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Mar 3, 2016 at 7.45pm UK at St Andrew's
BirminghamBirmingham City
1-0
Hull City
Toral (14')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Live Commentary: Birmingham City 1-0 Hull City - as it happened

Relive Birmingham City's surprise 1-0 win over Hull City in the Championship with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates.
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Hull City travelled to Birmingham City in the Championship on Thursday night knowing that a win or a draw would take them back to the top of the table.

They had far more shots than their opponents, but it was Birmingham who claimed the points to move within touching distance of the playoffs as Jon Toral's deflected first-half strike settled matters at St Andrew's.

Relive an entertaining contest with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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Evening all! All eyes on the Championship tonight and this match between two of the top eight as high-flying Hull travel to playoff contenders Birmingham. Team news just being released at St Andrew's, so let's crack on!

BIRMINGHAM XI: Kuszczak; Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Gleeson, Kieftenbeld; Cotterill, Toral, Maghoma; Donaldson
Subs: Legzdins, Fabbrini, Solomon-Otabor, Spector, Davis, Buckley, Shotton

Two changes for Birmingham from Saturday afternoon's 2-0 defeat at QPR, with Paul Caddis and Jon Toral in for Ryan Shotton and Diego Fabbrini, both of whom drop to the bench.

HULL XI: McGregor; Odubajo, Dawson, Davies, Robertson; Snodgrass, Huddlestone, Livermore, Clucas; Diame; Hernandez
Subs: Jakupović, Maguire, Maloney, Hayden, Powell, Diomande, Elmohamady

The Tigers, meanwhile, show just one change from the goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, with David Meyler missing altogether and replaced by Tom Huddlestone in midfield. Bruce said beforehand that he had a fully fit squad to choose from, so not quite sure why Meyler is not in the squad at all.

Here's the setting for tonight's match. Clear skies a couple of hours ago, but showers are expected tonight.


Alrighty then! Here is the Championship table ahead of tonight's game and the rest of matchday 35 this weekend. Hull sit second at the moment, but three points tonight would take them clear at the top. Even a draw would see them go first on goal difference, but that would open the door for Middlesbrough, who play Wolves tomorrow night, to climb to the summit.

As for the Blues, they are eighth and only a point behind Cardiff in seventh. They would stay eighth with a draw as they have scored fewer goals than the Bluebirds, but a win would take them within a point of Sheffield Wednesday in the sixth and final playoff spot.

Birmingham looked superb with a pair of 3-0 wins over fellow playoff hopefuls Derby County and Ipswich Town in back-to-back January games, but since then Gary Rowett's men have managed just one win in five games and that was against lowly Bolton Wanderers. The winner here at St Andrew's last Tuesday against the Trotters was one of just two goals that they have managed in their poor recent run.

However, three of those five matches were on the road and at home the Blues have been picking up loads of points since Christmas, winning five of their last six home league games and keeping four clean sheets in that time. Fortress St Andrew's!

Speaking of good defences, Hull have one of the best in the league at the moment having gone 373 minutes without conceding since Sam Vokes netted Burnley's winner of February 6. In 2016, Hull have conceded just twice in nine league games. Wowzer!

Hull also kept FA Cup holders Arsenal out at the Emirates in last month's fifth-round tie, earning a replay back at the KC Stadium which takes place on Tuesday night. The way things are going for the Gunners at the moment, you wouldn't back against Steve Bruce's side knocking them out!

A reminder of tonight's team news in Birmingham. As you can see, Stephen Martin is the man in charge.


So Birmingham are in fine form at home, but Hull are doing just as well on their travels of late, winning four out of five since the turn of the year. They ended 2015 with no win in four on the road, but it has turned around big time since then.

STAT: Clayton Donaldson has opened the scoring in Birmingham's last two league games at St Andrew's - before this, he hadn't scored a home league goal since September, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory. Will he be on song tonight against this difficult-to-break-down Tigers backline?

The reverse fixture between these two was a 2-0 win for Hull in October, with Meyler and Hernandez scoring twice in three first-half minutes to seal victory.

H2H: In fact, Birmingham have failed to win any of their last six meetings with Hull (D2 L4) and the Tigers have netted 10 goals in their last three games against the Blues, winning 2-0, 5-2 and 3-2. Ominous for Birmingham!

Only Burnley's Andre Gray has scored more goals than Hull frontman Hernandez this season and the below record suggests that the Uruguayan international might just have another good night here. The man playing just behind him, Mohamed Diame, has also scored in each of the last two Championship away games for Hull after not scoring on the road since October.

