Birmingham 1 Manchester United 1

Manchester United passed up the chance to leapfrog Chelsea at the top of the Premier League last night when they drew 1-1 with an in-form Birmingham side unbeaten in their last 13 games.

Cameron Jerome gave the Blues the lead late in the first half after Jonny Evans failed to clear a James McFadden corner. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic out injured Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to pair Evand and Wes Brown together in central defence and they struggled to keep Jerome and his strike partner Chuco Benitez at bay.

United struggled to break down Birmingham's defence at the other end with Roger Johnson in outstanding form. Ultimately the champions needed an own goal from Scott Dann to avoid what would have been their fourth defeat in seven games.

Afterward Ferguson acknowledged that his side had been in a game describing the result as 'not a bad point' but slammed the Darren Fletcher's 84th-minute red card.

'I've not seen such a soft sending off for a long time. It was absolutely ridiculous. I watched Mark Clattenburg referee Arsenal v Spurs, and you had to hit somebody with an axe to get booked in that game.'

Birmingham manager Alex McCleish praised his players following the game and confirmed that Spanish midfielder Michel had joined the club from Sporting Gijon: 'They've shown those qualities all season and this time you can add ability to that. They can be utterly proud of what they have done so far.'

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