January 26, 2015 by bluenosebible
Birmingham City 1-2 West Bromwich Albion
Written by: Oliver Osborn
Birmingham City have been knocked out of the FA Cup following a 2-1 home defeat to local rivals West Brom.
A first-half brace from Nigerian striker Victor Anichebe guided the Premier League visitors to victory and sees the Baggies into the hat for the fifth round draw on Monday evening.
Tony Pulis’ men were made to work for their win, however, as Jonathon Grounds pulled a goal back just before half-time.
The home side battled for a equaliser after the break and couldn’t find a moment of magic or a stroke of luck to force the tie to a replay.
Saido Berahino has been linked with a move away from the Hawthorns since the start of the January window and the 21-year-old almost gave Albion the perfect start.
The striker moved the ball onto his left foot from the edge of the area and could only find the side netting with a powerful strike after Anichebe created the chance.
Berahino found space between the Birmingham midfield and defensive lines and played a through ball to Anichebe.
The striker didn’t need to break stride and fired low past Darren Randolph at the near post to give his side the lead.
That lead was doubled ten minutes later as the Nigerian muscled his way to a fourth goal of the season.
The 26-year-old’s physical presence had made it difficult for Michael Morrison and Paul Robinson all afternoon and he held off the latter before finding the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection off the former West Brom man.
Gary Rowett’s men responded well after the second and found a way back into the game just before the interval.
Andrew Shinnie played the ball out wide to debutant Lloyd Dyer for a cross.
The winger found Jonathon Grounds on the penalty spot and the full back’s first time effort went in off the post.
After the break, Blues dominated the remainder of the match looking for a goal that would send the sell-out crowd home happy.
Joleon Lescott did go close to finding a third for the Premiership outfit, however, and his headed from Craig Gardner’s corner was well saved by Randolph.
The introduction of teenager Demarai Gray on the hour mark was almost a masterstroke by Rowett.
Gray may be only 18-years-old, but he certainly didn’t show it as the winger look dangerous after replacing Dyer.
The winger cut inside minutes after coming on on forced a good from substitute Ben Foster, who replaced an injured Boaz Myhill in goal.
Foster was again at hand, like many times during his one season at St. Andrews, to deny Gray from 25 yards out following a good run by the teenager from the left hand side.
But for all they tried, Blues couldn’t find that equaliser they probably deserved for the way they got themselves into the game.
A late Chris Brunt effort came back off the post, but the Baggies had already done enough to progress to the next round.
Both clubs are back in league action this week. Birmingham travel to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night while West Brom entertain Tottenham at the weekend.
West Brom manager Tony Pulis:
“We played very well in the first half and I was really disappointed we conceded a goal in added time.
“In the second half they threw everything at us. We had to show some more resilience and we did that.”
Birmingham manager Gary Rowett:
“I was a little disappointed to go 2-0 down. But the goal before half time gave us a bit more belief and in the second half we pinned in a good side.
“Their keepers has had to make three or four very good saves.
“We have got to take great pride from that second-half performance.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Davis (Thomas 86′), Gleeson; Cotterill, Shinnie, Dyer (Gray 70′); Novak (Zigic 75′)
Subs not used: Doyle, Spector, Reilly, Donaldson
Man of the match: Victor Anichebe