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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Everton 0-0 Birmingham
James Beattie challenges Birmingham's Mathew Sadler
James Beattie challenges Birmingham's Mathew Sadler
Birmingham earned a precious point in their battle against relegation after a dour stalemate at Everton.

Steve Bruce's side were second-best for most of a desperately poor game, but restricted Everton to few chances.

Maik Taylor saved well from Leon Osman and David Weir, while James Beattie had a close-range effort ruled out for offside after 54 minutes.

Birmingham's Jermaine Pennant had snap shot wide early on, but Steve Bruce's side were content with a point.

Birmingham were lifted when Pennant and Emile Heskey passed late fitness tests - leaving Mikael Forssell on the bench after his late winner against Blackburn.

And Pennant almost gave Birmingham the perfect start, but his volley was narrowly off target.

But Everton were dominant for most of the first-half, with Phil Neville shooting just wide and Leon Osman seeing a 20-yard drive turned over the top by Taylor.

Everton were forced into a change at half-time when Tim Cahill limped off with a knee injury sustained after an aerial challenge which also saw Birmingham's Damien Johnson suffer a head wound.

Beattie had a goal ruled out for offside after 54 minutes when he turned in from close-range after Taylor had saved Osman's shot.

Taylor then came to Birmingham's rescue again as he dived low to his right to save from Weir.

Both sides made changes after 67 minutes, with Duncan Ferguson replacing Andy van der Meyde and Birmingham sending on Forssell and DJ Campbell for Heskey and Pennant.

But the game petered out into a tame draw, with Everton unable to produce any real quality and Birmingham showing a surprising lack of urgency given their desperate plight.

  • Everton manager David Moyes:
    "We had the majority of the play, but we didn't pass the ball as quickly or crisply as we had been doing in the second half.

    "In recent weeks we haven't been able to buy a goal. We had some great crosses in but we didn't produce in the final third.

    "We've had problems all season getting goals and it cost us again because we really should have won that game."

  • Birmingham manager Steve Bruce:
    "The disappointing thing is the situation is now out of our hands, but I still think there are some major twists left.

    "All we can do now is keep going and try to put some pressure on Portsmouth by beating Newcastle next week.

    "We are fortunate in that we are putting together our best sequence of results through the whole season.

    "If someone had said to me in January, when we only had 12 points, that we would still be alive at this stage, I would have taken it."

    Everton: Wright, Neville, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith, Osman, Davies, Cahill (Kilbane 45), Van der Meyde (Ferguson 68), Beattie, McFadden (Anichebe 84).
    Subs Not Used: Turner, Stubbs.

    Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Cunningham, Martin Taylor, Sadler, Pennant (Campbell 68), Johnson, Butt, Gray, Heskey (Forssell 68), Sutton.
    Subs Not Used: Vaesen, Nafti, Bruce.

    Booked: Melchiot, Cunningham, Butt, Sadler.

    Att: 35,420.

    Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).

    Interview: David Moyes

    Interview: Steve Bruce

    Saturday's football photos
    22 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries


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