• Birmingham make 10 changes to face non-league hosts
  • Robbie Dale fires Blyth into two-goal lead
  • Lee Novak and Wes Thomas brace take Blues through

Birmingham City came from two down with three goals in six second-half minutes to avoid an embarrassing FA Cup upset at non-league Blyth Spartans.

The Championship club are 120 places above Blyth in the football pyramid but trailed to two Robbie Dale strikes.

The Blyth captain - a barman in his mother's pub - turned in a Jarrett Rivers cross from six yards and added his seventh goal in six FA Cup ties with a run and finish from 18 yards.

His efforts sparked a standing half-time ovation from the 3,644 fans packed into Croft Park but when Lee Novak drilled home on 52 minutes, the mood shifted.

Birmingham striker Wes Thomas's determined finish to level was in fitting with his side's second-half attitude and his headed winner from four yards prevented a first defeat by non-league opposition in 21 years.

Blyth - conquerors of Hartlepool in round two and the lowest-ranked side left in the competition - could be forgiven for dreaming of just a second fourth-round appearance in their 116-year history at the break, such was their control.

The Northern Premier League outfit looked far from a side sat 16th in the seventh tier of English football and familiar with the test their bobbly home pitch offers.

A spartan

After Birmingham's Nikola Zigic blazed the first chance of the game over Spartans - who also boast a taxi driver, labourer and engineer in their ranks - grew in confidence, none more so than Rivers.

His centre found Dale - a player who says he is not too bothered about football -  to apply an easy finish.

Spartans' Stephen Turnbull described drawing Birmingham as an "anti-climax" but he and his team-mates looked eager and motivated when Dale dribbled from the left wing unchallenged to drill into the bottom right-hand corner.

Striker James Maguire, a plumber, saw a shot tipped over just before the half-time whistle as they almost made it 3-0.

But Birmingham boss Gary Rowett has instilled fight in his side and boasts just two defeats in 11 games in charge.

Though his 10 changes from the win at Nottingham Forest looked sluggish in the opening half, the response was vicious and when Novak reduced the arrears, Thomas delivered terminal blows to Blyth's cup dreams.

Blyth defender Joel Dixon powered a header wide at the death but they will now focus on making up the 11 games they have in hand on some sides in their league as a result of cup exploits.

Birmingham will look forward to Monday's fourth round draw.

Luis Figo

Former Real Madrid and Portugal winger Luis Figo started following Blyth Spartans on Twitter during their tie with Birmingham

Robbie Dale scores

Robbie Dale had the simple task of turning in Jordan Rivers's cross from six yard to open the scoring

Blyth Spartans

A capacity 4,450 crowd turned out at Croft Park as Blyth sought a second fourth round place in their history

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (4)

Blyth Spartans

  • 01 Jeffries
  • 02 Dixon (Nicholson - 92' )
  • 04 Hutchinson (Parker - 85' )
  • 05 Buddle
  • 03 Watson
  • 06 Turnbull
  • 08 Hawkins
  • 10 Mullen (Richardson - 66' )
  • 07 Rivers
  • 09 Maguire
  • 11 Dale Booked

Substitutes

  • 12 Wearmouth
  • 14 Parker
  • 15 Hooks
  • 16 Richardson
  • 17 Wade
  • 18 Nicholson
  • 19 Harrison

Birmingham City

  • 21 Doyle
  • 02 Eardley
  • 06 Edgar
  • 28 Morrison
  • 18 Hancox Booked
  • 12 Novak
  • 17 Reilly
  • 39 Moussi
  • 07 Duffy Booked (Arthur - 82' )
  • 19 Zigic
  • 10 Thomas

Substitutes

  • 01 Randolph
  • 03 Grounds
  • 11 Cotterill
  • 22 Shinnie
  • 24 Arthur
  • 31 Caddis
  • 33 Gray
Ref: Mike Jones
Att: 3,644

Match Stats

Possession

49 51

Shots

9 10

On target

4 4

Corners

7 5

Fouls

12 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 3.

90:00 +4:12 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 3.

