Championship Review: Birmingham ease pressure on Zola with derby win


Gianfranco Zola's Birmingham City beat Wolves 2-1 in a Midlands derby at Molineux in the Championship on Friday, holding on to break a run of three straight losses despite captain Paul Robinson's red card.

Birmingham were gifted the lead after 27 minutes, Maikel Kieftenbeld presented with a tap-in from close range after Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme dropped Craig Gardner's right-wing cross.

Ikeme was picking the ball out of his net again five minutes later when former Wolves midfielder David Davis bent in a fine finish after a cross deflected kindly into his path in the box.

But the hosts were handed a lifeline shortly after the interval when Birmingham skipper Robinson was dismissed for crudely lashing out at Jon Dadi Bodvarsson following his own crunching tackle on the Iceland international.

With 17 minutes to go, half-time substitute Nouha Dicko prodded home Helder Costa's left-wing cross from a narrowly offside position to set up a grandstand finish, but the hosts could not force a leveller against the 10 men and victory, Birmingham's second in 13 league games, eases the pressure on under-fire Zola.

In Friday's other Championship match between Burton Albion and Blackburn Rovers, Matthew Palmer gave the visitors a 31st-minute lead at the Pirelli Stadium in Tony Mowbray's first game in charge by heading Charlie Mulgrew's corner into his own net, but Marvin Sordell equalised to inch Nigel Clough's men away from the relegation zone, while Rovers remain second-bottom.