For this week’s classic match, we go back to 17th December 2005 and Birmingham’s visit to Eastlands. City were without top scorer Andy Cole and Robbie Fowler and Bradley Wright-Phillips on the bench. But Stuart Pearce’s men still didn’t struggle against a Birmingham side who were already threatened by relegation.
It was a late evening kick off but the blues quickly gave the supporters something to cheer about. Straight from the start, Darius Vassell received the ball and tried his luck from the edge of the box but Birmingham keeper Nico Vaesen tipped his shot away. But from the resulting corner, a scramble in the penalty followed and the ball fell kindly to David Sommeil, who hammered home after just 42 seconds.
City began to dominate the game and it looked like it would be a repeat of City’s 60- triumph in 2001 when Joey Barton scored form the spot after just 14 minutes. Vassell’s run into the box was ended by unceremoniously by Vaesen and Barton stepped up to blast the penalty home.
The game was effectively wrapped up on 40 minutes as Antoine Sibierski met Barton’s free kick to send the blues in at half time with a comfortable lead.
Half Time: City 3-0 Birmingham
City continued to make chances after the break with Barton at the centre of it all. His free kick was just missed by Trevor Sinclair while another cross eluded Vassell. It was obvious City would score again and it came in the form of Bradley Wright-Phillips. The substitute, on for Vassell only moments earlier, ran on to Sibierski’s knock-down and easily slotted past Vaesen for number four.
City pressed and continued to spurn chances but it was Birmingham who scored the final goal of the afternoon. Jiri Jarosik scoring form close range to give the visiting supporters something to cheer about.
That was as good as it got for Birmingham as in the final minute, Vaesen was sent off. Already booked for conceding the penalty earlier, Vaesen handled outside the area and referee Steve Bennett had no option but to dismiss the keeper and a miserable day for Birmingham was compounded.
Final Score: City 4-1 Birmingham
City: James, Sommeil, Onuoha, Distin, Thatcher, Sinclair, Barton, Reyna (Fowler 71), Jihai, Sibierski (Ireland 84), Vassell (Wright-Phillips 68).
Subs Not Used: Croft, Jordan.
Birmingham: Vaesen, Tebily (Forssell 23), Upson, Cunningham, Painter, Johnson, Butt, Clemence, Clapham, Pandiani (Jarosik 73), Dunn (Pennant 35).
Subs Not Used: Maik Taylor, Heskey.
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