90:00 +2:58

Attempt missed. Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

90:00 +1:58

Attempt missed. Danny Parker (Blyth Spartans) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

90:00 +1:35

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Neal Eardley.

90:00 +1:01 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Blyth Spartans. Alex Nicholson replaces Joel Dixon.

89:00

Foul by Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans).

89:00

Guy Moussi (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

86:15

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jordan Watson.

84:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Blyth Spartans. Danny Parker replaces Ryan Hutchinson because of an injury.

81:24 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Koby Arthur replaces Mark Duffy.

80:50

Hand ball by Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans).

79:06 Booking

Booking Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

79:00

Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick on the left wing.

78:59

Foul by Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City).

78:08

Michael Richardson (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

78:08

Foul by Guy Moussi (Birmingham City).

77:05

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Mitch Hancox.

76:28

Attempt missed. Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

75:23

Foul by Nathan Buddle (Blyth Spartans).

75:23

Lee Novak (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

72:28

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by David Edgar.

71:01

Attempt missed. Ryan Hutchinson (Blyth Spartans) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

70:29

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Callum Reilly.

65:44

Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

65:44

Foul by Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City).

65:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Blyth Spartans. Michael Richardson replaces Damen Mullen.

64:51

Foul by Damen Mullen (Blyth Spartans).

64:51

Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

63:59

Attempt missed. Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

63:13

Attempt missed. Neal Eardley (Birmingham City) right footed shot from long range on the right is just a bit too high.

62:00

Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:59

Foul by Ryan Hutchinson (Blyth Spartans).

59:15

Foul by Michael Morrison (Birmingham City).

59:15

Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:31 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 3. Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Mark Duffy.

57:07

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Peter Jeffries.

54:21 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 2. Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lee Novak.

52:22

Attempt missed. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

51:10 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 1. Lee Novak (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner.

48:09

Attempt saved. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

47:48

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jordan Watson.

46:03

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by David Edgar.

45:40

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Neal Eardley.

45:00

Second Half begins Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 0.

45:00 +2:23 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 0.

45:00 +2:12

Attempt saved. Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

42:11 Booking

Booking Mark Duffy (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

42:06

Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:06

Foul by Mark Duffy (Birmingham City).

40:46 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Blyth Spartans 2, Birmingham City 0. Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Stephen Turnbull.

40:09

Foul by Guy Moussi (Birmingham City).

40:09

Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:59

Attempt blocked. Neal Eardley (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

38:16

Foul by Ryan Hutchinson (Blyth Spartans).

38:16

Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:39 Booking

Booking Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) is shown the yellow card.

36:36

Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:36

Foul by Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans).

34:32 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Blyth Spartans 1, Birmingham City 0. Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jarrett Rivers.

34:24

Attempt blocked. Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

33:25

Foul by Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City).

33:25

Ryan Hutchinson (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick on the right wing.

31:35

Mark Duffy (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:35

Foul by Damen Mullen (Blyth Spartans).

29:19

Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:19

Foul by Stephen Turnbull (Blyth Spartans).

27:23

Guy Moussi (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

27:23

Foul by Stephen Turnbull (Blyth Spartans).

25:40

Attempt missed. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) header from very close range is close, but misses the top left corner.

22:51

Foul by Callum Reilly (Birmingham City).

22:51

Daniel Maguire (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

21:56

Foul by Neal Eardley (Birmingham City).

21:56

Robert Dale (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:08

Mark Duffy (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:08

Foul by Nathan Buddle (Blyth Spartans).

16:15

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Nathan Buddle.

14:47

Attempt saved. Stephen Turnbull (Blyth Spartans) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

14:12

Foul by Callum Reilly (Birmingham City).

14:12

Daniel Hawkins (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:08

Corner, Blyth Spartans. Conceded by Guy Moussi.

11:34

Foul by Mark Duffy (Birmingham City).

11:34

Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

9:02

Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:02

Foul by Daniel Hawkins (Blyth Spartans).

8:26

Attempt missed. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

7:03

Foul by Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City).

7:03

(Blyth Spartans) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

6:07

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Stephen Turnbull.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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