October 30, 2013 by bluenosebible
Birmingham City 4-4 Stoke City (A.E.T.)
(Stoke City win 4-2 on penalties)
Written by: Oliver Osborn (The Bluenose Bible)
Birmingham City have been knocked out of the Capital One Cup after an eight goal thriller was decided on penalties against Stoke City.
Steven N’Zonzi sealed the win in the shootout, although the Premier League side certainly didn’t have it all their own way.
The opening goal of the game came after just ten minutes through a superb long range strike from Stoke winger Oussama Assaidi that found the top right corner, with Colin Doyle only able to get a fingertip on the effort from 30 yards.
Mark Hughes’ side looked comfortable with their lead and looked dangerous going forward with Peter Crouch and Marko Arnautovic linking up well in attack, but the Championship side brought the game level through Tom Adeyemi.
Nikola Zigic flicked a header on for strike partner Lee Novak, who played in midfielder Adeyemi to score his third goal for the club with a clinical finish past Thomas Sorenson.
Most of the home supporters were outraged with the decision, but replays show an arm was raised and referee Andy D’Urso sent the veteran midfielder for an early bath.
Blues came out for the second half was a more defensive approach with all ten players behind the ball to give themselves a chance to steal a goal towards the end, though that plan was in pieces within the first ten minutes.
Potters’ striker Peter Crouch was a real handful for the Birmingham defence and picked up his reward for a good first half performance as the former England international header home Assaidi’s cross from the left.
The result seemed wrapped up with 20 minutes of normal time remaining as Arnautovic hit a curling effort into the top corner from 25 yards to give what Stoke thought was an unassailable lead, but then came Lee Clark’s game changing substitutions.
With Demarai Gray’s fearlessness and Peter Lovenkrands’ composure in front of goal, the Championship side came from behind to draw level.
Just minutes after the pair came on, Lovenkrands gave Blues a glimmer of hope after poking home Paul Robinson’s low cross.
The comeback was complete deep into stoppage time as Gray’s effort from the edge of the box could only be parried by Sorenson and the Danish striker kept his composure to take the game into extra time.
Their delight was short lived as substitute Kenwyne Jones scored four minutes into the 30 minutes after rounding Doyle and coolly finishing making it 4-3.
Stoke made plenty of chances to extend their lead, but some poor finishing and good saves from Doyle meant the home side were able to bring the game level for a third time in the final two minutes.
Local lads Mitch Hancox and Callum Reilly weren’t able to hit the target and Stoke scored all four of their penalties, meaning the Potters would progress to the fifth round.
Birmingham City manager Lee Clark:
“It was a close game in the first half, we went down to 10 men and it becomes even harder.
“But the players showed tremendous spirit to take the game to where we took it. At penalties it becomes a lottery and unfortunately a couple of my lads missed penalties. But no matter what happened in the penalties, they had done me and the supporters proud.
“I think the fans are proud of their team tonight. As long as the players and fans stick together, we will have a good chance of progressing.”
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes:
“I will keep on harking back, but it shouldn’t have even got to that point. We will take the prize that was on offer, which is a spot in the last eight of the Capital One Cup and move on.
“We will hopefully keep on progressing in the competition but there are a lot of things that we need to learn from tonight.
“I am obviously pleased to have got through, but we need to be better in similar circumstances in the future, that is for sure.”
Starting line up: Doyle; Caddis, Robinson, Burn, Hancox; Elliott, Adeyemi (Lee 79′), Reilly, Ferguson (Gray 68′); Novak, Zigic (Lovenkrands 79′)
Man of the match: Lee Novak