Nicklas Bendtner made the perfect start to his loan spell at Birmingham City with the winning goal in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Colchester at St. Andrews.

The 18-year-old Danish striker replaced Stephen Clemence after 56 minutes and fired home a low shot to secure all three points after Richard Garcia had equalised DJ Campbell's first-half opener for Steve Bruce's side.

"Coming to Birmingham is a development stage for me and it's important for me," Bendtner told the Birmingham Post. "Rather than playing for the reserves I'll be playing in games where every point counts so it's a big difference.

"I was happy with my debut. The lads gave everything they had. We got the three points without playing as well as we can, which is good.

"I settled quickly, but it helped going into a good team. At the moment I have six months here and my target is to go as far as I can with Birmingham and hopefully get them back into the Premiership at the end of the season."

Bendtner was one of three Arsenal players who started the opening game of the Championship season on the Blues' bench. Sebastian Larsson also came on after 56 minutes while Fabrice Muamba was not used.

Elsewhere, Kerrea Gilbert played a full 90 minutes at right back as Cardiff City kicked off their Championship campaign with a 2-1 victory at Barnsley.

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7 Aug 2006