Abel Hernandez of Hull City celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Hull City at Emirates Stadium on October 18, 2014© Getty Images

PREDICTION: Okey dokey, just over five minutes until kickoff now at St Andrew's. Really tough one to call, this, but I am going to side with Hull given everything I've pinpointed already - 1-0 to the Tigers.

Bruce also twice won promotion to the Premier League with the Blues (in 2002 and 2007).

The two teams have just left the tunnel and they're both in their home kits tonight. Birmingham in blue, Hull in amber/orange/gold - whichever you prefer.

Here we go!


KICKOFF! Hull get us underway at St Andrew's.

CLOSE! Hull on top from the word go! First Clucas delivered a fantastic ball into the box that was half-cleared. Snodgrass then got to the byline and dinked to the back post where right-back Odubajo could only volley over from a tight angle.

Collision in the box between Snodgrass and Blues keeper Kuszczak after a surging run from midfield by the former. He just overran it a little and Kuszczak was able to clear away before being clattered into.

First moment of note at the other end as Cotterill works some space down the right before clipping an inviting ball to the back post where Odubajo clears out for a corner with Maghoma racing to get there.

Cotterill then trots over to take the corner and he swings over a good ball but Robinson was always leaning back and can only head over.

A very fast start from Hull then, but Birmingham are beginning to see more and more of the ball now.

Action at both ends! First Snodgrass appeared to be barged over on the edge of the Birmingham box, but referee Martin said no. Then, Donaldson pulled the trigger at the other end and his shot was brilliantly blocked by the outstretched leg of Dawson. That was travelling!

GOAL! BIRMINGHAM 1-0 HULL (JON TORAL)

Hull finally concede after 477 minutes of football! It's unlucky as Toral's shot took a deflection off Davies to wrong-foot McGregor, but you have to give Toral credit as well for a neat turn in the middle after Robertson took a heavy touch and had the ball stolen.

Slightly worrying moment for Hull as Diame hobbles around following an accidental kick in the knee from Grounds, but the Tigers midfielder is OK to continue.

OFF THE POST! Hull so close to a quick equaliser as Livermore belts a shot at goal from 20-odd yards that beats Kuszczak for pace but pings back off the inside of the post.

OFF THE BAR! Now Hull hit the bar as Dawson's header hits the woodwork from Snodgrass's wicked free kick.

Really, really poor from Toral as he carelessly overhits a pass to Maghoma after doing well to find some space out wide. Birmingham have recovered after that Hull barrage a few moments ago.

Now Gleeson does superbly in the middle of the park to escape multiple challenges but he can't thread it through to Donaldson in the box.

Birmingham really doing well here. Donaldson cuts inside with a neat step-over but then Huddlestone wins a thundering 50-50 tackle as Donaldson tried to shoot. Had the striker looked up, Toral had made a good run into the box.

CHANCE! What a chance for Hull, who worked the ball so well before Clucas got into the box and sidefooted straight at Kuszczak. Either side of the Polish keeper and it's 1-1.

CLOSE! Oh my goodness! Donaldson has almost scored the goal of the season! The striker met Gleeson's floated delivery with a sweetly-struck overhead kick that McGregor acrobatically tipped over. Incredible effort!

Well I talked up the two defences before this match but it's been a really entertaining contest. How is it still just 1-0?!

CHANCE! So close to a second Birmingham goal! Cotterill digs out a fine cross from the right and Toral is unmarked 10 yards out. He plants a header towards the corner, but it drops just wide of the upright.

Ha! Caddis tackles Diame superbly and then advances towards the box, playing a lovely one-two with Toral before finding Maghoma out on the left. That's where the move ends as the winger skies a shot hilariously high into the air.

CLOSE! Would have been an odd goal had this gone in! Snodgrass's corner is headed out but straight against the forehead of Livermore, who takes the pace off the ball and almost loops it over Kuszczak into the corner.

CHANCE! Hull pushing for an equaliser before half time here as Diame holds off the challenge of Morrison before curling over the bar. One minute of added time.

HALF-TIME: BIRMINGHAM 1-0 HULL

It's Birmingham who lead at the break then and what a half that was! In the end it was a deflected goal by Toral that proved the difference, but we could have had about seven or eight goals. Back soon for the second 45, don't go anywhere.


