Birmingham strolled to a fourth straight win at Fulham this afternoon piling more pressure on Chris Coleman.
The normally placid Craven Cottage crowd booed Fulham off the field at the end of an encounter where they were comprehensively outplayed. Emile Heskey, Darren Carter and Robbie Savage did the damage for Steve Bruce’s side – with the England striker proving unplayable as the focal point of Birmingham’s attack.
Heskey smashed in the opener in the 25th minutes after playing a one-two with Clinton Morrison, firing high into the net after Robbie Savage had seized possession in central midfield. The visitors looked in total command but Fulham equalised completely against the run of play when Tomasz Radzinski touched Papa Bouba Diop’s shot into the path of Sylvain Legwinski, who found the roof of the net.
A game devoid of real quality was suddenly a very open affair. Edwin van der Sar produced a brilliant save to stop Carter from putting Birmignham back in front and, from the game’s very next attack, former Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor saved smartly from Andy Cole. But the home side looked incredibly vulnerable at the back and Bruce’s men went in front again five minutes before half-time. An unmarked Carter crashed home from six yards out after Heskey had headed down Savage’s cross.
It might have been worse for Fulham but van der Sar fielded a Morrison drive to give the home fans hope of a second half fightback. Fulham began on the front foot when Taylor made another magnificent save to keep out a low strike from Cole after he had linked up impressively with Radzinski.
But Birmingham showed no signs of sitting on their slender advantage and got the crucial third through the influential Savage seven minutes into the second half. Heskey was involved again, with some vintage hold up play and the Welsh international was afforded far too much room to set himself up for an eye-catching volley from the edge of the area.
Fulham’s attempts at a recovery were thwarted by Taylor, who saved well from substitute Elvis Hammond’s header, and Radzinski’s injury-time consolation did nothing to lift the miserable mood around Craven Cottage.
FULHAM (4-4-2): van der Sar; Volz, Bocanegra, Knight, Pearce (Rehman 45); Legwinski, Diop, Radzinski, John (Hammond 57); Cole, McBride (Malbranque 56). Subs (not used): Crossley, Pembridge.
GOALS: Legwinski (34), Radzinski (90).
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Maik Taylor; Tebily, Cunningham, Upson, Melchiot; Johnson, Carter, Savage (Anderton 86), Clapham; Heskey (Gray 75), Morrison (Clemence 82). Subs (not used): Vaesen, Martin Taylor.
GOALS: Heskey (25), Carter (41), Savage (53).
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (County Durham).