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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
06:27 18th July 2013

Birmingham 1 (Zigic 10)  
Reds 1 (Mellis 61)  

A brilliant free-kick from Jacob Mellis earned the Reds a well-deserved point at Birmingham City in the pouring rain. 

Chris Burke fired in the first shot of the tie with barely 90 seconds on the clock but his effort was sliced and well wide from 22 yards.  

Mellis hammered a similar attempt on seven minutes but, like Burke's before him, he shot high over the bar after a free-kick dropped his way.  

Barely two minutes later Mellis should have opened the scoring when another ball dropped kindly for the midfielder, but this time was inside the area. Randolph, however, read his effort before it left his boot, and saved easily to his left.  

With ten minutes gone the hosts opened the scoring with the softest of goals from the Reds' point of view. A low cross from the Barnsley right wasn't dealt with and Nikola Zigic was on hand to turn home from two yards.  

Burke got the better of Kennedy on 18 minutes but, thankfully, drilled his effort straight into the grateful arms of Luke Steele.  

It came so close to being 2-0 on 20 minutes but Burn's looping header from an out-swinging corner cannoned off the underside of the bar. At the other O'Grady's placed effort was routinely dealt with by Randolph after the Reds sprang a counter attack.  

Two long-range effort for the Reds were off target and saved from O'Brien and Shea respectively, as the Reds searched for an equaliser.  

Barnsley's luck was summed up on 32 minutes when Shea found himself in acres of space down the right - his shot was parried into the path of Mellis who poked the rebound wide from two yards.  

It wasn't as if the Reds weren't in the match because, in fact, they were probably in control of it. A dangerous cross from Kennedy was left begging to be turned in but Shea didn't attack the ball at the far post on 35 minutes.  

Another chance presented itself to the Reds as Shea stood a lovely cross up for Perkins but the midfielder hit his strike into the ground which Randolph dealt with easily to his right.  

Luke Steele sprang form his line to deny Burke a Blues second as the winger flew past Cranie on the City left before bearing down on goal but Steele was brave to deny his effort and smother the rebound on 44 minutes.  

A minute later at the other end, Shea snatched at a ricochet on the edge of the area - meaning his strike sailed wide. 

Second half 

In the third minute of the second half Perkins helped the ball on to Shea down the right-hand side of the box but he saw his effort deflect wide 

The hosts were forced into a change on 57 minutes as Bartley was withdrawn through injury for Mullins. The Reds saw an effort cleared off the line by Zigic as Ramage connected with a blocked M'voto header two minutes before the hour. 

Finally the Reds hauled themselves level on 61 minutes through a class free-kick from Jacob Mellis. Twenty-two yards our and right of centre, the midfielder bent in a beautiful effort that beat Randolph all ends up. 

The rain was absolutely pouring down as the game stretch and both sides searched for a winner. 

The Reds' first change came with 15 minutes left on the watch - Tomasz Cywka replaced débutante Brek Shea. 

Barnsley should have taken the lead through Perkins on 79 minutes as O'Brien pulled back for Mellis to dummy and allow Perkins the shot at goal but he blazed over from the edge of the area. 

Steele did well to claw the ball away from the feet of Novak who got in on goal, meaning the striker had to cross but the hosts couldn't capitalise at the far stick on 82. 

Kennedy completely missed a clearance down the Blues' right allowing Burke a run at goal but the angle narrowed meaning his cross-come-shot zipped wide. 

A minimum of three minutes of stoppage time was indicated by the Fourth Official as City lumped it long to Zigic in search of the winner. 

Full time 

Teams  

Birmingham: Randolph, Robinson, Bartley (Mullins 57), Burn, Novak, Reilly (Lovenkrands 89), Zigic, Lee, Shinnie (Elliott 66), Caddis, Burke.  
Subs: Doyle, Ferguson, Brown, Gray.  

Reds: Steele, O'Grady, Cranie, Perkins, Kennedy, O'Brien, Dawson, M'voto, Shea (Cywka 75), Ramage, Mellis.   
Subs: Dibble, Pedersen, Cywka, McCourt, Nyatanga, Scotland, Wiseman.  

Referee: Chris Foy  
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Gibbons & Kevin Mattocks  
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney. 

Attendance: 14,422 (397 away)

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    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.