Forest Green Rovers 1-2 Birmingham City: Blues come from behind to win trip to Blackburn

Lukas Jutkiewicz hit only his second goal of the season for the Birmingham equaliser
Lukas Jutkiewicz hit only his second goal of the season for the Birmingham equaliser

Championship side Birmingham City were given a scare in their FA Cup third-round replay as they needed two second-half goals to come from behind and beat League One strugglers Forest Green.

The fired-up hosts led 1-0 at the break after a flying start brought a stunning early strike from Ben Stevenson.

But recalled striker Lukas Jutkiewicz leveled straight after the break.

And new man Kevin Long hit his first goal since arriving from Burnley to book a fourth-round tie at Blackburn.

Rovers, bottom of League One, have made five new signings so far in the January window. And, although three of them were cup-tied, they got off to a great start, fueled by Stevenson’s rocket.

The former Wolves and Coventry youngster had previously scored only once for Forest Green – in this season’s EFL Trophy at Newport since his arrival from Colchester in the summer of 2021.

But when he received the ball in space, 25 yards out, he delivered a superb right-foot curler into the top right corner for his first goal at the New Lawn.

Forest Green scorer Ben Stevenson had never scored at the New Lawn before
Forest Green scorer Ben Stevenson had never scored at the New Lawn before

And the lead would then have been doubled, had home skipper Baily Cargill’s shot not been tipped over by the recalled Neil Etheridge.

He was one of five changes from the side beaten 4-2 by Bristol City on Saturday – Blues’ fourth straight league defeat – along with on-loan duo Manny Longelo and Hannibal Mejbri, Wales midfielder Jordan James and veteran striker Jutkiewicz.

And the Championship side were somewhat muted, failing to land a blow before the break. But, after a triple half-time substitution involving Tahith Chong, Alfie Chang and Max Colin, the visitors suddenly looked a team transformed.

First top scorer Scott Hogan was denied only by a fine, full-length save from Lewis Thomas. Then just two minutes later Jutkiewicz drilled home a low right-foot shot from the edge of the box for only his second goal of the season.

But, just past the hour, Blues survived a double scare in a frantic scramble when Etheridge twice came to the rescue. First he touched Regan Hendry’s left-foot shot onto the bar before also heroically denying Matty Stevens from the rebound.

Within four minutes, Blues were ahead as Long kept his head to slot home in a packed penalty area melee – and that booked the former Burnley man the enticing prospect of a trip to Ewood Park on 28 January.

Line-ups

Forest Green

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 24Thomas
  • 3Bernard
  • 6Cargill
  • 23Cooper
  • 2O’KeeffeSubstituted forCaseyat 71′minutes
  • 8Henry
  • 7StevensonSubstituted forDavisat 84′minutes
  • 17McAllisterSubstituted forfairy taleat 70′minutes
  • 25Peart-HarrisBooked at 38minsSubstituted forBrownat 84′minutes
  • 28March
  • 9StevensSubstituted forGarrickat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1McGee
  • 4McGeouch
  • 5Casey
  • 11Garrick
  • 18fairy tale
  • 22Godwin-Malife
  • 26Davis
  • 27Bunker
  • 29Brown

Birmingham

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1Etheridge
  • 5TrustyBooked at 69mins
  • 26Long
  • 23LongeloBooked at 38minsSubstituted forchongat 45′minutes
  • 31BielikBooked at 57mins
  • 28sanderson
  • 6MejbriBooked at 59minsSubstituted forBacunaat 73′minutes
  • 19JamesSubstituted forChangat 45′minutes
  • 11GrahamSubstituted forColinat 45′minutes
  • 9HoganSubstituted forDeeneyat 86′minutes
  • 10Jutkiewicz

Substitutes

  • 2Colin
  • 3Friend
  • 7Bacuna
  • 8Deeney
  • 18chong
  • 21Ruddy
  • 25Gordon
  • 42Chang
  • 49Donovan

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