We're back for the second half and if it's as good as the first I'll be happy!

KICKOFF! Aaaaand it's Birmingham who get us back underway. No half-time changes.

Clucas skips past Caddis down the left and then sends over a cross into the box. Snodgrass loops it back into the middle of the box, but Hernandez then clearly shoves Morrison and referee Martin spots it.

Half-hearted appeals for a Birmingham penalty as Odubajo tangles with Donaldson at the back post. Never going to get that one.

A pretty tepid start to the second half, but Hull do have plenty of firepower on the bench with the likes of Powell, Maloney and Diomande. Sure it won't be long before Bruce brings someone on if things don't swing his side's way.

Just make me the weatherman! As I said it would do before kickoff, it's now raining pretty heavily in the Second City.

Wasteful from Diame as he spoons a shot over the bar after Hull had got plenty of men forward.

Hull have had 61% possession in this match, but it's Birmingham who still lead at St Andrew's. Looks like Manchester United loanee Powell will be the first Hull change.

HULL SUBS: It's actually two changes from Bruce and he's gone very attacking now. Diame and Huddleston off, Diomande and Powell on.

Bad start for Powell as he shoots over when Hull had got loads of men forward and worked the ball around nicely. He should have sent it in the middle there.



Half-chance for Hull and Diomande, who outmuscled Robinson before wildly slicing the bouncing ball high and wide.

PENALTY SHOUT! Oooh Birmingham, lucky lucky! Hernandez curls a shot at goal and Robinson leans towards the direction of the shot and uses his arm to block it. His arm wasn't far away from his body, but he still moved towards the ball and it definitely struck his forearm. Should have been a penalty.

Birmingham have been pretty quiet in the second half, but they've just had a bright moment with Cotterill firing wide from 20 yards. It's all about whether the Blues can hold on.

SAVE! Livermore with a snapshot from a tight angle that Kuszczak beats away.

DOUBLE-SAVE! Much harder saves this time from the former Man Utd man as first he parries Snodgrass's low effort before reacting to keep out Clucas's follow-up.

No subs yet from Rowett, but you would think that Davis might come on soon to shore up the midfield.

BIRMINGHAM SUB: I'm psychic, I know. Davis comes on for Cotterill.

HULL SUB: Third and final Hull sub as well and it comes at right-back, with Elmohamady on for Odubajo.

Birmingham aren't happy as the ref points for a goal kick even though Maghoma's speculative shot clearly deflected out for a corner. Ten minutes plus stoppage time for them to hold on.

CHANCE! Oh my goodness, how has that not gone in?! Hernandez's initial shot is blocked, but the ball drops so kindly for Clucas a few yards out and he just has to stab home. You're waiting for the net to bulge, but Morrison sticks out a leg to make a superb block.

One thing about tonight's game, it's been a very well-fought but clean contest. Referee Martin hasn't needed to book anyone yet.

Birmingham will have chances on the counter-attack with Hull pushing for an equaliser and they've just spurned a great one. Donaldson was all alone down the right, but Maghoma's lazy pass was cut out.

CLOSE! Nice one-two between Livermore and Snodgrass, but the latter's curling shot is just too close to Kuszczak. Easy stop that for the Pole.

That was Hull's 22nd shot of the match, but you'd probably say that Birmingham have had as many good chances as the Tigers.

McGregor tested for the first time in the second half down the other end as Toral shoots low from a tight angle. Comfortable stop for the Scot.

It'll be THREE minutes of added time as the rain teems down in Birmingham.

Stupid from Powell as he barges over Morrison in the box. Hull had the ball in the good position and Birmingham can now waste some precious seconds.

One last chance here for Hull as Hernandez's shot is blocked before Birmingham clear their lines.

FULL-TIME: BIRMINGHAM 1-0 HULL

What a huge win for Birmingham and Rowett celebrates on the touchline with a big fist pump. They faded after half time, but Hull didn't create too much after an action-packed opening period. Birmingham certainly needed a bit of luck and they got it with Toral's goal deflected and Hull denied a clear penalty in the second half.

Here's our developing match report, with Birmingham climbing up to seventh in the table and within a point of the playoffs. Hull miss the chance to go top and they will drop to third if Middlesbrough avoid defeat against Wolves tomorrow. Thanks for joining SM tonight, good evening!

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Gary Rowett of Birmingham City looks on during the pre season friendly match between Nuneaton Town and Birmingham City at the James Parnell Stadium on July 14, 2015
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