Sunday, 27 November 2011

Zigic the Birmingham hero in dramatic draw at Blackpool

Goal hero sub Nikola Zigic was the toast of Birmingham seconds after being slaughtered by his own fans.

The giant striker was getting stick from the boo-boys for missing a simple headed chance to level when Jonathan Spector's cross dropped to him in the box with five minutes left.

Zigic took a touch before blasting past the exposed Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks to snatch a point from this 2-2 thriller.

Until then Birmingham looked like being beaten by a sensational right-left combination.

First Blackpool left-back Stephen Crainey cancelled out Marlon King's opener and then the home side's other full-back Neal Eardley smashed home a second.

The Blues could not believe they were behind at that point. With the recalled Wade Elliott playing in behind Marlon King they had continuously caught Blackpool on the break.

Winger Chris Burke was the most threatening. First he fed Elliott for a shot that needed a brave block to keep the scoreline goal-less and then he popped up in space to deliver the perfect cross for King to meet at the far post.

The Blues striker got a meaty header in only to see Matt Gilks producing a flying stop to deny him.

The keeper was unable to repeat his heroics moments later. Elliott's cute flick on saw King hanging off the shoulder of last man Alex Baptiste and he ran through on goal, despite calls for offside, to coolly slot in his fifth goal of the season.

The lead did not last long. Having just bent a shot wide Lomana LuaLua then sucked in defenders before slipping a sweet pass into the box for Crainey.

He showed the deft touch of a seasoned striker to prod the ball past the advancing Boaz Myhill with the outside of his boot.

Matty Phillips then wasted a decent chance by sidefooting wide and David Murphy's brilliant block stopped Phillips converting a Gary Taylor-Fletcher cut back.

But even desperate defending could not stop Eardley.

The right back found himself unchallenged 20-yards out and rifled a well placed drive into the top corner for only his second goal in Tangerine colours.

Now Hughton had no option but to order a more attacking approach with Nikola Zigic thrown on to add an additional striker to the battle.

And the substitution paid off handsomely with Zigic grabbed a deserved point for the visitors.

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