Everton 1 Birmingham 2: Fightback falls short as Brum march on

23 January 2010 10:15
Benitez is a name rarely spoken with reverence on the Everton side of Stanley Park but it was the Liverpool manager's namesake Christian Benitez who fuelled that feeling on Saturday.

The Birmingham City striker's seventh-minute header set his team on their way to the fifth round, extending their unbeaten run to 15 matches in earning the Midlanders their first win at Goodison Park for 53 years.

Despairing dive: Tim Howard fails to stop Barry Ferguson making it 2-0 at Goodison

It was no surprise when Barry Ferguson put them two goals up fiveminutes before the break after James McFadden's back flick fromSebastian Larsson's pass put him clear to stroke a left-footer past TimHoward.

Manager Alex McLeish praised their performance, saying: 'We lookedreally sharp and scored two delicious goals. On this performance BarryFerguson must be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.'

It's Chucho time: Benitez wheels away after firing the opener

Indecision bred hesitancy and anxiety within the Everton ranksalmost from the word go, and boss David Moyes admitted: 'Birminghamdeserved to win. No argument.' Leon Osman replacing the ineffectiveDiniyar Bilyaletdinov at half-time offered Everton fresh hope.

In the 56th minute, Leighton Baines atoned for earlier wrongs when he won the ball under a fierce challenge from Stephen Carr.

Stoop to conquer: Christian Benitez heads home

His cross to Steven Pienaar was helped on to Osman, who beat Joe Hart with a superbly curled right-footer.

Everton piled on the pressure in a frenzy of attacking that hadBirmingham hanging on grimly. Marouane Fellaini forced Hart into aterrific save and a Louis Saha shot struck the outside of a post.

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Source: Daily_Mail