Middlesbrough miss out on going top as King double earns Blues win

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Birmingham twice fought back against high-flying Middlesbrough before Marlon King’s well-taken finish claimed only a second home win in seven attempts at St Andrew’s.

Boro captain Grant Leadbitter headed his first npower Championship goal of the season to put the visitors ahead before King, who had earlier hit the outside of a post, picked himself up to draw level from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, an equaliser City scarcely deserved.

Scott McDonald capitalised on some poor defending from Pablo Ibanez to nudge Boro back in front just after the hour mark but, again, the home side drew level courtesy of substitute Wade Elliott’s lob, which should have been kept out by Jason Steele.

But there was nothing fortunate about King’s matchwinning second, a sublime low finish across Steele in the 81st minute to claim three much-needed points for Lee Clark’s side, ending a four-match winless run.

Middlesbrough went into the clash knowing victory would take them joint top of the Championship and they will have felt hard done by as they slipped to a third defeat in four games.

The visitors’ attractive passing style was certainly easy on the eye and it was they who broke the deadlock after 14 minutes.

The ball was recycled to Andy Halliday out on the left and Leadbitter nodded home from six yards.

Lukas Jutkiewicz should have made it 2-0 but his header from Justin Hoyte’s cross flew off target before, out of nowhere and with half-time approaching, the hosts drew level. King turned Andre Bikey, who tripped the striker in the penalty area, and King himself stepped up to convert.

McDonald and Elliott traded goals, before King had the final say, finishing superbly after Boro had given the ball away to Peter Lovenkrands.

Birmingham: Butland, Caddis, Ibanez, Davies, Robinson, Morrison (Elliott 46), Mullins, Spector, Hall (Burke 69), King, Zigic (Lovenkrands 75). Unused substitutes: Doyle, Caldwell, Redmond, Diop. Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Hines, Bikey, Halliday, Ledesma (Smallwood 67), McEachran (Zemmama 83), Bailey, Leadbitter, Jutkiewicz (Miller 67),McDonald. Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Thomson, Emnes, Parnaby.

Referee: R East (Wiltshire).

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