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Lee Clark welcomes rare Birmingham City home win

16 August 2014

Wes Thomas was the toast of Birmingham City after his match-winning goal paved the way to a narrow 1-0 Sky Bet Championship home success over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Thomas' strike in the 49th minute ended Birmingham's harrowing run without a league home victory, which stretched back to 1st October.

The result was also a relief to Blues manager Lee Clark, although he insisted that statistic had not been a big problem for his current team.

Clark said: "I always stressed that we had a new group of players and I didn't think it was an issue I had to address.

"I've never spoken about it in pre-season as this is a completely new squad. I think we have seen the difference we have played.

"You have to have right players. The work ethic is brilliant. They press from the front and to win this game was brilliant for them."

Birmingham lost their inhibitions following the goal and played with a great deal more confidence to give encouragement for the future.

Dave Cotterill, a recent recruit from Doncaster, was one player who seemingly responded to the resurgence, much to the delight of Clark.

It was Cotterill who played a leading role in the goal, producing a right wing looping cross which went straight to the unmarked Thomas to head into the roof of the net for the 45th league goal of his career.

Clark said of Cotterill "He was outstanding all afternoon. He produced a great cross and it was good finish from Wes Thomas.

"I was a bit frustrated at half-time that we hadn't gone in leading but it was nice to get the goal early in the second half."

Clark also praised his defence in keeping a clean sheet, adding: "It was a big issue last season because we couldn't win games as we were conceding two or three goals.

"You have to build foundations and the way you start is being solid. It was an area we had to address, so this is a good start for us.

"This a win I want to build upon and one I've been wanting to deliver for the fans for a long time. This is the way I like to play - high tempo. I call it front-foot football but it is imperative that you have the right personnel."

Brighton's shortcomings were plainly obvious and losing their best players has not helped them

Seagulls boss Sami Hyypia said: "We cannot take a lot of positives out of the game. I didn't like it.

"I know that we are a better side on the ball than we showed today. We couldn't get our game going.

"We didn't start well and Birmingham put us under pressure and it was very difficult.

"When you cannot score it is important to keep a clean sheet but it wasn't to be against Birmingham.

"I am not happy where we are at the present time after defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham."

One bonus for Hyypia was the introduction of his latest signing, Shamir Fenelon.

Hyypia said: "It was a shame we could not have him in a training session as he was still at Liverpool. He had to come on to the pitch with totally strange players.

"I think I have a very good group and that he will quickly fit in and then he can show us what he can produce. We have to be patient with him as he is very young. He will keep improving."

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