Gills eliminated in second round of the Capital One Cup by Birmingham
A Wes Thomas double earned Birmingham a place in the third round of the Capital One Cup following a 2-0 win over Gillingham at St. Andrew’s on Tuesday night.
The striker scored once either side of half time to put the Championship side through despite a spirited performance from the Gills.
Ben Williamson went close twice to finding the net for the visitors, but City converted their two best opportunities to record victory.
Justin Edinburgh made four changes to the side that defeated Wigan 2-0 at Priestfield on Saturday. Bradley Garmston, Max Ehmer, Jermaine McGlashan and Ben Williamson all came into the side at the expense of John Egan, Luke Norris, Bradley Dack and Brennan Dickenson who had to make do with a place on the bench.
Birmingham made nine changes to their starting XI, with former Premier League defender Jonathan Spector included. Tomasz Kuszczak, once of Manchester United, was on the substitutes bench with Adam Legzdins starting in goal.
The first chance of the game was created by the hosts on six minutes when a cross from the left found Wes Thomas in space on the edge of the box.
His first touch was poor but on the bounce produced a great effort which went half a yard over the bar, with Nelson well placed to make a stop if required.
And seconds later the Gills could have been ahead, Williamson looked second best to win the ball inside the Birmingham box however he muscled past his marker and managed to gain possession.
He shifted the ball to the left hand side and managed to get a shot away, only a deflection denied him from beating Legzdins at his near post.
On 28 minutes, following a string of set plays for both sides, Andrew Shinnie nearly broke the deadlock with an excellent long range effort.
With space in front of him he sprinted towards the box and let fly with an excellent shot which narrowly cleared the bar.
Seven minutes later and the Blues were ahead – Jacques Maghoma’s cross was aimed towards the back post, Oshilaja was unable to prevent the ball working its way back into the six yard box and Thomas adjusted his body well to get a shot on target which Nelson was unable to keep out from close range.
Thomas nearly bagged a second shortly after the interval but sent a right footed effort narrowly wide from 18 yards.
Andrew Shinnie sent a curling effort wide of the target a few minutes later before Williamson drilled a low right footed shot just beyond the far post.
As the half hour mark came and went it was decided to introduce Cody McDonald for the first time this season, he replaced Williamson on 62 minutes.
However 10 minutes later the visitors found themselves two goals down with Thomas on the score sheet again.
A corner taken by Jacques Maghoma on the left was cleared, the ball was played back into the danger zone with Thomas appearing to be in an offside position.
The flag stayed down and Thomas guided the ball beyond Nelson who was quick to vent his anger at the assistant referee.
Edinburgh made a double change with Egan and Dack thrown into the mix late on, but aside from long range efforts from Maghoma and substitute Nicolai Brock-Madsen respectively, neither side were able to create anything clear cut with Birmingham advancing to the next round of the competition.
Birmingham: Legzdins, Eardly, Robinson, Kieftenbeld, Spector, Thomas (Brock-Madsen 77), Hancox, Maghoma, Shinnie (Brown 83), Arthur (Solomon 77), Davis.
Unused subs: Kuszcak, Gray, Morrison, Donaldson.
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (Egan 74), Ehmer, Oshilaja, Garmston, Houghton (Dack 78), Hessenthaler, Wright, McGlashan, Williamson (McDonald 62), Donnelly.
Unused subs: G Morris, Oldaker, Dickenson, Norris
Attendance: 9275 (382 Gills)
Referee: Mr G Salisbury