Birmingham City 1 Swansea City 2 match report: Wilfired Bony’s double gives Michael Laudrup a lift

Swansea’s record signing is starting to look good value after another match-winning display

St Andrews

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. At half time, Swansea looked in danger of succumbing to their second cup exit of the season at St Andrew’s but then on came substitute Wilfried Bony to turn the game around. Swansea’s £12.5m record signing was their matchwinner at Old Trafford in the third round and he transformed this contest ensuring his side’s first appearance in the FA Cup fifth round since 2009.

He may have earned mixed reviews in the autumn when he found goals hard to come by, but Bony now has 16 goals in all competitions – six in his last five games – and with Michu still injured, he will have a pivotal role to play in the Welsh club’s fight to retain their place in the top flight when Swansea face Fulham and then West Ham in the next seven days.

“When you have a big price tag on your shoulders the patience is sometimes a little less,” said Swansea manager Michael Laudrup. “I am happy for him but first of all for the team. Hopefully we can build on this result today as on Tuesday we have a very important game in the League.”

For Swansea, the build-up to this fixture was dominated by reports of a training-ground row between Spanish defender Chico Flores and club captain Garry Monk, and more negative headlines appeared imminent after a first half when Birmingham, leading through Lee Novak’s 15th-minute goal, looked poised to repeat their Capital One Cup success over in September.

For Laudrup, a confidence-draining run of eight League games without a win was the source of the problem. His description of them playing “with a frog in the ball” was an unusual metaphor but easy to grasp and his response was to send on Bony in place of Alvaro Vazquez. “I thought the way they played we had to introduce Bony from the start of the second half and it paid off with two great goals,” added Laudrup.

Bony’s threat was soon evident. He had already been foiled by a superb Mitch Hancox tackle and goalkeeper Colin Doyle’s near-post save when he equalised after 67 minutes. Jordi Amat fed Roland Lamah out on the Swansea left and he crossed for Bony to bury a low volley into the corner of Doyle’s goal.

Within two minutes, Bony had his second goal as Swansea caught Birmingham on the counter. Lamah played the ball infield to Alejandro Pozuelo and he helped it on to Bony who did the rest, taking the ball coolly around the goalkeeper before ignoring the defenders in front of him and burying a shot into the roof of the net.

Birmingham manager Lee Clark lamented the Championship team’s defending for the winning goal – “all my midfield and both full-backs were up the pitch and they cut us open” – but rightly found plenty of positives in their first-half display. “We had opportunities and could have been two or three up by half-time, no exaggeration. We had a chance of causing an upset so it’s disappointing.”

Their reward for a purposeful start arrived on the quarter-hour when Paul Caddis delivered an inswinging cross from the right and Novak applied a glancing header to send the ball out of the reach of Gerhard Tremmel.

It was a young Birmingham side with six players aged 22 or under and they denied Swansea time and space with a high-energy approach, summed up by the performance of midfielder Reece Brown.  “Outstanding” was Clark’s verdict on the 17-year-old, who signed his first _professional contract on Friday.  He was one of several Birmingham players to threaten a second goal with a shot from 20 yards.

Chris Burke beat Flores to a bouncing ball but fired wide with Albert Rusnak well-placed to his left, while Tremmel tipped over a fierce Hancox drive. Even at the start of the second half it took one of several vital Ashley Williams blocks to rescue Swansea after Dwight Tiendalli’s slip let in Shane Ferguson.

Birmingham (4-4-2): Doyle; Caddis, Packwood, Robinson, Hancox; Burke, Lee, Brown, Ferguson (Adeyemi, 74); Rusnak, Novak (Lovenkrands, 81).

Swansea (4-2-3-1): Tremmel; Tiendali, Chico, Williams, Flores, Taylor; Amat, Britton; Hernandez (Bony, h-t), Pozuelo, Lamah; Vazquez (Routledge, 64).

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.

Man of the match: Bony (Swansea)

Match rating7/10

 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks