Championship
Birmingham2Middlesbrough2

Birmingham City 2-2 Middlesbrough

David Davis (centre)
David Davis' goal denied Aitor Karanka's side all three points in a thriller at St Andrew's

Middlesbrough returned to the top of the Championship table after coming from a goal down to claim a point in a classic at St Andrew's.

Boro move ahead of Burnley and Brighton, who can climb above them again with wins in Monday's games.

Stephen Gleeson and Jordan Rhodes shared a goal apiece in the first half, before Gaston Ramirez put Boro ahead.

David Davis levelled, but Daniel Ayala had a goal disallowed to deny the Teessiders all three points.

Both sides had numerous chances to score more goals on a cold and wet night full of breathless end-to-end action and fabulous entertainment in Small Heath.

But Ayala wrongly had what would have been a winning goal chalked off for offside before visiting skipper Grant Leadbitter wobbled the Railway Stand End crossbar with a blistering volley which proved too hot for Adam Legzdins to handle.

Relive Middlesbrough's 2-2 draw at Birmingham as it happened

The game that came to life

A first half hour of tactical stalemate suddenly came to life with a string of chances at both ends, before two goals in quick succession.

Both Blues keeper Legzdins and his counterpart Dimi Konstantopoulos made key saves, but both were culpable at crucial moments.

Such was the ferocity of the Blues midfielder Gleeson's well-struck shot that Konstantopoulos could only help it into the net.

At the other end, Ramirez's free-kick should not have troubled the keeper but Legzdins fumbled the ball as if it was a bar of soap - and the predatory Rhodes raced in to prod it over the line.

Rhodes had a great chance of a second when he latched onto deflected Leadbitter's free kick but the ball came back off the post and, in his desperation to latch onto the rebound, he got in the way of the better placed Albert Adomah.

It mattered little when, in Blues' next attack, Rhodes cutely headed down Adomah's cross for Ramirez to net from almost on the line, but Davis latched onto a loose clearance to equalise again.

Ayala was then denied by the referee's assistant's flag, while there were further chances for ex-Boro loanee Diego Fabbrini who headed over, David Cotterill, who saw his powerful shot saved then somehow scrambled out for a corner and Leadbitter - who saw his thunderous effort swerve out of Legzdins' grasp to hit the bar.

Remarkable Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes
Jordan Rhodes was a £9m signing from Blackburn in the January transfer window, and his goal was crucial to sealing a point

Rhodes may be a prolific scorer but he reacts in a phlegmatic way to disappointment.

Twice, when he perhaps ought to have scored, he was denied by saves from Legzdins, but was still on the spot to accept when the Blues keeper offered him a gift.

Similarly, after a bad miss early in the second half, it was Rhodes who then bounced straight back to head down for Ramirez to put Boro ahead.

After scoring for Boro in only his second appearance after signing from Blackburn for £9m in the January transfer window, Rhodes then went through an uncustomary eight-game barren spell.

But his first-half equaliser at St Andrew's was his fifth goal in seven matches, his 17th of the season and, at 26, the Oldham-born Scotland international is now just 12 short of 200 career goals.

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett told BBC Sport:

Media playback is not supported on this device

Rowett on Birmingham v Middlesbrough

"A great game, a great advert for the Championship and we may have played our small part in who gets promoted this season.

"The Ayala goal was onside, but then I thought there was a slight suspicion about their first goal. Adam Legzdins will learn from his error and he had just made two good saves before that.

"And nothing can take away from the quality of our performance on a night which could easily have been a nervy occasion. The idea that my lads might be on the beach with their flip flops on was an insult to my players."

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka: "We are in a good position. We have a chance to play at home with our crowd behind us next week.

"We have to be pleased with a point. Birmingham are a good team."

Karanka on Ayala's disallowed goal: "I like to think it was a mistake but there have been a lot of mistakes against us this season and it is not the day to discuss that."

Line-ups

Birmingham

  • 1Legzdins
  • 31CaddisSubstituted forSpectorat 90'minutes
  • 28Morrison
  • 32Shotton
  • 3Grounds
  • 8Gleeson
  • 6Kieftenbeld
  • 11Cotterill
  • 7FabbriniSubstituted forRobinsonat 79'minutes
  • 26DavisSubstituted forSolomon-Otaborat 86'minutes
  • 9Donaldson

Substitutes

  • 4Robinson
  • 15Vaughan
  • 17Solomon-Otabor
  • 23Spector
  • 25Lafferty
  • 27Trueman
  • 30Buckley

Middlesbrough

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 24Nsue
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 5de Laet
  • 8Clayton
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 27Adomah
  • 21Ramírez
  • 19DowningSubstituted forStuaniat 85'minutes
  • 9RhodesSubstituted forNugentat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 16de Sart
  • 17Husband
  • 18Stuani
  • 25Agazzi
  • 26Kalas
  • 34Forshaw
  • 35Nugent
Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
21,380

Match Stats

Home TeamBirminghamAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home16
Away16
Shots on Target
Home7
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Birmingham City 2, Middlesbrough 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Birmingham City 2, Middlesbrough 2.

Attempt blocked. Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Foul by David Nugent (Middlesbrough).

Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. David Nugent (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez following a set piece situation.

Nsue (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Viv Solomon-Otabor (Birmingham City).

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Jonathan Spector replaces Paul Caddis.

Attempt saved. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Nugent.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. David Nugent replaces Jordan Rhodes.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Adam Legzdins.

Attempt missed. Nsue (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Cristhian Stuani.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Viv Solomon-Otabor replaces David Davis.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Cristhian Stuani replaces Stewart Downing.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Daniel Ayala.

Attempt missed. David Cotterill (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Clayton Donaldson.

Attempt saved. Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

Attempt saved. David Cotterill (Birmingham City) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Foul by Ritchie de Laet (Middlesbrough).

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough).

Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Paul Robinson replaces Diego Fabbrini.

Jordan Rhodes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City).

Attempt blocked. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jonathan Grounds (Birmingham City).

Ritchie de Laet (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Clayton Donaldson (Birmingham City).

Attempt missed. Diego Fabbrini (Birmingham City) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by David Cotterill with a cross.

Offside, Middlesbrough. Jordan Rhodes tries a through ball, but Daniel Ayala is caught offside.

Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by David Davis (Birmingham City).

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 2, Middlesbrough 2. David Davis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Jonathan Grounds (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by David Cotterill with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Adam Clayton.

Attempt blocked. David Cotterill (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Diego Fabbrini (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by David Cotterill.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Middlesbrough452610962303288
2Burnley442415568353387
3Brighton442415570403087
4Hull4423111064333180
5Derby442114965412477
6Sheff Wed441817962431971
7Cardiff441716115547867
8Ipswich441615134949063
9Birmingham451614155248462
10Brentford44178196466-259
11Preston441416144243-158
12Leeds441416144855-758
13QPR441318135353057
14Wolves441315165056-654
15Reading441313185054-452
16Huddersfield441312195861-351
17Nottm Forest441215174045-551
18Blackburn441116174245-349
19Rotherham441310215265-1349
20Bristol City441213195070-2049
21Fulham441115186576-1148
22MK Dons44912233664-2839
23Charlton44813233876-3837
24Bolton44415254080-4027
View full Championship table

Top Stories