Last night was the FA Cup Third Round Replay between Birmingham City and Newcastle United, And, having held Newcastle United to a 2-2 draw last time, playing at home, last night it was Birmingham's turn to travel up north to Newcastle for the replay.
Not a heavily attended game – you could buy tickets at the gate, which is very unusual. Attendance was 22,099 in a ground that has a capacity of 52,387, leading to a pretty subdued atmosphere in the ground.
Birmingham got the first goal in 4.48 seconds. Pretty good going, specially by our standards! The game was fairly even for the remainder of the first half, with possession and goal attack being fairly even. Then, just as the half-time whistle was about to blow, at 44.16 minutes in, Birmingham got another goal. Not scored, you notice – got. An Own Goal knocked in by Newcastle's Nolberto Solano, who will have got a lot of stick during the half-time recess.
When the teams came out for the second half, things were not looking so good for Birmingham. The Newcastle manager had obviously had strong words with the team, and they came out firing on all cylinders. And, as if to prove the point, they scored. 55.46 seconds in, they put the ball in the back of the net. At this point, the ground should have been erupting with sound, as Newcastle's fans cheered their players on. But they were strangely subdued.
Now, as all true Birmingham City fans will understand, at this point I was resigned to a loss. Birmingham are very good at losing. But no. One of the Newcastle players got red carded for Serious Foul Play. (That phrase always gets me – what, there's Non Serious Foul Play? Minor Foul Play? Foul Play, but No One Meant It?). This meant Newcastle were down to 10 players. And then we capitalised on it, scoring not one, not two, but count 'em, three more goals before the end of play. Though they actually played worse in the second half, against ten men, than they had in the first half against eleven. Well, that's Birmingham for you!
The funniest thing – after the fourth Birmingham goal, there was a shot of the stands. Newcastle fans leaving in droves. The last ten minutes were played to a stadium that held, mostly, Birmingham fans waving their blue scarves, chanting and generally being obnoxious, gloating winners.
And not undeserved. Whoo Hoo! Just wish I could have been there.
Next round – Birmingham City v Reading. Fingers crossed, Voxing hood, fingers crossed!
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