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Boss Burchnall lauds Forest Green after narrow FA Cup defeat to Birmingham

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FA Cup third-round

Forest Green 1

Birmingham City 2

By Josh Evans

Forest Green boss Ian Burchnall heaped praise on his side after they pushed Championship Birmingham City to the wire.

Birmingham faced an exit to third tier strugglers Forest Green after Ben Stevenson produced a 25-yard rocket to put the Gloucestershire side in front.  

Second half goals from Lucas Jutkiewicz and Kevin Long ensured Birmingham’s passage into the fourth round and a trip to Blackburn Rovers. 

Burchnall praised their ‘outstanding’ first half display that rocked the struggling Championship side.  

“We’ve felt as if we’ve been on top of teams but haven’t got that illusive second goal, and when they’ve got that quality at 1-0 there’s always a chance,” said Burchnall.   

“We create two huge moments through March and Stevens but those are the small details that they took their two chances, and we didn’t take ours.  

“Against times like this in the league above, you need to take those moments.

“We have to have some context on the team we played tonight, they’ve come from the league above with a strong squad and you saw the player that came on had a really positive impact.” 

Forest Green’s bright start was rewarded when a short corner routine was worked neatly to Stevenson who planted a fine curling effort into the top corner from distance.  

Captain Jutkiewicz levelled just after the break with a crisp low drive that gave Rovers ‘keeper Lewis Thomas no chance just minutes after he denied Scott Hogan with a smart stop.  

Neil Etheridge produced an incredible double save to deny a spectacular Regan Hendry strike and a Stevens follow-up to keep the scoreline level.  

But it would be Blues with the final say when a Tahith Chong corner fell kindly for Long who side footed home to complete the second comeback.  

Josh March squandered a golden opportunity to level, but he struck wide of the far post after he beat the Birmingham offside trap.  

 

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