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Manchester United held but regain top spot from neighbors City

Lee Bowyer stretches to score Birmingham's late equalizer to salvage a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
Lee Bowyer stretches to score Birmingham's late equalizer to salvage a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United regain top spot in English Premier League with 1-1 draw at Birmingham
  • Neighbors Manchester City temporarily hit top after 4-0 win over Aston Villa
  • United unbeaten in 18 games since the start of the league season
  • Manager Alex Ferguson angry as Lee Bowyer's late equalizer denies United three points

(CNN) -- Manchester United reclaimed top spot in the English Premier League from local rivals Manchester City despite being held 1-1 at lowly Birmingham on Tuesday night.

The draw sees United join City, who have played two games more, on 38 points but with a superior goal difference.

Arsenal occupy third spot, three points adrift, after winning 3-1 at defending champions Chelsea on Monday.

Dimitar Berbatov put United ahead in the second half and victory looked assured until Lee Bowyer cropped up with a late equalizer in the dying moments at St Andrews.

Man City take over at the top after Villa rout

We deserved to win the game, we were the better team
--Alex Ferguson
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Chances were few and far between in the first half, with Birmingham more than matching United, who are unbeaten in the league this season.

Ryan Giggs almost beat his former United teammate Ben Foster, but the Birmingham goalkeeper was able to touch his shot onto the post.

Berbatov's 15th goal of the season came in the 58th minute after a fine pass from Darron Gibson, and the Bulgarian clipped the outside of the post with a sharp effort shortly afterwards.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish rung the changes and brought on Alexander Hleb and giant Serbian striker Nikola Zigic.

It all looked in vain as United played down the clock, but in a last-gasp attack Roger Johnson crossed, Zigic got a touch with a suspicion of handball and Bowyer applied the finish, with United appealing for offside.

It left United manager Alex Ferguson unhappy after seeing his side concede another late away goal to deny them victory.

"It was handball, there was a foul on the center half -- he went right through the back of him. If the ref can't see that what chance have you got?" he told Sky Sports.

"We deserved to win the game, we were the better team."

The precious point lifted Birmingham out of the bottom three on goal difference in a tight race to avoid relegation from the English top-flight this season.