Birmingham started well and had a lot of territorial advantage early in the game and there seemed to be some tension with the St. James’ Park faithful, because they know this is a must win game.
Then after 9 minutes and a good start by Birmingham they went surprisingly ahead with a terrible goal conceded by Newcastle. Rafael Schmitz placed a long ball forward which David Rozehnal defends badly, as he somehow allows the ball to roll across him and he is then out-paced by Cameron Jerome who rounds Shay Given to score. A terrible goal for Newcastle to concede.
Newcastle up front seem to be lacking in ideas and the Birmingham back four far are far too comfortable in the first 20 minutes. Nicky Butt has started well but takes a ball in the face and after 31 minutes Mark Viduka is brought on to replace Nicky Butt.
Then after 36 minutes Newcastle get a penalty when referee Rob Styles adjudged Mathew Sadler to have brought down Martins. Martins takes the kick himself but Mathew Taylor gets a hand to the ball and is a little unlucky not to have saved it.
Oba Martin’s penalty is his 7th goal of the season
This is a good goal for Newcastle because it brings them right back into the game. We thought Geremi was the penalty taker but that’s Martins 7th goal of the season – good for him.
Towards the end of the half Newcastle are pressing hard, and seem to have Birmingham rocked and a corner is saved well by Taylor but then Milner crashes the ball against the cross-bar as Birmingham are hanging on.
The half time whistle goes after just one minute of added time.
The teams go in level at 1-1. After a rather slow start Newcastle have done well to come back into the game after giving away another terrible goal after just 9 minutes. But towards the end of the half Newcastle seemed to be playing a lot better and had the Birmingham goal under a lot of pressure with Milner rattling the cross bar just before the break.
In the second half Newcastle must drive home their advantage with goals. After giving away an early goal Newcastle can now win this game with an up tempo performance in the second half.