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Match Report: Chelsea 1-1 Birmingham City (Birmingham Fan's Perspective)

Monday 20th February 2012
Birmingham extended their unbeaten run to 14 games with a 1-1 draw against Premier League opposition Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup 5th Round.

The talk in the media will no doubt be all about the job security of Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas . But let's not forget that there are two sides to every story, and although Chelsea might not have given the best performance, give credit to the pluckyBirmingham side that fought hard to earn a well deserved replay.

Birmingham's team was weakened by injuries to Nikola Zigic and Gurianne N'Daw, and were rocked early on by an injury to Stephen Carr , forcing a substitution, but the boys in Blue fought heroically and were more than a match for the expensive Chelsea opposition.

The match started quietly with play being mainly contained in the central third of the pitch, until Birmingham took the surpriselead with a tap in from David Murphy thanks to a cross from Jordan Mutch.

Birmingham fans had barely caught their breath from their jubilant celebrations when Wade Elliot brought down Ramires in the penalty area.

The referee immediately pointed to the spot with little complaints from the Birmingham team and the travelling supporters held their breath as Juan Mata stood up to take the spot kick against Colin Doyle .

The Birmingham keeper guessed the correct way and managed to tip Mata's shot onto the post , with the ball then being cleared out of the danger area by the Blues defence.

Cue more ecstatic celebrations once again from the Birmingham fans as they revelled in leading a Premier League side away from home, and chants of ‘You're getting sacked in the morning' were soon directed towards under pressure Chelsea boss .

Birmingham seemed to grow in size and continued to control the match for the rest of the half, with Chelsea unable to see a way through. David Luiz fired a free kick in from 25 yards out, butDoyle pulled off yet another fantastic save to see Birmingham take their 1-0 lead into half time .

Fernando Torres was substituted at half time, the striker who has now gone 20 games without a goal was taken off in place of Didier Drogba.

Having given the side a pep talk,Chelsea began to have more of a presence in the game following Drogba's entrance. The breakthrough for the home side came on the hour mark when Mata played the ball down the pitch to Ivanovic who found his neat cross headed in to the back of the net by Sturridge .

Birmingham fans were fearful that this could start an onslaught from Chelsea, but the equaliser seemed to do nothing to spur the home side on, with the side failing to create any further chances.

As the match headed in to the final ten minutes, the Championship side looked the most likely to snatch a winner, with both youngster Nathan Redmond and centre back Curtis Davies seeing their shots saved by Cech.

The referee blew his final whistle and the away fans celebrated ecstatically, barely able to hear the boos that were resounding around the stadium from the Chelsea fans , disappointed yet again with their team and their manager.

The man of the match has to be Doyle for keeping Birmingham in the game, but both Mutch and Fahey deserve a mention for the way in which the midfield partnership controlled the game.

Chelsea were clearly the superior team with regards to quality of play, but then this is to be expected from a multi million pound team. However, when it came to fight, determination, and positivity, it was the Birmingham side that looked superior, and it is the Birmingham fans who went home happiest.

Overall, another fantastic display from Chris Hughton's Birmingham boys, and they fully deserve their place in the draw. With Leicester the opposing side for the winner of the 5th round tie , there is everything to play for in the replay, and the fortress of St Andrews is not an easy place to go to this season. Andre Villas-Boas should not take the replay lightly. That's if he's still in post by then.

Attendance: 36, 870

Referee: M Atkinson

Man of the Match: Colin Doyle

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Charlotte Parker

Total articles: 12

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