By James Burch
Birmingham City picked up their first win in eight games with an impressive 3-1 win away at Millwall. Goals from Clayton Donaldson, David Cotterill and substitute Wes Thomas sealed the victory for Lee Clark`s men after they withheld early second half pressure and carried on their strong record at The Den over the years to the delight of the 554 travelling away fans.
The game started slowly with both sides playing the majority of the first fifteen minutes in the middle of the pitch with neither keeper greatly tested. Koby Arthur making his first start of the season after a successful loan spell at Cheltenham Town showed so good touches and his quick feet and glimpses of flair at times worried the Millwall back four.
Birmingham began to dominate possession and started showing more intention to attack in Millwall`s final third. Blues deservedly took the lead in the 32nd minute through forward Clayton Donaldson grabbing his second goal of the season. Good build up play resulted in winger David Cotterill and Paul Caddis teaming up, Scotsman Caddis played a ball for Cotterill to burst into life and race onto, he reached the by-line and smashes a ball across the Millwall box for Donaldson to be there to tap in from a matter of a yard out.
Unlike many times this year when Blues score and then sit back and concede soon after, they pushed on and 8 minutes later gave themselves a two goal cushion through Saturday`s goalscorer David Cotterill to send the travelling Birmingham fans into a state of hysteria. Cotterill himself was pulled down 25 yards out from goal and a free-kick was given. The Welsh international stepped up and hit the ball well enough to beat the wall, the ball bounced in front of The Lions keeper and to his bemusement went into the back of the net to give Blues a well deserves two goal lead at Half-Time.
Half-Time Millwall 0-2 Birmingham City
As expected Millwall came out for the second half with manager Ian Holloway`s strong words still ringing in their ears. They came storming out of the blocks and halved the deficit in the 54th minute through a Lee Gregory goal. It came from un-tidy defending and as happened so many times this year was a goal that should and could have been avoided. The Blues defence was completely out of formation when Aiden O`Brien lofted a ball over the top for Gregory to beat Randolph to the ball and smartly touched the ball around the keeper to make it 2-1 to Blues.
Millwall really had their tails up now and it was down to Blues to battle for another 40 minutes to win the game. The home side carried on pushing and pushing for the equaliser. However Blues withheld the huge load of pressure being put on them and scored their third goal from substitute Wes Thomas in the 84th minute. David Cotterill who picked up his second assist of the game crossed the ball to the on running Thomas who relieved Blues worries and fired the ball into the net to give Blues the all-important three points and their first win in eight games.
The crucial win for Blues leap frogged them above Huddersfield and Wigan into 19th position in the league with 10 points going into Saturday`s game away at Charlton. Birmingham will be buoyed by tonight`s victory and if they can muster up another win on Saturday they will go into the mid-October international break in much better spirit. If Blues can sort out defensive mistakes and lack of concentration the future looks brighter after today`s win with goals for Blues main strikers and David Cotterill in stunning form.
Full-Time Millwall 1-3 Birmingham City
Forde, Hoyte (Chaplow – 45`) Dunne Beevers Malone Williams Abdou Upson (O’Brien – 45′ McDonald Gregory Ranegie (Fuller – 69`)
Unused Subs Woolford Briggs Webster King
Birmingham City Team:
Randolph Caddis Edgar Robinson Grounds Cotterill Davis Reilly (Packwood – 71`) Gleeson Arthur (Thomas – 74`) Donaldson
Unused Subs Duffy Hall Lee Doyle Shinnie
Birmingham Hold On To 3 Points
By James Burch