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Magpies see off 10-man Birmingham


Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor headed Newcastle to safety as 10-man Birmingham's woes increased with a 2-1 defeat at St James' Park.

The Carling Cup winners had defender Liam Ridgewell controversially dismissed for deliberate handball 10 minutes before the break, with Shola Ameobi converting the resulting penalty and when Taylor powered home a second from Joey Barton's corner, the game looked to be over.

Lee Bowyer's 45th-minute strike gave the visitors hope, but they could not complete the comeback. Victory took Newcastle to 44 points and left Birmingham on 39.

Newcastle started brightly and Stephen Carr cleared Ameobi's header off the line before Ben Foster pulled off a fine save to keep out Fabricio Coloccini's follow-up.

The Argentinian reacted first to head over Foster, only for Carr to intervene once again.

However, as the ball fell towards Kevin Nolan, Ridgewell nudged it clear with his arm and referee Chris Foy pointed straight to the spot before producing a red card.

Ameobi calmly tucked the penalty into the bottom corner for his ninth goal of the season.

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The 10 men might have been dead and buried long before the break had Foster not made fine reaction saves to deny first Peter Lovenkrands and then Nolan, but there was nothing he could do to keep out Taylor's towering 43rd-minute header, which Sebastian Larsson could only help into his own net.

But Newcastle handed the visitors a lifeline on the stroke of half-time when Coloccini misjudged a long clearance to allow Cameron Jerome in. The Argentinian and Taylor got back well to halt the striker's progress, but when he fed the ball to Bowyer, his shot ended up in the back of the net via a deflection off Coloccini.

Bowyer had a chance to equalise in the second half but the hosts also had further opportunities with Jose Enrique and Nile Ranger going close.

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