Blues claimed a tremendous scalp this evening as they dumped holders Swansea City out of the Capital One Cup courtesy of second-half strikes from Dan Burn, Matt Green and Tom Adeyemi.
Lee Clark’s side rode their luck during the opening period after the Premier League side wasted several good opportunities. But as much as Swansea bossed the first-half, Lee Clark’s men were equally as dominant after the break and ripped their visitors apart with clinical ease. Burn bagged his first goal for the club soon after the interval and when Matt Green broke his St. Andrew’s duck it put the hosts in cruise control. Adeyemi completed a memorable cup night in B9 as his endeavour and then unselfish play from team-mate Chris Burke provided him with the chance to notch his first goal for the club late on. Wilfried Bony grabbed a consolation for Swansea deep into injury-time but it did little to dampen the spirits of a small but appreciative home crowd.
Blues made five changes to the team that brushed aside Sheffield Wednesday so comprehensively at the weekend. Saturday’s four-goal hero Jesse Lingard and Kyle Bartley were both ineligible due to the terms of their respective loans deals. Darren Randolph, Wade Elliott and David Murphy were rested. Colin Doyle, Paul Caddis, Shane Ferguson, Callum Reilly, Mitch Hancox were all given their chance to shine but while some of the personnel changed Clark stuck with the 3-4-3 formation and it worked a treat once again.
Chances were at a premium during the early stages but on 17 minutes Blues had a double let-off. First Swansea striker Wilfried Bony saw his header crash back off the bar and then Alejandro Pozuelo also hit the same section of woodwork with his blistering follow-up shot.
It was by no means one-way traffic though as Blues enjoyed plenty of first–half possession and looked threatening when they got the chance to go forward. Chris Burke had Gerhard Tremmel hurrying across his goal to collect his curled cross-cum-shot. Matt Green also sent in a long-range pot-shot later in the half that was claimed comfortably by the visiting keeper.
Michael Laudrup’s men continued to push for the opening goal and created many more chances that they were unable to convert during the opening period. Caddis was in the right place to block Bony’s goal-bound shot and the same Swansea man’s effort from the edge of the area curled inches wide of the post. The Ivorian striker carried the Welsh club’s main attacking threat and he was put clear from Pozuelo’s through-ball. However, just as he prepared to pull the trigger, he was dispossessed by a magnificent sliding tackle from Blues captain Paul Robinson.
The chances kept on coming for the cup holders as Roland Lamah got away from Jonathan Spector but he was denied by the legs of Doyle. Blues’ cup custodian did magnificently well to scamper off his line to narrow the angle and make the save to ensure Blues went into the break still on level terms.
Five minutes into second-half and it was Swansea’s turn to be indebted to their keeper for ensuring parity remained. Hancox’s thumped clearance landed deep into the visitors’ half and Garry Monk misjudged the bouncing ball allowing Green to steal in and race clear on goal. Unfortunately the Blues forward’s fierce low drive was blocked by the legs of Tremmel.
Six minutes later and Blues did gain the initiative. Caddis careered down the right flank and whipped back a terrific cross and Burn launched himself forward and directed a firm header past the outreached arms of Tremmel. The cup shock was on but Clark’s buoyant side weren’t satisfied by a one-goal lead and went in search of another. Their positive approach was rewarded on 61 minutes as Green doubled his side’s lead. Burke sprayed the ball out wide to Hancox and the wing-back fizzed in a tremendous low cross which Green gratefully tapped in at the far post.
Two could well have become three when another good passing move involving Ferguson and Green set up Burke with a shooting chance inside the area but for once the Scot failed to make a decent connection and his effort bobbled well wide.
Swansea finally mustered a response when Pozuelo’s shot was turned around the post by Doyle but Blues put the tie beyond the visitors with nine minutes left. Adeyemi chased down a loose ball and was able to poke it though to Burke. With Tremmel hopelessly exposed well out of his goal, Burke did the sensible thing and laid the ball back to Adeyemi who gleefully tapped into an unguarded net.
Bony deflected Jordi Amat’s injury-time header past Doyle four minutes into added-on time but it mattered little. Blues already had a place in the last 16 of the Capital One Cup firmly in their grasp.