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BBC Sport's Simon Mann
reports from Maine Road
 real 14k

banner Saturday, 6 January, 2001, 18:16 GMT
Man City survive Birmingham comeback
Dele Adebola (left) and Andy Morrison in action at Maine Road
Dele Adebola (left) holds off the challenge of Andy Morrison
Manchester City 3-2 Birmingham City

Manchester City finally registered a victory - but only just after Birmingham staged a second half comeback at Maine Road.

City looked set for a comfortable passage into the fourth round of the FA Cup when they raced into a 3-0 half-time lead.

But Trevor Francis' side scored two goals in four minutes to stage an uncomfortable last 30 minutes for City.

Andy Morrison opened the scoring for the home side after 18 minutes when his powerful header connected with Danny Tiatto's corner for his first goal since March 1999.

New signing Darren Huckerby added the second when he evaded two Birmingham challenges before scoring with a right-foot shot beyond Ian Bennett.

Darren Huckerby and Shaun Goater
Darren Huckerby scored City's second goal
The 2.5m striker was substituted after picking up an injury, but his side soon scored their third three minutes before the interval.

Keeper Bennett brought down Alfie Haaland for a penalty, calmly dispatched by Shaun Goater to give the City fans plenty to shout about at the break.

But a stern Francis teamtalk revived his side's ailing fortunes.

Their second-half renaissance began when Darren Purse's shot was cleared off the line by a desperate City defence.

But they could do nothing to prevent Martin Grainger's 20-yard strike which flew past Nicky Weaver into the far top corner.

Within minutes, Birmingham doubled their score when Nicky Eaden nodded the ball back for Dele Adebola to glance home a header from six yards out.

The home side had Weaver to thank when he denied substitute Marcelo as the Blues pushed for an equaliser.

But City held on for an uncomfortable victory - greeted with relief by the City fans.

Manchester City: Weaver, Edghill, Dunne, Morrison, Howey, Tiatto, Wiekens, Haaland, Granville, Huckerby, Goater.
Subs: Prior, Bishop, Dickov, Charvet, Wright.

Birmingham City: Bennett, Gill, Purse, Michael Johnson, Grainger, Eaden, Sonner, O'Connor, Lazaridis, Ndlovu, Adebola.
Subs: Poole, Burrows, Marcelo, Horsfield, Hughes.

Referee: M Messias.

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