Sat 03 Jan 15
at 17:30 PM
The Report: Blyth Spartans 2 Blues 3
Birmingham City fought back from two-goals down at Croft Park to avoid being the giant-killing of the FA Cup 3rd Round against Blyth Spartans - the lowest ranked team in the competition. The hosts lying 120 places below Blues in the football pyramid.
Gary Rowett’s side found themselves 2-0 down at half-time courtesy of two Robert Dale goals, but three goals in six second half minutes - a Lee Novak strike and a Wes Thomas brace - turned the tie in Blues favour.
Blues started the match brightly and had a goal chalked off after six minutes, Nikola Zigic putting the ball in the Blyth net, but the big man giving away a foul in the process.
Three minutes later and the Serbian should have put Blues ahead, after Lee Novak’s cross tee’d up Zigic from eight yards out, but the striker fired over.
Two minutes after Zigic’s chance and Blues got lucky. Colin Doyle’s blushes spared when his clearance was charged down by Daniel Maguire, but the block fortunately looped wide of the Irishman’s goal.
Neither side threatened the oppositions goal with any purpose, until Spartans’ captain Robert Dale fired his side in front after 35 minutes. Jarrett Rivers getting the better of Neal Eardley down the left hand side before getting a low cross across the face of goal before the skipper netted.
Things appeared to get worse for Rowett’s much changed side - the manager making ten changes from Blues last outing against Nottingham Forest - when Dale doubled his tally and Blyth’s lead. A simple, short free-kick, which Blues failed to deal with and allowed Dale to waltz into the box before firing a low shot past Doyle into the far corner.
On the stroke of half time it was very nearly three. Maguire getting the wrong side of the Blues defence but Doyle was equal to his effort, tipping over the bar.
Blues needed a response and they sure gave one in the second half.
Rowett’s side came out in the second half with a lot more urgency and within two minutes of the restart should have pulled one back. Thomas sending Mark Duffy through one-on-one but Spartans ‘keeper Peter Jeffries smothering at the wingers feet.
Five minutes after that chance and Blues were back in the tie. Lee Novak cutting in from the left and firing home a shot from the edge of the area past Peter Jeffries.
Three minutes later and the visitors level. Thomas latching onto a long ball over the top of the Blyth defence before getting the ball under control and slotting home to make it 2-2.
And after 58 minutes the comeback was complete. Blyth clearing a Blues corner, but only as far as Duffy, who hung a ball towards the back post where Thomas headed in his second and Blues third. Thomas completing the a lethal passage of play for Blues which saw them net three goals in six minutes.
The hosts tried their hardest to once again defy the odds and get back into the match. Dale going close to bringing his side level and getting his hat-trick but his shot going wide of Doyle’s post and centre-back Ryan Hutchinson heading inches wide from a corner.
Late on and Blues nearly extended their lead, Blyth full-back Jordon Watson nearly putting through his own following a Novak cross.
Blues, doing it the hard way but after a rejuvenated second-half performance they make sure their name is in the hat for the next round.