FA Cup: Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Birmingham City – Tie overshadowed by report of racist abuse

Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge complained of being racially abused by spectators after his side forced their FA Cup tie with Blackburn to a replay.

The alleged incident was reported while Blues were celebrating their injury-time equaliser from Jordan James.

Reda Khadra gave Blues an early lead, with Bradley Dack then levelling before Joe Rankin-Costello put Rovers 2-1 up.

Substitute James sent the tie to a replay, but his goal was overshadowed by the ugly incident.

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Angry scenes quickly replaced those of jubilation when 18-year-old James scored, with Etheridge going to referee Keith Stroud on the halfway line to complain about comments directed at him.

Blues boss John Eustace said the club were dealing with the complaint and said they will “make sure Neil is OK”.

“Neil was racially abused at the end, which is bang out of order,” Eustace told BBC Radio WM. “There is no room at all in society, let alone football, for that.”

A statement from Birmingham after the game said they will assist the Football Association and the authorities after the incident was included in the official’s report.

Blackburn said they would also investigate, adding that the allegation had been “taken extremely seriously”.

“The club has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of abuse and discrimination, and will take the strongest possible action against any individuals identified for committing such offences,” a Rovers statement said.external-link

The alleged incident and flare-up that followed on the pitch marred a hugely entertaining tie between the two Championship sides that now heads to St Andrew’s to be settled.

Blues, whose only win in seven games now was against Forest Green in the third round, capitalised on a poor Blackburn pass in defence to take an early lead.

Khadra’s skidding third-minute shot proved too much for Thomas Kaminski to keep out.

The Germany Under-21 international – who is on loan from Brighton, having spent last season at Rovers – went close to a second soon after but his shot squirmed underneath Kaminski only to bobble beyond the far post.

Ben Brereton Diaz twice tested Etheridge either side of that near miss from Khadra in a first half that produced numerous opportunities for both sides.

While Etheridge was able to push a Rankin-Costello shot on to the woodwork, Dack was there to tap in as the rebound bounced into his path.

Kaminski ensured the hosts remained level at the break, keeping out a diving header from Lukas Jutkiewicz in the final minute of the first half, but Rovers took the lead immediately after the break.

Just as they squandered possession in defence to concede the opening goal, Blues did the same after the restart to allow Rankin-Costello to find the bottom corner with the outside of his boot.

Jutkiewicz headed over and Khadra called Kaminski into action again as Blues searched for a leveller, while Brereton Diaz sent a big chance wide and Dack also failed to make the most of promising opportunity.

The home side were made to rue those misses as James met a pass from Hannibal Mejbri to coolly slot home from 12 yards.

Line-upsMatch StatsLive TextLine-upsBlackburnFormation 4-2-3-11Kaminski11Rankin-Costello17Carter16Wharton3Pickering21Buckley6Morton19Hedges23Dack22Brereton9Gallagher1Kaminski11Rankin-CostelloBooked at 22mins17Carter16WhartonBooked at 80mins3Pickering21BuckleySubstituted forTravisat 75’minutes6MortonBooked at 69mins19HedgesSubstituted forDolanat 45’minutes23DackSubstituted forSzmodicsat 87’minutes22BreretonBooked at 86mins9GallagherSubstituted forValeat 90+5’minutesSubstitutes7Edun8Szmodics10Dolan13Pears27Travis29Vale30Garrett33Phillips38LeonardBirminghamFormation 5-3-21Etheridge2Colin28Sanderson26Long5Trusty3Friend20Gardner31Bielik18Chong17Khadra10Jutkiewicz1Etheridge2Colin28Sanderson26LongSubstituted forBacunaat 75’minutes5Trusty3Friend20GardnerSubstituted forMejbriat 64’minutes31BielikSubstituted forChangat 65’minutes18ChongBooked at 40minsSubstituted forJamesat 89’minutes17KhadraSubstituted forHoganat 64’minutes10JutkiewiczSubstitutes6Mejbri7Bacuna9Hogan11Graham19James21Ruddy25Gordon42Chang49DonovanReferee:Keith StroudAttendance:13,687Match StatsHome TeamBlackburnAway TeamBirminghamPossessionHome62%Away38%ShotsHome16Away13Shots on TargetHome8Away8CornersHome7Away5FoulsHome6Away6Live Text Post updateMatch ends, Blackburn Rovers 2, Birmingham City 2.90’+10’Full TimeSecond Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 2, Birmingham City 2.90’+9’Post updateHarry Pickering (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.90’+9’Post updateFoul by Juninho Bacuna (Birmingham City).90’+6’Post updateHand ball by Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers).90’+5’SubstitutionSubstitution, Blackburn Rovers. Jack Vale replaces Sam Gallagher.90’+5’Post updateDelay over. They are ready to continue.90’+2’Post updateDelay in match (Blackburn Rovers).90’+1’goalGoal!Goal! Blackburn Rovers 2, Birmingham City 2. Jordan James (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Hannibal Mejbri.90’Post updateAttempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alfie Chang.89’SubstitutionSubstitution, Birmingham City. Jordan James replaces Tahith Chong.87’SubstitutionSubstitution, Blackburn Rovers. Sammie Szmodics replaces Bradley Dack.86’Post updateFoul by Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers).86’Post updateTahith Chong (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.86’BookingBen Brereton (Blackburn Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.85’Post updateFoul by Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers).85’Post updateMaxime Colin (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.85’Post updateAttempt missed. Hayden Carter (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Tyler Morton with a cross following a corner.84’Post updateCorner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Maxime Colin.83’Post updateAttempt missed. Juninho Bacuna (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Hannibal Mejbri.Page 1 of 5rewindpreviousNavigate to the next pagenextNavigate to the last pageforward

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