Date: 20th January 2013 at 11:57am
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Albion were cruelly denied a fourth straight win as Nikola Zigic forced an uncharacteristic error from Tomasz Kuszczak in stoppage time.

Steven Caldwell had headed the home side in-front early on, only for Ashley Barnes to fire a quick response. David Lopez fired in a superb volley after the break to put Albion ahead, but Zigic levelled matters in the dying moments, as Kuszczak was left red-faced in the visitors’ net.

Both sides took time to warm up to the contest, with only a couple of half chances in the opening stages – Rob Hall saw a free-kick deflect wide, before David’s dangerous centre narrowly skipped away from the out-stretched leg of Andrea Orlandi. Chris Burke soon tried his luck from distance, having cut in from the right.

The opener arrived on 18 minutes, when Blues skipper Caldwell steered home a free header from a Rob Hall corner. Poyet’s men looked for swift reply as Liam Bridcutt bent a right-footed curler just wide of Jack Butland’s left-hand post.

However, it was not longer before they were back on level terms. Barnes received a low cross from Orlandi, taking a touch before drilling home a well placed strike from the edge of the area, leaving Butland with no chance. Further chances came and went, with David and then Callum Reilly firing over.

Kuzczcak had to be on guard to parry away another fine effort from Burke. But it was Albion who edged in-front before half-time courtesy of a wonderful strike from David. Wayne Bridge carried the ball forward, before floating a perfectly weighted cross towards the back-post, where the Spanish midfield was waiting to blast a powerful volley past Butland.

Birmingham striker Zigic entered the fray after the break, as Lee Clark looked to utilise his height and presence in the box. The Serb helped the ball into the path of the on-rushing Hall, but Kuszczak was alert to the danger as he burst out to punch the ball clear.

The Seagulls should really have bagged a third as they enjoyed a host of chances; Barnes and Dean Hammond both seeing headers evade the target, whilst Orlandi had a long-range strike bravely blocked by Paul Caddis. Orlandi then forced a top save from Butland with a bending 25-yard free-kick.

As the game wore on, Birmingham continued to look for Zigic in the area, and it was he who forced home an equaliser in the 91st minute. Marlon King crossed for the giant Serb, and his header squirmed through the hands of Kuszczak and into the Albion net, much to the despair of the travelling contingent.

There was still time for one last chance, as Will Buckley’s lofted cross was met by the head of Hammond, but Butland produced another smart stop. A frustrating 2 points dropped for Albion, as they stay situated in 8th place, but now 5 points off the play-off spots.

The Seagulls play their game in hand on Tuesday night as they travel to Blackburn. A win would lift them to within 6 points of the automatic spots.