The big turning point in this game came after 35 minutes when Liam Ridgewell not only gave away a penalty, but was sent off by referee Chris Foy with a straight red card
Both sides couldn’t find any rhythm or any kind of flowing football at the start of the game, and there was an appeal for a penalty by Birmingham after only 11 minutes.
Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi tried to clear a Stephen Carr free-kick and the ball seemed to hit Shola’s hand, but the referee waved away appeals from the Birmingham players – good call.
Joey Barton hit a terrific low shot from fully 30 yards out, and it bounced on the wet turf and Ben Foster diverted it for a corner – it was a good effort from the Evertonian.
After a fairly even first 35 minutes the event that turned the game completely happened, and Liam Ridgewell was given a straight red card for deliberately handling the ball in the penalty area.
Fabricio Coloccini hit a half volley and the ball was then touched onto the woodwork by goalkeeper Foster, who had a terrific game for the Blues.
But the ball came back to the Argentine, who then headed the ball across goal, and the ball hit Liam Ridgwell’s arm right under the crossbar, and referee Foy immediately gave a penalty and a straight red card to Ridgewell. Good call.
Shola Ameobi, who has always been a great dead ball kicker,. made no mistake from the spot to put Newcastle one goal up.
Shola scores with penalty – his 9th goal of the season in all competitions
And this was the second time in successive games that Birmingham had been reduced to 10 men in the first half, as Craig Gardner was sent off last weekend against Wolves, for picking up two yellow cards in the first 26 minutes.
Stephen Taylor, deputizing for Mike Williamson then did something that Mike has never done, and Stephen scored for Newcastle after 43 minutes with a powerful header and it was Newcastle 2-0 up just before half time.
That was Steven’s 11th goal in Newcastle colors and he powered home a Joey Barton corner in great style, and this lad started out as a center forward and just loves to score goals.
But then in injury time in the first half former Newcastle player Lee Boyer pulled one back for the Birmingham side. too keep them in the game.
Foster’s long ball down-field was missed by Coloccini, and goalkeeper Tim Krul then came rushing out of his goal, but also missed the ball, to leave Lee Bowyer clear to fire home the loose ball.
A terrible goal for Newcastle to give up, when they had looked to be in control of the game, and no doubt Alan Pardew will have given some of those defenders some strong words at the break.
It was 2-1 at half time.
Then Jose Enrique hit a 35-yard drive just wide of Foster’s right post after 46 minutes as Newcastle started the second half in determined mood, to try to kill off the game, and another goal was needed.
And then Shola Ameobi headed over seven minutes later with a good chance, but then Steven Taylor, who has a good game on his return, made an excellent block to prevent Bowyer getting a second goal against his old club.
This was the second game in a row which Birmingham were down to 10 men, and they were playing very well with one man short, but Newcastle looked flat – almost like last week at Anfield.
But Newcastle could and should have scored more goals today, although England goalkeeper Ben Forster kept the score down, when he caught a Kevin Nolan 74th-minute header out of the air, when it looked almost a certain goal.
And then he denied Nile Ranger his first PL goal on 77 minutes with another excellent stop, maybe even better than the stop from Nolan. Nile will get that first goal sometime soon and he’s getting closer all the time.
The game petered out, and Newcastle should really have scored more, but they managed to beat a Birmingham side, who have one of the worst away records in the league, when were reduced to 10 men after 35 minutes.
But Newcastle scored twice the number of goals they had scored in the previous 4 games, and did the double over Birmingham City, to go with the double they did over West Ham.
We’ll take it – but Sunderland also won after snatching a winner very late into injury time as they beat Bolton 2-1 away, and now Bolton are only 2 points ahead of Newcastle in 8th position.
Newcastle are now up to 10th place in the league with 44 points.
It was a good result today, although the result was a bit better than the performance – but hey – a win is a win!
Oh, and one more thing – Newcastle are now mathematically safe – the prime target for the season has now definitely been achieved – lets give the lads great credit for that.
Howay The Lads!!