Birmingham City beat fellow play-off hopefuls Cardiff City 1-0 at St Andrews, with a controversial penalty being the deciding factor in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
The first half was not very inspiring, with neither team really creating too much in the final third, until one minute into first half stoppage time. Referee David Coote pointed to the spot, giving the home side a penalty, however the ball appeared the hit Matt Connolly in the face rather than his hand.
The ref was not swayed by the vehement protests of the Cardiff players and defender Paul Caddis stepped up to fire home the spot kick.
Cardiff came out in the second half fired up and played some really good football and created enough chances to have levelled the game but they couldn’t find the goal they needed. Gary Rowett’s men held firm to keep a second clean sheet in the past three games.
Here are THREE things we learned from the match
1) Birmingham have resolve
Yes, the Blues got lucky with the penalty, and the football was not the most attractive on offer in the Championship, but it was effective, they did what they needed to do to win the game.
Keep a clean sheet and score a goal, job done. They defended well against the Bluebirds and could of scored on the break on a number of occasions if the final ball was a touch better.
Sometimes you just have to win ugly and Birmingham certainly have shown they can do that but occasionally winning ugly can be the difference between promotion and just missing out.
2) Peltier is among the best right backs in the league
It may be a bold statement, but during the game Cardiff’s Lee Peltier dealt with Birmingham wide men Demarai Gray and Jacques Maghoma, even with constant switching between the two.
This was one of the best full back display I’ve seen at this level, to keep two of the Championship danger men quiet and provide an attacking option is no mean feat.
If he plays like that every week then Cardiff may find themselves fending off interest from some so called bigger teams.
3) The Referees need help
Refereeing is one of the hardest job in the game due to difficult decisions they have to make while knowing that, due to the money in the game, every wrong decision could be worth millions.
Referee David Coote made a huge mistake in the game by giving a penalty when the ball clearly struck the player in the face, however this was not the only glaring mistake by the officials during the game.
In the fast pace of the modern game it would make sense to see if you have made the right choice, I’m not saying you stop the game for every decisions.
Instead, if the referee sees a foul and awards a penalty, the fourth official then has a quick look at a replay and confirms its the right call. 30 seconds would be all it took, if the evidence is inconclusive then the referee’s decision stands.
Birmingham and Cardiff fans…What did you think of the game? What are thoughts on the controversial penalty decision? Will your side make the play-offs? Let us know what you think in the comments below!