a cross over which Boa Morte controls. He shoots, but again a home defender gets in a block on the edge of the area.

26 mins - Birmingham have their first spell of possession for quite a while. Carr cuts inside Piquionne and tries to play in Jerome, but the striker is offside.

24 mins - Cole finds Obinna with a fantastic cross-field pass. He runs at the Birmingham defence before finding Piquionne on the edge of the area. The Frenchman turns on to his left foot and shoots, but Johnson makes the block.

23 mins - Parker goes on one of his runs along the edge of the penalty area but the ball rebounds off his shin and behind for a goal kick.

22 mins - Jacobsen picks up the loose ball and finds Cole inside the box. He holds off his marker well and feeds Obinna. The No33 cuts inside one defender before shooting left-footed...The ball goes out for a throw-in.

21 mins - Cole and Obinna combine well before the latter runs at the Birmingham defence and crosses low, forcing a combination of Johnson and Dann to scramble the ball behind again. Obinna's corner is poor, though and hacked clear at the near post.

20 mins - The home fans are getting a bit frustrated as Ferguson, Jerome and Zigic contrive to lose possession in midfield. One supporter to my left shouts 'Wake up Blues!' in an attempt to urge his side on.

18 mins - Amazing save by Foster. Obinna crosses and the ball hits a Birmingham defender before being deflected goalwards by Cole. It looks for all the world as if the ball is going into the bottom left-hand corner before Foster somehow diverts it on to the base of the post. The ball spins behind the goalkeeper and along the line before being hacked behind for a corner. The flag kick comes to nothing.

15 mins - Birmingham attack down the right and win a corner off the sliding Boa Morte. Larsson curls the ball over and Upson heads clear. Ferguson finds Hleb, but Parker and Boa Morte force the midfielder wide before he finally fouls the Hammers No13. Good defending again from Boa, there.

14 mins - Fine harrying from Boa Morte forces Jerome to concede possession. Upson completes the clearance and West Ham break down the left through Obinna. The Nigerian crosses from the touchline, but it's too close to Foster.

13 mins - There is a decent ebb and flow to the game so far. Foster thumps a clearance straight down the field for Jerome to chase, but Green is alert and out to the edge of his box to claim the bouncing ball.

11 mins - Good football from West Ham. Obinna finds Piquionne, who rolls the ball into Cole's feet. He turns his marker and shoots left-footed, but the ball flies a few yards wide of the target.

10 mins - Ferguson finds Ridgewell wide left. He tries to pass infield, but it is cut out by Obinna. Unfortunately, the ball spins 20 yards behind for a corner. Larsson curls the ball into the near post where Johnson meets it with his head, but the No5 cannot direct his effort on target. Goal kick for West Ham.

9 mins - Fahey and Ferguson try to play through the centre of West Ham's midfield, but Obinna fills in well and nicks possession before being brought down. Free-kick.

7 mins - Birmingham press, but they cannot find a way through. Ferguson ends the move by over-hitting a cross-field pass to Carr and the ball skips behind for a goal kick. West Ham break and Cole holds the ball up before receiving it again from Parker. He weighs up his options before shooting left-footed, but he scuffs his effort through to Foster. Obinna applauds the No9.

5 mins - Piquionne takes the set piece but it's a poor one. The ball rolls past the left side of the wall and into the advertising hoardings about ten yards wide of Foster's goal.

4 mins - After about 30 seconds the sprinklers are turned off again. Anyway, Obinna must have been fouled there because West Ham have a free-kick about 40 yards from Ben Foster's goal.

3 mins - Obinna controls about 40 yards from goal and turns...and the sprinklers on the pitch suddenly start showering everyone inside the Birmingham half with water!

2 mins - Dann fires a free-kick from inside his own half that is too high for Zigic, allowing Green to claim low down. Birmingham regain possession and Carr scampers down the right before feeding Larsson. The Swede crosses but Upson is too strong for Zigic in the air.

