Match 32
2nd February 1991
Birmingham City (h)



It would be an understatement to say that the conditions for this match were difficult. After sterling work by the groundstaff and a small band of volunteers (where are you when we need you most you fans?) the referee pronounced the game playable.

Suspensions to Jonathan Brown, Mark Cooper and Richard Dryden allowed Peter Cawley to return after injury, Tom Kelly slotted in at left-back and Steve neville played up front sith in form Gordon Hobson slotting into midfield.

Plenty of chances were created and scorned. Murray Jones and Gary Marshall had good opportunities but the best chance of all for City fell to Gordon Hobson in the 28th minute. A superb Marshall through ball released Hobson but Birmingham 'keeper Martin Thomas advanced and saved well.

Dennis Bailey, who scored Birmingham's goal at St Andrews in the I-I draw earlier in the season was the liveliest of the visitors' forwards during the first period, getting in several accurate crosses and showing impressive balance on the slushy pitch.

The gigantic former Wimbledon striker John Gayle was the star of the second half as City fell away badly and Birmingham showed the form that had gathered them twenty points away from St Andrews. Having shared 'the points' in a first half battle with Shaun Taylor which earnt the striker a 20th minute booking he started the second half with an overhead attempt that was just off target. In the 57th minute a looping header from an lan Rodgerson left Kevin Miller flatfooted.

Trevor Morgan replaced Paul Eshelby and instantly failed to make contact with a good ball from Steve Neville when it seemed easier to score. Gayle scored with a crisply hit shot after 70 minutes and to show it wasn't City's day Tom Kelly had a weak penalty shot saved by Thomas twelve minutes from the end after Gayle had fouled Peter Cawley. Admittedly Kelly was possibly put off by the barrage of snowballs from the Birmingham supporters behind the goal.

Regrettably there were crowd problems after the game which called upon the police dog handlers. Birmingham substitute Eamonn Dolan disgracefully and stupidly played a significant role in baiting some City supporters on the Big Bank and had to be forced off the pitch by a group of policemen.



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