Belfast Telegraph

Draw lifts Blues out of drop zone

Birmingham moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone after holding Everton to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 17th minute through Jean Beausejour's header, which Tim Howard got a hand to but could not keep out. But John Heitinga levelled 10 minutes before the interval, making the most of a failed clearance from a corner by firing in a fierce side-footed effort that left Ben Foster with no chance.

The home side looked by far the more likely to break the deadlock in the second period but could not find a winner as Alex McLeish's team secured a point which takes them up to 17th in the table, with West Ham dropping into the bottom three.

Birmingham then went close to opening the scoring when Cameron Jerome got a header to Sebastian Larsson's free-kick, but Howard did well to push the effort away.

Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta's involvement came to an abrupt end soon after when he appeared to sustain a hamstring problem in a chase with Larsson.

Leon Osman brought a save out of Foster with a rising drive, but a minute later Birmingham had the lead. Young midfielder Jordon Mutch swung in a cross and Beausejour beat Tony Hibbert to it with a header that Howard clipped with his glove but could not prevent from crossing the line.

Everton looked to hit back, but Jermaine Beckford could only send the ball over the bar with his back to goal having met a Jack Rodwell delivery.

The hosts continued to press and found their reward in the 35th minute as Heitinga rifled in the equaliser. Jerome made a hash of clearing Osman's corner and the ball fell to Heitinga, who swept it into the roof of the net from outside the area.

Everton were quick to settle after the restart and might have had a penalty claim when Foster seemed to clatter Seamus Coleman as he came out to punch away a cross, although play continued.

The game entered a lull thereafter and, despite the best efforts of strikers Louis Saha and Victor Anichebe, the Toffees were forced to settle for a point.


From Belfast Telegraph