FA Cup - Third Round
Blyth Spartans2Birmingham3

Blyth Spartans 2-3 Birmingham City

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Blyth Spartans 2-3 Birmingham City highlights
  • Birmingham make 10 changes to face non-league hosts
  • Robbie Dale fires Blyth into two-goal lead
  • Lee Novak and Wes Thomas brace take Blues through

Birmingham City came from two down with three goals in six second-half minutes to avoid an embarrassing FA Cup upset at non-league Blyth Spartans.

The Championship club are 120 places above Blyth in the football pyramid but trailed to two Robbie Dale strikes.

The Blyth captain - a barman in his mother's pub - turned in a Jarrett Rivers cross from six yards and added his seventh goal in six FA Cup ties with a run and finish from 18 yards.

His efforts sparked a standing half-time ovation from the 3,644 fans packed into Croft Park but when Lee Novak drilled home on 52 minutes, the mood shifted.

Birmingham striker Wes Thomas's determined finish to level was in fitting with his side's second-half attitude and his headed winner from four yards prevented a first defeat by non-league opposition in 21 years.

Blyth - conquerors of Hartlepool in round two and the lowest-ranked side left in the competition - could be forgiven for dreaming of just a second fourth-round appearance in their 116-year history at the break, such was their control.

The Northern Premier League outfit looked far from a side sat 16th in the seventh tier of English football and familiar with the test their bobbly home pitch offers.

A spartan

After Birmingham's Nikola Zigic blazed the first chance of the game over Spartans - who also boast a taxi driver, labourer and engineer in their ranks - grew in confidence, none more so than Rivers.

His centre found Dale - a player who says he is not too bothered about football - to apply an easy finish.

Spartans' Stephen Turnbull described drawing Birmingham as an "anti-climax" but he and his team-mates looked eager and motivated when Dale dribbled from the left wing unchallenged to drill into the bottom right-hand corner.

Striker James Maguire, a plumber, saw a shot tipped over just before the half-time whistle as they almost made it 3-0.

But Birmingham boss Gary Rowett has instilled fight in his side and boasts just two defeats in 11 games in charge.

Though his 10 changes from the win at Nottingham Forest looked sluggish in the opening half, the response was vicious and when Novak reduced the arrears, Thomas delivered terminal blows to Blyth's cup dreams.

Blyth defender Joel Dixon powered a header wide at the death but they will now focus on making up the 11 games they have in hand on some sides in their league as a result of cup exploits.

Birmingham will look forward to Monday's fourth round draw.

Luis Figo
Former Real Madrid and Portugal winger Luis Figo started following Blyth Spartans on Twitter during their tie with Birmingham
Robbie Dale scores
Robbie Dale had the simple task of turning in Jordan Rivers's cross from six yard to open the scoring
Blyth Spartans
A capacity 4,450 crowd turned out at Croft Park as Blyth sought a second fourth round place in their history

Line-ups

Blyth Spartans

  • 1Jeffries
  • 2DixonSubstituted forNicholsonat 90+2'minutes
  • 4HutchinsonSubstituted forParkerat 85'minutes
  • 5Buddle
  • 3Watson
  • 6Turnbull
  • 8Hawkins
  • 10MullenSubstituted forRichardsonat 66'minutes
  • 7Rivers
  • 9Maguire
  • 11DaleBooked at 37mins

Substitutes

  • 12Wearmouth
  • 14Parker
  • 15Hooks
  • 16Richardson
  • 17Wade
  • 18Nicholson
  • 19Harrison

Birmingham

  • 21Doyle
  • 2Eardley
  • 6Edgar
  • 28Morrison
  • 18HancoxBooked at 80mins
  • 12Novak
  • 17Reilly
  • 39Moussi
  • 7DuffyBooked at 43minsSubstituted forArthurat 82'minutes
  • 19Zigic
  • 10Thomas

Substitutes

  • 1Randolph
  • 3Grounds
  • 11Cotterill
  • 22Shinnie
  • 24Arthur
  • 31Caddis
  • 33Gray
Referee:
Mike Jones
Attendance:
3,644

Match Stats

Home TeamBlyth SpartansAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home9
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 3.

Attempt missed. Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Danny Parker (Blyth Spartans) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Neal Eardley.

Substitution

Substitution, Blyth Spartans. Alex Nicholson replaces Joel Dixon.

Foul by Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans).

Guy Moussi (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jordan Watson.

Substitution

Substitution, Blyth Spartans. Danny Parker replaces Ryan Hutchinson because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Koby Arthur replaces Mark Duffy.

Hand ball by Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans).

Booking

Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City).

Michael Richardson (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Guy Moussi (Birmingham City).

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Mitch Hancox.

Attempt missed. Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Foul by Nathan Buddle (Blyth Spartans).

Lee Novak (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by David Edgar.

Attempt missed. Ryan Hutchinson (Blyth Spartans) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Callum Reilly.

Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City).

Substitution

Substitution, Blyth Spartans. Michael Richardson replaces Damen Mullen.

Foul by Damen Mullen (Blyth Spartans).

Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Neal Eardley (Birmingham City) right footed shot from long range on the right is just a bit too high.

Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Hutchinson (Blyth Spartans).

Foul by Michael Morrison (Birmingham City).

Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 3. Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Mark Duffy.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Peter Jeffries.

Goal!

Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 2. Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lee Novak.

Attempt missed. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 1. Lee Novak (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner.

goal

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