FA Cup: Birmingham destroy Blyth Spartans’ Cup dream

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Blyth Spartans came agonisingly close to a class FA Cup third round fairytale before losing 3-2 to Birmingham City at Croft Park.

The non-league side produced a fabulous first half performance, and led 2-0 going into the interval courtesy of a brace goals from Robert Dale.

The Championship visitors pulled one back against the Northern Premier League club seven minutes into the second half through Lee Novak, but with 35 minutes there was still every chance of a shock result.

Two goals in three minutes changed all that, however, with Wes Thomas netting for the Blues to put the visitors in charge of the tie and ruin the hopes of neutrals across the world.

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Blyth Spartans celebrate Robbie Dale’s second goal against Birmingham (AFP)

And those hopes had flown high – Blyth Spartans were quickly trending on social media across the world as they took their 2-0 lead, so much so that even the great Luis Figo started following the Northumbrian club on Twitter.

[OVERREACTION THEATRE: Obama and Figo briefly make Blyth Spartans football’s hippest team]

But the support of millions around the world came to nought, with Thomas’s brace deciding the clash and sending Birmingham City into the fourth round at the expense of their lowly hosts.

[FULL, IN-DEPTH REPORT: Birmingham fightback defies Blyth]

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Robbie Dale wheels away after scoring for Blyth Spartans against Birmingham City (AFP)

The only other non-league side in action on Saturday afternoon was Southport, who came equally close to pulling off a shock against high-flying Championship side Derby County.

Derby’s domination seemed destined to be in vain as the match ticked into injury time, but the Rams were awarded a penalty at the death which Chris Martin slotted home to deny the Lancashire side a replay.

[FULL REPORT: Martin ends Southport’s Cup run]

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Nathan Dyer (r) celebrates scoring for Swansea against Tranmere in the FA Cup

The two Premier League sides in action against lower-league opposition both enjoyed comfortable wins. Swansea City thrashed Tranmere Rovers 6-2, with Bafetimbi Gomis scoring twice.

West Brom were even more impressive as they crushed Gateshead 7-0, with the under-pressure Saido Berahino netting a nine-minute hat-trick either side of half-time, then adding a fourth in injury time.

[FULL REPORT: Swansea smash six past Tranmere Rovers]

[FULL REPORT: Pulis opens account at West Brom by crushing Gateshead

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