Coventry City and Birmingham City will play each other again at St Andrew’s after an entertaining 0-0 draw in the Emirates FA Cup.
Coventry City and Birmingham City Made to Play Again After 0-0 FA Cup Draw
It was always likely to be a unique experience for the 21,193-strong crowd at St Andrew’s as tenants Coventry ‘hosted’ their landlords Birmingham City.
The Sky Blues have been ground-sharing with their West Midlands rivals following problems at their previous Ricoh Arena home.
A move 22 miles from their namesake base was by no-means ideal; however, it was all the Sky Blues could do in order to keep their EFL status, and potentially even the status of their club, alive.
The supporters made sure it remained an entertaining affair off-the-pitch when opportunities dried up.
Birmingham City started the brighter of the two sides as Lukas Jutkierwicz found himself with an early opportunity to shoot; he found marginal space in the penalty area but had the ball stolen from him as he prepared to pull the trigger.
While supporters exchanged humorous blows off-the-pitch; Blues fans thought they had the first moment to cheer when Jutkiewicz bundled the ball over the line, but referee Tim Robinson ruled it out for a foul on Coventry ‘keeper Marko Marosi.
The chances mostly fell to Birmingham in the first 45 minutes, but the ‘visitors’ on this occasion were unwilling to make it count from close range.
Kristan Pedersen’s intricately chipped pass made it to Jutkiewicz inside the penalty area on 15 minutes. The Blues striker was unable to convert though, driving a low shot into Marosi’s clasp.
Coventry’s one and only chance on goal came on 22 minutes through a dangerous passing move. Zain Westbrooke’s pass fell into the run of Jordan Shipley but his effort was stopped for a corner.
Teenage talent Jude Bellingham, a January target of Manchester United’s, wasted a close-range chance just before the break; an inside pass met his run but he lashed a shot wide of the post.
Carrying on their momentum from the first half, it was no surprise that Birmingham started the second half quickest.
It took just over 90 seconds for Blues to create an opportunity, but Jefferson Montero forced a save from Jutkiewicz’ pass.
Birmingham came close again on 57 minutes when Marosi flapped Kerim Mrabti’s cross into the danger-zone; after the ball was cleared, Mrabti hobbled off through injury with Jeremie Bela replacing him.
Sky Blues boss Mark Robins made a roll of the dice himself when he made a double change just past the hour-mark. Max Biamou replaced Zain Westbrooke and Jordan Shipley came off in place of Aston Villa loanee Callum O’Hare.
Substitute Biamou should have opened the scoring from two occasions shortly after being introduced to the raucous atmosphere.
First, he was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Ivan Sunjic before he forced Lee Camp into a diving save with a curling effort from 17 yards as the scores remained level.
The Sky Blues almost won it twice in the final moments.
First skipper Liam Kelly rifled a volley just past the post; however, the ‘home’ side’s best chance came in stoppage time.
A long ball from Walsh picked out Amadou Bakayoko; the substitute helped it across to his counterpart O’Hare, but the striker was unable to capitalise with the goal at his mercy just before referee Robinson blew for full-time.
It is certain to be another entertaining affair when these two meet for the replay in the near future.
Birmingham certainly had the chances to wrap up proceedings and avoid a mid-week replay, but the West Midlands duo will go toe-to-toe again for a place in the FA Cup Fifth Round.
Coventry City: Marko Marosi, Fankaty Dabo, Michael Rose, Kyle McFadzean, Dom Hyam, Sam McCallum, Liam Kelly (C), Liam Walsh, Zain Westbrooke (Max Biamou, 68), Jordan Shipley (Callum O’Hare, 68), Matty Godden (Amadou Bakayoko, 81).
Unused Subs: Ben Wilson, Brandon Mason, Josh Pask, Jamie Allen.
Birmingham City: Lee Camp, Kristan Pedersen, Maxime Colin, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Harlee Dean (C), Jake Clarke-Salter, Jefferson Montero (Gary Gardner, 86) Josh McEachran, Kerim Mrabti (Jeremie Bela, 57), Jude Bellingham (Jacques Maghoma, 86), Ivan Sunjic.
Unused Subs: Moha Ramos, Marc Roberts, Alvaro Gimenez, David Davis.