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The BBC's Simon Hill
"The final scoreline was harsh on Birmingham"
 real 28k

Saturday, 8 January, 2000, 18:28 GMT
Birmingham pay the penalty

Unsworth (l) stepped up from defence to net two spot-kicks


Everton 2-0 Birmingham City

Everton survived a fierce FA Cup challenge from First Division side Birmingham, needing a controversial penalty to help them into the last 16 of the competition.

The game was deadlocked until the 76th minute when David Elleray awarded a spot-kick for a debatable foul by substitute Eddie Newton on Nicky Barmby.


Match fatcs
28 mins: Jeffers hits the post
Half time: Everton booed off the pitch
75 mins: Unsworth nets controversial penalty
90 mins: Unsworth adds a second spot-kick

David Unsworth duly despatched the penalty to give Everton the lead and then added a second in the third minute of injury time as Birmingham pressed desperately for an equaliser.

The 2-0 scoreline did not reflect how close Everton were to joining Premiership sides Wimbledon, Southampton and Sunderland on the fourth-round scrap heap.

Everton, with a record 23 FA Cup semi-final appearances, were second best in the first half and were booed off the field by the Goodison crowd at the interval.


Everton's Paul Gerrard fends off Birmingham's Marcelo
And though gained the upper hand on Birmingham after the restart, it needed Elleray's intervention to break the stalemate.

Birmingham could have taken the lead in the 11th minute when Martin O' Connor sent through Bryan Hughes but the youngster sent his shot wide.

Francis Jeffers, restored to the line-up after his Christmas booze-up along with fellow reveller Richard Dunne, came closest in open play when he hit the post with a 25-yard shot just before the half hour.

Birmingham often relied on keeper Ian Bennett to keep them in the tie but he could do little to stop Unsworth's coolly taken 75th minute penalty, or a replica kick 15 minutes later which finally ended their brave challenge.

Teams:

Everton: Gerrard, Unsworth, Gough, Weir, Dunne, Pembridge, Hutchison, Collins, Barmby, Jeffers, Campbell. Subs: Ball, Watson, Gemmill, Moore, Simonsen.

Birmingham: Bennett, Grainger, Holdsworth, Charlton, Johnson, Rowett, Hughes, Hyde, O'Connor, Robinson, Marcelo. Subs: Poole, Adebola, Newton, Purse, Lazaridis.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill)

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Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.