Birmingham City's prolific Kevin Phillips gives Alex McLeish anniversary
Alex McLeish celebrates his first year at Birmingham City this week, and
seeing his side occupying second place in the table, with maximum points from
the last three games, is not a bad way to go about it. Riding roughshod over
a visiting Ipswich should have made it even better.
The Scotsman doesn't see it that way. "There is too much to go," he said
to the suggestion that City are now perfectly positioned for promotion. "It
was similar two weeks ago, but you see how quickly it changes. There are going
to be twists and turns."
Victory last night means that Wolverhampton Wanderers, currently heading the
charge to the Premier League, will be looking over their shoulder, especially
as the two teams meet on Saturday.
Birmingham trail Wolves by six points, but they are capable of closing the
gap. They certainly don't lack the mustard, especially if Kevin Phillips continues
to fire on all cylinders. The 35-year-old, scorer of nine goals so far this
season, has notched up three in the last two matches.
It was Liam Ridgewell, however, who put City ahead with a first-time volley.
Five minutes later Phillips headed in from point-blank range at the far post
off a sublime Sebastian Larsson cross. Instinctive stuff.
It wasn't until after the half-hour mark that Ipswich conjured even a threat
of retribution, but Pablo Counago and Owen Garvan contrived to ruin the chance
by colliding in the area.
The match was almost over when Ipswich finally struck through Alex Bruce, but
the defender's first goal for the club arrived too late to have any impact.
To make matters worse Bruce's father, Steve, the apparently unimpressed Wigan
manager, had already called it quits and left the stands.
"He wanted to escape the traffic," his son reported.
Sandy Macaskill (Daily Telegraph)