A toothless performance from Huddersfield Town allowed Birmingham City to earn their first win in six matches at windy and wet John Smith’s Stadium.
The win will ease the pressure on former Town boss Lee Clark as City have moved out from the bottom three of the Championship. As well as welcoming back Clark to Huddersfield, former striker Lee Novak started against the club he left in the summer for the first time.
Nikola Zigic had put the visitors in front but Antony Gerrard, back in the side after three games for being involved in a supposed training ground incident, headed Town level.
Blues defender Kyle Bartley then scored a brace in the second half to give City a vital win but the defender was shown a second yellow by the referee for an “overzealous” celebration.
Jonathan Hogg was out after receiving an injury against Wigan last week and Joel Lynch was on the bench after having an operation on his thumb earlier in the week meaning Gerrard and Sean Scannell were given starts.
Cristian Lopez was recalled from a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town in midweek and given a place on the bench but still no Martin Paterson or Adam Clayton near the match day squad.
A minutes silence was observed by both teams and sets of fan alike as they paid their respects to the armed forces.
With just four minutes gone Town were dealt a blow when Captain Peter Clarke was forced off when going for the ball with Jesse Lingard which meant Lynch was called into action. Clarke has injured the ligaments in his knee which could keep him out for more than 8 weeks.
Goalkeeper Alex Smithies pulled off a smart save to deny Novak but on 11 minutes Smithies again denied Novak from Lingard’s cross but Nikola Zigic was on hand to bundle the ball into the net from close range.
Town should have been 2-0 down minutes later when Lingard tapped in Zigic’s pass but the linesman had ruled that the Serbian was offside.
Town were slow and never really got started throughout the game. Danny Ward’s low free-kick was diverted wide by Paul Robinson but The Terriers were back level just after the half hour mark.
Adam Hammill’s free-kick from the left flank was a good delivery and Anthony Gerrard was on hand to flick the ball into the net past Darren Randolph.
Many were thinking the equalizer might spark Town into life and whilst they did force some pressure on to Birmingham as the half drew to a close they could only muster Scannell’s low drive at Randolph.
Novak seemed determined to haunt his former club forcing Smithies into another save just after the break and straight from that Hammill had an effort that flew just wide at the other end of the pitch.
Danny Carr and Oscar Gobern was introduced on 64 minutes for the ineffective Jon Stead and Ollie Norwood but the Blues were ahead just two minutes later when Bartley was found unmarked from Lingard’s corner to plant a header into the net.
Hammill took it upon himself to do something but could only produce efforts that flew wide but Bartley killed off the game and gave City all three points on 81 minutes.
Lynch gave away a free-kick on the right flank and Lingard again picked out Bartley who beat Gobern to plant another header past Smithies but the Blues hero turned to villain as the referee showed a second yellow for his goal celebration.
A dismal result and dismal performance by Town, Randolph was rarely tested in the Birmingham goal just as last week in the defeat at Wigan, the performance was toothless.
Town: Smithies, Richards, Clarke (Lynch 7), Gerrard, Dixon, Southern, Norwood (Gobern 64), Hammill, Scannell, Ward, Stead (Carr 64).
Subs not used: Bennett, Woods, Holmes, Lopez.
Birmingham: Randolph, Caddis, Hancox, Reilly, Bartley, Robinson, Burke (Shinnie 53), Adeyemi, Zigic (Lovenkrands 90), Novak, Lingard (Burn 83).
Subs not used: Doyle, Lee, Ferguson, Gray.
Referee: Gavin Ward