Blackburn Rovers 1 Birmingham City 1

Last updated : 15 May 2004 By Footymad Previewer

The curtain came down on a disappointing season for Blackburn Rovers, in symptomatic fashion according to their boss Graeme Souness.

Birmingham City substitute Stern John scored an 83rd minute equaliser that robbed the home side of £1million in prize money and also ensured a top-ten finish for Steve Bruce's outfit for the first time in 31 years.

"It wasn't a particularly good game of football," reflected Souness afterwards. "I was deeply disappointed with the way we conceded the goal and it was a fitting end to what has been an extremely frustrating season for us." Blackburn's home form has been the scourge of their campaign, ten defeats and only five wins having left them perilously close to the relegation zone until a recent pick-up ensured survival.

However, for his opposite number, this has been a season of progress despite a disappointing end to the campaign which has seen them slip away from European contention.

"We deserved something out of the game," Bruce said. "To finish in the top ten is a remarkable achievement for us." Birmingham just about deserved their point from this match after a series of missed first-half chances coupled with Andy Cole's strike for Blackburn appeared to have handed the home side the game.

Cole struck in the 24th minute, sliding home after shaking off Matthew Upson, although by then, Blackburn keeper Peter Enckelman had made an excellent save to keep out Mikael Forssell.

Clinton Morrison then hit the bar for Birmingham before Damien Johnson raced clear, only to be denied by the Finnish goalkeeper's agility once more.

In the second half, Rovers came into the game as a potent attacking force and it was City keeper Maik Taylor's chance to shine, pulling off a string of superb saves from Cole, Michael Gray, Jonathan Stead and Tugay.

But, honours were shared as John rose to meet Johnson's 83rd minute cross and head beyond a despairing Enckelman for an equaliser.