1 min - Gabbidon clearly is not going to be intimidated by the 6'7" Zigic. The No4 slides in strongly on the big Serbia striker before Behrami clears his lines.

3pm - Birmingham kick-off through Zigic and Jerome...

2.59pm - The referee, 25-year-old Michael Oliver, calls the two captains together to have their photos taken with the mascots. The official will be hoping for a quieter 90 minutes than the one he enjoyed at Blackpool on Monday evening, when he sent off two West Bromwich Albion players within the opening half-hour.

2.57pm - The two teams emerge from the tunnel led by members of HM Armed Forces. It is, of course, Remembrance Sunday this weekend. Both sets of players warmed up in t-shirts bearing a poppy emblem. Funds are being raised for the Royal British Legion this afternoon - a very worthy cause, I'm sure you'll all agree.

2.56pm - The home fans are doing a nice clap-along to The Tamperer's 1998 hit 'Feel It'. Nice.

2.55pm - There are a few familiar faces in the Press Box this afternoon. Former Aston Villa winger Steve Froggatt is working for BBC London, while Stan Collymore is broadcasting for talkSPORT. I've also seen ex-Derby County striker Dean Sturridge, but I must confess I don't know what his role in the media is! Anyway, back to the action and the West Ham substitutes are making their way along the touchline to the dugout. St Andrews is one of those grounds where the tunnel is in the corner.

2.53pm - From what I understand, West Ham are going to line up in a fluid 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation, with Piquionne and Obinna playing wide of central striker Cole. Behrami will play tucked in on the right of midfield, with Boa Morte doing likewise on the left. Hammer of the Year Scott Parker will anchor in front of the back four.

2.50pm - The sun is shining brightly here in the Midlands as we come into the final furlongs before kick-off. The sprinklers have been turned on here at St Andrews, adding a nice sheen to an already immaculate-looking playing surface. Both sets of players have returned to their dressing rooms, with the Hammers' squad receiving a loud cheer from the 3,000-odd visiting supporters seated behind the goal to my right.

Good afternoon and welcome to St Andrews for what should be a keenly-fought Barclays Premier League fixture between Birmingham City and West Ham United.

There are plenty of links between the two clubs, of course, with Hammers Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold and Vice-Chairman Karren Brady enjoying 16 years at the Blues helm.

West Ham captain Matthew Upson, who returns from injury this afternoon, spent four years in a Birmingham shirt before moving to the Boleyn Ground in January 2007. Blues midfielder Lee Bowyer grew up a West Ham fan, making 60 appearances in two spells for the Hammers before joining Birmingham in summer 2009. Finally, home defender Liam Ridgewell began his career as a member of the Academy of Football before moving to Aston VIlla at the age of 17 in 2001.

This afternoon, West Ham will be eager to end a 23-match winless run on the road in the Premier League stretching back to a 2-0 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers on 15 August 2009. The Hammers did win away from home at Sunderland in the Carling Cup third round on 21 September this year.

Team news-wise, Upson is one of two enforced changes West Ham manager Avram Grant has made to his starting XI. The England centre-back replaces Manuel da Costa, who received a knock to his ankle at Arsenal last weekend. Further forward, Carlton Cole is restored to the lineup at the expense of Mark Noble, who underwent an appendectomy on Monday.

Julien Faubert is absent as he begins a three-match ban for being sent-off in the recent Barclays Premier Reserve League defeat at Arsenal.

Birmingham City: Foster, Carr, Dann, Johnson, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Fahey (Gardner 58), Hleb (Beausejour 58), Zigic, Jerome (Bowyer 89)
Subs: Doyle, Parnaby, Derbyshire, Phillips

West Ham United: Green, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Boa Morte (Dyer 83), Piquionne, Obinna (Kovac 90), Cole
Subs: Stech, Reid, Tomkins, Barrera, McCarthy