By Hugo Varley
For the first time in over four years, two of England’s fiercest rivals will do battle in the Second City derby.
Midland heavyweights Birmingham City and Aston Villa go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup tomorrow night, and with the Blues performing well in the Championship and Villa slipping perilously close to the Premier League drop zone, this match promises to be a closely fought encounter.
As one of the biggest derbies in the country, this game has certainly never been short on unforgettable moments, as well as controversy (we’re looking at you Alex McLeish), so let’s cast our eyes over three of the more memorable encounters between the two sides…
1. One Enck of a howler – Birmingham City 3 Aston Villa 0 (September 16 2002)
This early season encounter brought about one of the most iconic moments of the Second City derby. With his side already trailing 1-0, Villa ‘keeper Peter Enckelman completely failed to control Olof Mellberg’s slow-mo throw in, resulting in the ball trickling past the helpless Fin and into the goal, etching his name into football folklore…for all the wrong reasons!
Safe to say poor old Encks became a cult hero among the blue half of the city…
2. Dion’s Dube-ious headbutt – Aston Villa 0 Birmingham City 2 (March 3 2003)
That season, Villa fans were subjected to more misery as they ended the reverse fixture with just nine players.
In a game that always threatened to boil over, Dion Dublin pretty much grabbed the handle and poured the hot contents all over the ever-angelic, cherub-like and never-at-all-antagonising Robbie Savage, flying into a late tackle and promptly headbutting the long-locked midfielder.
To this day, brummies still wonder how Savage didn’t go flying over Spaghetti Junction such was the force of big Dion’s ‘headed effort’…
3. Villa run riot – Aston Villa 5 Birmingham City 1 (April 20 2008)
Contrary to the first two examples, this is a match that Aston Villa fans will not want to forget in a hurry!
Relegation threatened Birmingham traveled to Villa Park in desperate need of three points. However, the Blues were blown away by a rampant Aston Villa.
Goals from Ashley Young, John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor pushed Birmingham a step closer to their eventual relegation in May.
If Tuesday’s game has anything like the drama of these matches then we are in for a fantastic spectacle!