Jerome continues Birmingham's good run

Birmingham 2 Blackburn 1

Cameron Jerome helped Birmingham rewrite their record books as his two goals against Blackburn lifted Alex McLeish’s side into the top six of the Barclays Premier League.

Blues registered a fifth successive Premier League win for the first time and it is 36 years since they achieved the feat in the top flight during the days of Trevor Francis and Bob Latchford.

Jerome struck after 12 minutes and three minutes into the second half – his 50th career league goal – and Rovers could only manage a solitary reply from skipper Ryan Nelsen.

City are now unbeaten in eight matches from which they have collected 20 points and are making a mockery of the pre-season predictions that they would make an instant return to the Coca-Cola Championship.

They controlled this match for long periods with Jerome finally getting some tangible reward for his hard-working performances after previously only netting once this season.

Barry Ferguson also impressed in central midfield against his former club and James McFadden on the left flank while Roger Johnson was again a solid defensive rock.

Rovers had the consolation of scoring their first goal for 445 minutes but until the closing stages they were second best and have now conceded 23 goals on their travels.

Recalled Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic had the first attempt on goal but his 20-yard volley flew high over Joe Hart’s crossbar.

Rovers fans taunted Ferguson who suffered a serious knee injury during his 18-month spell at Ewood Park before he returned to Rangers.

There were too many misplaced passes from both sides in the early stages but after 12 minutes Birmingham went ahead through Jerome’s second goal of the campaign.

McFadden played a short corner to Sebastian Larsson who sent over a dangerous-looking cross.

Christian Benitez headed goalwards and the ball also struck Liam Ridgewell before Jerome poked it over the line from close range.

This goal gave the home side a visible lift and Lee Bowyer only just failed to get on the end of a through ball from Benitez after some neat passing.

Benitez had the ball in the net after 22 minutes, turning home a centre from Larsson, but the Ecuador international had strayed marginally offside.

Rovers were forced into a substitution a minute later with Keith Andrews replacing the injured Brett Emerton.

Larsson blocked a powerful drive from Steven Nzonzi but City were generally in the ascendancy and Jerome got on the end of a near-post cross from McFadden and flashed a header over the bar.

Benitez’s pace was troubling the Blackburn defence and one sharp run ended with a shot being deflected for a corner.

Kalinic had an opportunity to equalise three minutes before the interval after City failed to clear a hopeful punt in their box but he mis-kicked at close range.

Nzonzi was yellow-carded in first-half injury time for a challenge on Liam Ridgewell.

Birmingham made a positive start to the second half and after 48 minutes Jerome doubled their lead with his second goal of the game.

Larsson’s overhead pass was seized on by the over-lapping Carr who cut into the Rovers penalty area before squaring the ball to Jerome who clinically drove his low shot past Paul Robinson.

He could not conceal his delight at scoring the 50th league goal of his career and was booked by referee Michael Jones for his celebrations.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce responded by replacing El-Hadji Diouf with Junior Hoilett after 53 minutes.

Blackburn captain Nelsen was booked for body-checking Jerome near the touchline.

But after 69 minutes Nelsen gave his side a lifeline with his second league goal of the campaign.

Pascal Chimbonda got on the end of Morten Gamst Pedersen’s inswinging free-kick and forced a good save out of Hart but Nelsen was on hand to score.

Benitez should have wrapped up the points with two minutes remaining but hit the bar from close range after Robinson had parried a Jerome shot.

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