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Che Adams’ winner at Bristol City sees Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham avoid drop
Birmingham preserved their Sky Bet Championship status as Harry Redknapp oversaw a 1-0 win at Bristol City.
Che Adams was only able to play after his red card against Huddersfield last week was rescinded.
But Adams entered Birmingham folklore with the 16th-minute winner which helped relegate Blackburn.
So, too, will Redknapp after being appointed for the final three games of a season to save the Blues.
Having flirted with the play-offs before Gary Rowett’s dismissal in mid-December, Birmingham sunk like a stone under his successor Gianfranco Zola.
Incredibly, Redknapp’s two victories from his three league games matched Zola’s win tally from 22.
No wonder Redknapp was saluted by the Birmingham hordes, the 70-year-old punching the air and running towards them on the final whistle.
With Nottingham Forest and Blackburn winning elsewhere, there was no margin for error for Birmingham as a Bristol City equaliser would have relegated them.
There was a real moment of anxiety when Ryan Shotton’s handball in the penalty area after 71 minutes was adjudged accidental.
But Birmingham protected goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak superbly and were well worth their win.
Birmingham’s desire saw them create three chances in the opening seven minutes with David Davis, Adams and Jutkiewicz all denied by Robins goalkeeper Fabian Giefer.
Shotton soon headed over Jutkiewicz’s cross but, with news filtering through of Blackburn’s two-goal lead at Brentford, Birmingham got the goal their early endeavour deserved.
Jutkiewicz’s ball over the top saw Adams scamper through and hold Aden Flint off before the young striker rolled his shot past Giefer.
Adams almost added another as Giefer swatted aside his near-post drive, and Bristol City’s top scorer Tammy Abraham made a crucial intervention to head Jacques Maghoma’s shot off his own goal-line line.
Abraham was in more familiar territory when setting up Joe Bryan for a wayward shooting opportunity, but Birmingham nerves were stretched more by the bulletin of a Forest goal close to half-time than any home pressure.
Craig Gardner’s speculative 40-yard effort was uncomfortably dealt with by Giefer, but Birmingham knew a Bristol City equaliser would drop them into the relegation zone.
And the Robins finally began to impose themselves with Abraham firing wide and Marlon Pack sneaking in at the far post unattended but failing to find the target.
Bailey Wright headed over from a corner but Birmingham held on through six minutes of stoppage time to send their 2,500 supporters in a capacity Ashton Gate crowd wild.
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