Match 11
Football League Cup Round 3
26th September 1979
Birmingham City v Exeter City


BIRMINGHAM CITY flopped again in the League Cup as Exeter pulled off one of last night's biggest sur- prises in the third round with a 2-1 win at St Andrews.Steve Neville struck twice for the underdogs, and Alan Ainscow's reply was not enough. Norwich could be the team to take the cup from Nottingham Forest if they continue to produce the scintillating form which sent Manchester United tumbling out. As John Bond said after his side's 4-1 victory: "At the moment we are playing well enough to win any- thing. There isn't a team in the country playing better football than us. We just have to make sure we can play like that consistently." The Canaries reached 2 League Cup finals in three years in the mid-seventies and lost them both. But the present team must have the best chance yet of bring the trophy back to Norwich for the first time since 1962. Referee Ray Toseland cast a shadow over Norwich's celebrations when he an- nounced he would be reporting them to the Football League because of bad lighting at Carrow Road.

Blues crash out of cup

Two second half goals by Steve Neville and a fine exhibition of goalkeeping from Vince O'Keefe knocked Birmingham out of the Football League Cup at a blustery St. Andrew's last night. Neville took advantage of two of many defensive blunders to score in the 47th and 9th minutes and although Blues then threw everything into their efforts to pull themselves from the mire, they found O'Keefe in sparkling form Ainscow gave them a flicker  of hope when he cut the deficit in the 65th minute but Blues had left themselves with too much to do and their slender hold on the competition ended in a mixture of mud and rain. The driving rain and wind were hardly conducive to attractive football but both teams made a serious attempt t concentrate on the skills of the game and Exeter's enthusiastic start almost produced a goal as early as the third minute when Forbes brought a top class save from Whealands Exeter, with three men up front, con inued to test the Blues defence and with Towers frequently uncertain the Third Division side were able to create sufficient chances to have put them comfortably abead. But their finishing, in the first half at least, seldom matched their approach work and when fought off the doldrums and became aware of the pickings awaiting them they looked far more likely to break the deadlock. Lanex had the ball in the net in the 23rd minute, after some delicate footwork 15 yards out left the Exeter rearguard in tatters, but then had the misfortune to see his effort ruled out because Curbishley was standing offside Five minutes later O'Keefe saved bravely at Givens's feet before Blues were given a reminder that the game was far from formality in the 32nd minute when Neville set off stunning 30-yard run that destroyed the left-hand side of their defence but then ruined all his good work with a weak shot. Exeter found their finishing touch two minutes inte the second half when Neville put them in front with simple tap-in goal after Sims centre had wobbled gently across the face of the the goal. The blame rested squarely on the Blues defence, which gave Simms all the time and space he needed to put over his centre. The Blues responded with a furry of intent that O'Kerfe repelled, not always with ease, but then Blues suffered a much bigger shock when Neville added his second. The winger ran on to through bail from former Birmingham player Bowker after Dennis had slipped on the greasy turf, and picked beautifully as. Wheeland's arms flaying like a demented windmill, tried desparately to put him off. Ainscow pulled one backbwith a well-placed header direct from a corner in the 65th minute and for a while Blues seemed capable of climbing the mountain they had built for themselves But despite a barnstorming finish and the introduction of substitute Bertschin for Curbishley, the Exeter defence held out and even when they panicked there was always O'Keefe, another former Blues player, to tidy up.



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