The Sky Blues were beaten on penalties despite a valiant effort against Birmingham City in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup at St Andrew’s on Tuesday night.
Amadou Bakayoko bundled an effort beyond Lee Camp that looped into the back of the net on 51 minutes to hand City the lead.
Harlee Dean scored a devastating equaliser in injury-time when he glanced a header beyond Marko Marosi.
Max Biamou restored the Sky Blues lead on 114 minutes when he coolly finished from close range only for Jeremie Bela’s cross to go all the way in, in the final minute of extra-time, to send the game to penalties.
Birmingham then converted all four of their penalties to win 4-1 in the shootout but the Sky Blues can be proud of their showing having looked the better team for much of the game.
Captain Liam Kelly was making his 100th appearance for the Sky Blues as Mark Robins made six changes from the side that won away at Bristol Rovers at the weekend.
The first chance of the game fell to the Sky Blues when Bakayoko controlled Zain Westbrooke’s excellent lofted through ball before poking an effort beyond Camp only for Kristian Pedersen to calmly clear the striker’s effort off the line.
A couple of minutes later, Kelly tries his luck from distance after a well worked Sky Blues move but blazed his effort into the stand.
The home side had their first opening of the game after ten minutes, when Jacques Maghoma fired wastefully over the bar from outside of the penalty area.
Robins’ side continued their early dominance when Westbrooke fired a low effort goal wards on 12 minutes which went narrowly wide of Camp’s left-hand post.
Just before the 20-minute mark Josh McEachran suffered a nasty injury and was stretchered from the field.
The hosts then came close to breaking the deadlock when Jefferson Montero’s acrobatic effort was superbly headed off the line by Dom Hyam following a long throw from the right.
Birmingham continued to grow into the fixture when Montero tricked his way beyond Josh Pask before seeing his low effort well-saved by the feet of Marosi.
The Sky Blues responded with a chance of their own when Bakayoko slid Biamou through, but the striker couldn’t test Camp with his effort from a difficult angle.
HALF-TIME: BIRMINGHAM CITY 0-0 SKY BLUES
Birmingham started the brighter of the two sides in the second half and were first to try their luck at goal when substitute Caolan Boyd-Munce fired an effort over the crossbar from distance.
The Sky Blues then took the lead on 51 minutes when Westbrooke’s quick feet sent Bakayoko through on goal with the striker able to bundle the ball home from close range with an effort that looped over Camp.
Shortly after taking the lead, a misplaced pass from Camp was pounced on by Bakayoko who then played the ball across goal to Westbrooke who couldn’t connect properly with his strike from inside the penalty area.
City had their tails up and almost found a second on 58 minutes when Bakayoko played Fankaty Dabo in down the right before the full-back produced a delightful cross for Biamou who shot agonisingly over the bar.
The hosts eventually responded to City’s pressure when youngster Jude Bellingham’s looping header found the top of the net on the hour mark but was never troubling Marosi in the Sky Blues goal.
Robins opted to make a double change with around 20 minutes left to play with Callum O’Hare and Jamie Allen introduced from the bench and the latter almost made an immediate impact when he slipped Biamou through down the left-hand side of the penalty area only for striker’s effort to once again go agonisingly wide of the post.
That chance sparked the home side into life with Birmingham coming close to an equaliser when substitute Bela was sent through one-on-one with Marosi with the Sky Blues keeper standing tall to keep City in the lead.
Bela tested Marosi again with a free-kick shortly after, but his effort around 25-yards from goal was easily dealt with by the keeper.
Another long throw from Marc Roberts caused City problems with six minutes left to play with Montero’s tame header comfortably dealt with by Marosi.
The hosts continued to search for an equaliser late on with Lukas Jutkiewicz firing a wild effort over the crossbar.
Deep into injury-time Birmingham captain Dean equalised when he glanced Maghoma’s cross from the right into the corner.
Birmingham almost scored a winner with the last kick of the game when Jutkiewicz’s looping header hit the crossbar, but the ball stayed out and the teams headed for extra-time after once again cancelling each other out after 90 minutes.
FULL-TIME: BIRMINGHAM CITY 1-1 SKY BLUES
City started strongest in extra-time when Jamie Allen picked the ball up on the halfway line before bursting through on goal and seeing his effort saved just past the post by Camp.
The Sky Blues continued to look the more likely of the two sides to score with Kelly next to try his luck when he cut the ball onto his right foot before striking an effort wide of the goal.
Montero then went on a mazy run into the penalty area but couldn’t keep his effort down when one-on-one with Marosi.
EXTRA-TIME HT: BIRMINGHAM CITY 1-1 SKY BLUES
Liam Walsh replaced centurion Kelly at the interval in extra-time and quickly showed his quality when Birmingham failed to deal with his wicked ball into the penalty area with Allen blazing the loose ball high into the stands.
However, the Sky Blues eventually got their reward when O’Hare cleverly slipped the ball through to an unmarked Biamou who slotted the ball home to restore City’s lead with six minutes left to play.
There was a late twist in the tie however, when Bela’s cross from the right went in off the post in the final minute of extra-time to send the game to penalties.
EXTRA-TIME FT: BIRMINGHAM CITY 2-2 SKY BLUES
PENALTIES: BIRMINGHAM CITY 4-1 SKY BLUES
Birmingham: Lukas Jutkiewicz – Scored, Jeremie Bela – Scored, Gary Gardner – Scored, Harlee Dean – Scored
Sky Blues: Matty Godden – Scored, Liam Walsh – Missed, Jamie Allen – Missed
Goals: Bakayoko 51’, Dean 90’+2, Biamou 114’, Bela 120’
Yellows: Concannon 26’, Pask 36’, Bakayoko 41’, Harding 109’
Birmingham City XI: Lee Camp (GK), Wes Harding, Marc Roberts, Harlee Dean (C), Kristian Pedersen, Ivan Sunjic, Josh McEachran (Boyd-Munce 19’), Jude Bellingham (Jutkiewicz 69’), Jacques Maghoma (Gardner 103’), Jefferson Montero, Jack Concannon (Bela 57’)
Unused Subs: Connal Trueman (GK), Jake Clarke-Salter, Cheick Keita
Sky Blues XI: Marko Marosi (GK), Fankaty Dabo, Josh Pask, Kyle McFadzean, Dom Hyam, Brandon Mason, Liam Kelly (C) (Walsh 106’), Zain Westbrooke (O’Hare (72’), Jordan Shipley (Allen 72’), Amadou Bakayoko (Godden 82’), Max Biamou
Unused Subs: Ben Wilson (GK), Morgan Williams, Jodi Jones