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FEELING THE BLUES: Birmingham dumped out of the cup by Plymouth

FEELING THE BLUES: Birmingham dumped out of the cup by Plymouth

PA - Barrington Coombs

 

League One Plymouth provided a FA Cup upset at St Andrew’s as they beat Championship side Birmingham with a narrow 1-0 third-round win after extra-time.

Substitutive Ryan Law was the matchwinner with his first goal in the famous competition.

He struck the ball past Neil Etheridge in the 104th minute after the 1984 semi-finalists had been the better side throughout the contest.

Lee Bowyer’s side finished the game with 10-men after George Friend was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in the second half.

While Steven Schumacher’s side have now reached the fourth round of the competition in two-consecutive seasons after the win.

Ryan Hardie should have opened the scoring in the 25th minute but was denied by a last-gasp save by Etheridge.

His first touch had rounded the goalkeeper, but the number one managed to stretch well to deny the forward on the corner of the six-yard box.

Despite playing in a league below their opponents, Plymouth continued to be the better side in the first period, but they lacked the final touch in the final third.

Danny Mayor and Jordan Garrick had attempts on goal but failed to hit the target from inside the penalty area.

The turning point of the cup tie came with 20 minutes remaining when Birmingham defender Friend was dismissed for a second bookable offence after taking out Niall Ennis on the half-way line.

Plymouth almost made their man advantage pay when Garrick was denied by a reflex save by Etheridge. The striker managed to get his shot away after being set free by Joe Edwards but was denied his sixth goal of the season by the busy Etheridge.

Conor Grant was the next Argyle man to come close, this time from a corner. The ball had too much power for Etheridge to gather and it fell to Grant, but the midfielder could not direct it on target.

The visitors could have stolen it at the end of the 90 minutes through Ennis and then Grant.

The former Wolves striker saw his shot cannon off the post before Grant again was close to scoring, this time with an audacious back-heel outside the six-yard box. Ennis’ pullback was perfect to the 26-year-old and his flick bounced just past the post.

They finally made their dominance pay when left-back Law arrowed the ball into the corner of the goal, leaving Etheridge helpless.

After receiving the ball, the academy graduate drove at the Birmingham defence before scoring his second goal of the season and sending the 2,860 fans into raptures.

Chuks Aneke had Birmingham’s best chance in the second half of extra-time, but the striker’s slash across goal whiskered just past the post.


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