Maikel Kieftenbeld’s hopeful effort slipped through the legs of the Preston ‘keeper
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/12/18 5:45pm
Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd helped to hand Birmingham a 3-0 Sky Bet Championship victory after making a huge mistake at St Andrew’s.
With no one around him, Rudd completely missed Maikel Kieftenbeld’s hopeful punt into the area and watched in horror as the ball rolled between his legs and into the net to hand Birmingham a 46th-minute lead.
Jacques Maghoma then made the game safe for Birmingham with their second goal in the 61st minute before Che Adams added a third 13 minutes from time.
The win extended Birmingham’s unbeaten home run in the league to 15 games while it brought to an end Preston’s run of nine games without defeat.
Dominant Birmingham made the initial early running with Lukas Jutkiewicz seeing a second-minute header flash wide from Kristian Pedersen’s cross before City captain Michael Morrison had his header from Connor Mahoney’s corner saved by Rudd six minutes later.
Preston failed to heed the presence of Morrison in their penalty area and he was again given time and space to meet another Mahoney corner after 13 minutes only to this time steer his header off target.
Birmingham then suffered further frustration in the Preston area when they had claims for a penalty rejected in the 22nd minute after Adams crashed to the ground following a challenge from Jordan Storey, with referee David Webb waving away their appeals for a spot-kick.
After being pegged back for so long, injury-hit Preston then came closest to breaking the deadlock in their first real attack in the 28th minute.
Louis Moult had his back to goal when Paul Gallagher prodded the ball towards him and the former Motherwell striker tried his luck with a spectacular overhead kick that goalkeeper Lee Camp had to push to safety over the bar.
But Birmingham ended the half as they had begun it – on the attack – with Jutkiewicz flashing a shot into the side-netting and finally made the breakthrough at the start of the second period when they were gifted the lead by Rudd’s howler.
Birmingham then quickly tried to put the game beyond the reach of Preston with Gary Gardner being denied by Rudd before Maghoma lifted a close-range shot over the bar.
Maghoma proved to be more clinical when a second chance presented itself following a cross from Maxime Colin.
He skilfully controlled the ball on his chest before riding two challenges and volleying home into the far corner of the net from 14 yards.
Adams then added some gloss to the final scoreline when he chased down a pass from Kieftenbeld and curled a low shot past the outstretched hand of Rudd.