Blues duo off the hook

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Football News

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton quipped that the drinks were on Colin Doyle and Jonathan Spector after their team-mates bailed them out by coming from behind to beat NK Maribor 2-1.

Hughton's npower Championship side went a goal down in their Europa League Group H clash in Slovenia when goalkeeper Doyle completely missed Spector's ill-advised backpass and allowed Dalibor Volas in to score. But City showed fighting spirit to level through Chris Burke before Wade Elliott hit a dramatic winner.

Hughton said: "Overall I thought it was a good game. From my point of view I was very frustrated with the first goal we conceded and one of the reasons we're happy we won is because we wouldn't have liked to have lost to a goal like that."

He added: "We showed great character and team spirit and in the end I thought we were worthy winners. You do reflect on goals like that and it's always good to clear things up after mistakes.

"In defence of Colin, it was a very difficult ball for him to deal with. It was then important we didn't concede again and we managed that and then went on to get a grip on the game.

"I would think Colin and Jonathan might offer to buy Chris and Wade a drink now!" These things are part and parcel of the game. Their goal was very much a mistake. Anybody can make them and it just makes us more thankful to get the result. Someone made a mistake today and someone else might make the next one. That's football."

While his side lie 19th in the Championship, Hughton is still determined to make the most of his side's European adventure.

"Of course we want to do well in this competition," he said. "The most important thing for us is competing and we know Brugge and Braga are very experienced and have so much quality."

Maribor coach Darko Milanic, who masterminded Rangers' downfall at the play-off stage, said: "In the first half I thought we were the better team and we played an excellent game. We had many chances and scored after they made the mistake. We had everything under control at that stage but knew our opponents were very dangerous.

"In the second half though we were not as clever on the ball and Birmingham were more dangerous. They capitalised on our mistakes and scored and after that we didn't keep it together. Birmingham showed the spirit I expected them to show. The result just shows the quality in the group."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Europa League
Chris Burke
Jonathan Spector
Wade Elliott
Colin Doyle

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