SWANSEA’S defence of the Capital One Cup ended at the first hurdle as they were knocked out courtesy of a resounding 3-1 defeat by Birmingham at St Andrew’s.
It is just seven months and one day since Michael Laudrup’s side lifted the first major honour in their 101-year history with a thumping 5-0 victory over Bradford at Wembley.
But the holders were brought crashing back down to earth by another side who also share fond recent memories of the competition as 2011 winners Birmingham. It was a classic game of two halves in the third-round tie as the Swans saw plenty of the ball in the opening period and hit the woodwork twice within a matter of seconds through Wilfried Bony and Alejandro Pozuelo.
There was very little for the sparse crowd to get excited about inside the opening stages, but that changed in the 18th minute. Jonathan de Guzman’s corner was headed goalwards by Bony but Paul Caddis, stood next to the back post, reacted quickly to nod the ball up against the crossbar and out in the direction of Pozuelo, who duly hammered the rebound back against the woodwork.
The hosts immediately looked more dangerous after the interval and Green fired their first real chance straight at Swans stopper Gerhard Tremmel. It was the hosts who duly broke the deadlock – Burke finding Caddis down the right and his cross was headed home by Burn from six yards.
Just five minutes later Burke was again the creator as he found Mitch Hancox down the left and he crossed low for Green to fire home.
Swansea were reduced to long-range efforts as they searched for a route back into the game. But all hopes of a comeback were extinguished in the 81st minute. Adeyemi caught out Jordi Amat on the edge of his own penalty area and the ball broke for Burke, who played the ball back to the midfielder to wrap up a superb evening for Lee Clark’s side – despite Bony’s injury-time header from Wayne Routledge’s corner. Birmingham’s reward was a home tie against Stoke.
Papiss Cisse’s first goal since April helped to ease Newcastle into the fourth round, where they will host Manchester City, at the expense of Leeds. The tie remained in the balance until deep into the second half when Yoan Gouffran blasted home to wrap up a 2-0 win.
Elsewhere, Stephen Ireland marked his first Stoke start with a goal at Tranmere. The on-loan Aston Villa midfielder put them ahead in the 23rd minute. Peter Crouch, making his first start of the season, scored in stoppage time to seal a 2-0 victory.
It took penalties to decide the final third round tie, with Arsenal overcoming West Brom 4-3 on spot-kicks at The Hawthorns. Arsenal took the lead through Thomas Eisfeld in the second half but West Brom equalised in the 71st minute through a Saido Berahino goal.
Arsenal next face a tough London derby after being drawn at home to Chelsea.