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Birmingham 1-0 Fulham Cham 29 1617 - BBCSports

last updated Monday 06th February 2017, 9:27 AM

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Birmingham (0) 1-0 (0) Fulham

Lukas Jutkiewicz's goal against 10-man Fulham gave Gianfranco Zola his first win since becoming Birmingham boss.

Zola had not won in 10 matches in all competitions since replacing Gary Rowett on 14 December.

The Blues took advantage after Ryan Fredericks was sent off for a reckless tackle on Craig Gardner, as Jutkiewicz converted Cheick Keita's cross.

Floyd Ayite had a late chance to salvage a point for Fulham in injury time, but the Togo forward fired wide.

Birmingham had previously picked up just three points from a possible 24 in the Championship under Zola, and the Italian also saw his side exit the FA Cup following a third-round replay against Newcastle.

They should have gone ahead on 19 minutes, but Jutkiewicz saw his header crash against the bar from four yards out.

Fulham rarely troubled home keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, with Chris Martin and Lucas Piazon directing headed efforts narrowly off target after the break.

Defeat at St Andrew's dents the west London club's play-off bid, with Slavisa Jokanovic's side dropping to 10th in the table, six points behind sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

City, meanwhile, had fallen out of the promotion picture during Zola's winless start and are now three points behind the Whites in 12th.

Birmingham boss Gianfranco Zola told BBC WM: "The team played with everything today. There was a lot of passion and I'm so proud and delighted with their performance.

"I thought we looked dangerous going forward and had a good balance in defence. We had some moments in which they but us under pressure, but that's normal against a good team like Fulham.

"When you work hard and the results don't come you start doubting yourself, so it was very important to get the win. But this is just the beginning and we can only get better so we need to keep going."

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic: "It was disappointing but generally we didn't produce our best play. Birmingham were more solid and the sending off of Fredericks killed us.

"I prefer not to make any comment on the sending off but the result was a big setback. Following our recent games we thought we could take the points, but we had problems with their long balls.

"We tried to find a solution after the sending off but I cannot complain about my team as they pushed hard."

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