Birmingham 3-1 Crystal Palace: Daily Mirror match report
Published 21:15 08/04/12 By Chris McKenna
Birmingham defender David Murphy reckons two games in three days is just too much.
Sensational strikes from Chris Burke and Keith Fahey in the space of a minute, followed up by a superb effort from Murphy, saw the Blues coast past plummeting Palace.
Owen Garvan did grab a consolation for Dougie Freedman’s side, but it was all too easy for the hosts at St Andrew’s, as they moved six points clear of seventh-placed Brighton in the race to the play-offs.
However, today – just 48 hours after the game – Birmingham travel to West Ham for what will be a much tougher challenge.
Murphy is not impressed with the Football League for scheduling the matches so close – especially as the Hammers played on Friday – for what will be the Blues’ 56th game of the season.
He said: “West Ham will be a tough game, it’s a quick turnaround and we go there full of confidence.
“Two games in three days is a massive ask for any player. For me, the games should have been played Friday, then Monday.
“We’ve got to deal with it, dust ourselves down and go again.”
Birmingham boss Chris Hughton was also less-than impressed by the scheduling, but moved to heap pressure on the under-fire Hammers by claiming his side don’t need to win – but West Ham do.
Sam Allardyce’s side have not won in six home games, leaving fans furious, and Hughton wants his side to capitalise.
“Saturday was more important because that was our home game, the one where we were favourites to win,” he said.
“But I think it allows us to go to West Ham with them under more pressure than us. We’ve seen they can be vulnerable at home and we’ll do what we can to capitalise on that.
“We will have to play well offensively and defensively to get any-thing out of the game.”
If they can score goals of the quality they did on Saturday, then the Blues are a match for anybody.
Burke’s effort in the 21st minute got the ball rolling as he curled in from the right side of the area after a quick twist and turn created space for the shot.
The Scottish winger then turned provider as he picked up Andros Townsend’s cross before teeing up Keith Fahey who curled into the same corner.
Townsend was a constant threat throughout and the on-loan Tottenham midfielder set up the third as he slid in Murphy to rifle into the bottom corner just after the half hour.
Garvan grabbed his own wonder strike just before the break with a drilled effort from 25 yards, but Palace failed to threaten in the second half.
Freedman’s side have won just once in eight games as they prepare to host leaders Southampton today.
But the Palace boss blamed injuries for their poor run, with David Wright, Johnny Williams, Anthony Gardner and Mile Jedinak all sidelined.
He said: “I think this season has slipped away from us, the results will tell you that. But we are down to the bare bones injury-wise.”
Birmingham (4-4-2): Myhill 6; Ramage 6, Caldwell 6, Davies 7, Murphy 7; Burke 9, Mutch 7, Fahey 7 (N’Daw 83), Townsend 8; King 5 (Rooney 88), Zigic 5 (Huseklepp 46, 6). Subs Not Used: Doyle, Redmond. Booked: N’Daw. Goals: Burke 21, Fahey 22, Murphy 32.
Crystal Palace (4-4-1-1): Speroni 5; Clyne 5, McCarthy 6, Moxey 4, Parr 5; Ambrose 4 (Martin 76), Dikgacoi 6, O’Keefe 6 (Murray 81), Zaha 5; Garvan 7; Easter 6 (Scannell 66, 6). Subs Not Used: Price, Inniss. Booked: McCarthy, Moxey. Goal: Garvan 45.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear)
Attendance: 21, 932