BIRMINGHAM CEMENT PLAY-OFF SPOT
Birmingham overcame a second-half Burnley fightback to steal a march on their npower Championship play-off rivals with a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.
Marlon King fired his 16th goal of the season to give Blues an early lead in a first-half of few chances.
The home side were sparked into life by the introduction of Junior Stanislas before the hour and forward duo Danny Ings and Charlie Austin both hit the crossbar before the former levelled.
Chris Hughton's men responded instantly and Jordon Mutch netted his first goal for the club with 15 minutes to play, leaving full-back David Murphy to apply gloss to the scoreline when Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant dropped Mutch's cross.
Birmingham are now three points clear of seventh-placed Middlesbrough, who are outside the top six on goal difference, having won their game in hand on the clutch of teams on 63 points.
At the turn of the year Eddie Howe's Clarets also harboured play-off ambitions, but they remain 16th and on a run of four wins in 16 matches.
Hughton admitted luck was with Birmingham as they claimed victory.
"I thought over the 90 minutes we just deserved it," said Hughton.
"We had to ride our luck a little bit.
"In the first-half I thought we were good but you're up against a team that are playing at home.
"At 1-1, they had a period before that where I suppose some people watching the game would have thought it (the equaliser) was coming, but we showed great character to get that second goal and I think that was very much the turning point of the game."
Howe was disappointed his Burnley side did not have more to show for a vastly improved second-half showing.
"The scoreline doesn't look good, but it was a very good second-half performance," said Howe.
"I thought when we equalised we were going to go on and win the game. We've said that a few times this season."
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