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Blues boss Alex McLeish said the controversial penalty that landed Villa a 1-0 win the second city derby denied his "outstanding" side a deserved result.

Reeling from Martin Atkinson's spot-kick award in the 83rd minute - when TV replays clearly showed that defender Roger Johnson got the ball when challenging Gabby Agbonlahor - Big Eck was disappointed to have to be talking to the media about the incident late in the game.

Instead of talking about a display that saw Blues take the game to their hosts and dominate for long periods, the manager's post-match press conference centred on the penalty decision that led to the only goal of the game.

McLeish told "I should be here talking about an outstanding performance at the end of a game which we were more than good value to have taken a result from.

"Villa may think they edged the first half but in that the first 45 minutes we had several chances and Brad Friedel was in inspired form. He certainly saved them from conceding a few goals.Alex McLeish

"We came out guns blazing second half and were excellent. The lads should be rightly proud of how they played.

"The volley from Craig Gardner looked in all the way as soon as it left his foot until Friedel produced another top class save and we came close with other chances.

"In this game you have to lick your wounds and move on to the next challenge but it's harder to do so when you experience what happened this afternoon.

"It was not a penalty, it was a perfectly good tackle, and it's cost us dear. Making tackles like that is a skill and it's a skill which Roger Johnson has made his name with this season.

"Referees have a very difficult job and I'm not one for making their lives even harder but he (Martin Atkinson) made a mistake today and it prevented us from getting a result that would have meant so much to everyone at the club and would have been the very least the players deserved."

Defender Scott Dann missed the game with a calf strain picked up in training. Gregory Vignal came in for him, with Liam Ridgewell moving across from left-back to centre-half alongside Johnson and McLeish was pleased with the effect the shuffle had on his side.

He added: "Scott didn't come through a fitness test yesterday so we decided to play Vignal at left-back and move Liam across.

"Vignal hasn't started a game for a while and has been on the bench but I thought he did very well. He picked up a yellow card and after that he needed to be a bit more cautious but he had a good game.

"Liam showed just how far he has matured as a player to slot back into the centre-half position and play so well. He has been a tremendous performer for us at left-back this season but of course is no stranger to playing at the heart of defence and he proved that with a fine display at Villa Park.

"And he wasn't the only one - it was a great team performance and once again we proved we could go toe-to-toe with one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.

"A decision cost us but, like I've said, we'll lick our wounds and get ready to take on Burnley at St. Andrew's on Saturday."

Birmingham City would like to apologise to supporters for the delay in posting the Villa match report and post-match manager comments on-line. This was due to technical problems out of the club's control and club staff did everything possible to ensure fans could catch up on details of the game as soon as possible. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

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