DERBY // Nigel Clough's dream of winning the one domestic trophy that eluded his father, Brian, was shattered as Birmingham defender Liam Ridgewell snatched an injury-time winner in the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Pride Park. Jay McEveley's 54th-minute strike put the Rams on course for a quarter-final spot for the first time in 11 years, but Scott Dann headed home a James McFadden corner to level matters and then Ridgewell - who scored a last-minute equaliser against Tottenham in the Premier League two weeks ago - popped up with the decider.
It was rough justice on the home side - and their inspirational captain Robbie Savage - and they deserved a second chance against a below-par City, with Kris Commons a constant handful for the away defenders. Derby more than matched their high-flying Premier League opponents for long periods. But Birmingham have a never-say-die spirit about them these days and it surfaced again to seal their place in the last eight.
The Birmingham manager Alex McLeish praised the character of goalkeeper Joe Hart as he recovered from a goal-costing error that led to Derby's goal. McLeish said: "McEveley's shot took a bounce in front of Joe and it was a difficult pitch but I was still surprised to see it end up in the back of the net. "But Joe has shown great character all season and always responded in the right way. It was a tremendous save that he made from Savage right at the death.
"I spoke to Fabio Capello [the England coach] during the week and he is also very happy with Joe's form overall." Clough played down hand gestures made by his captain, the former Birmingham midfielder Savage, towards the away fans after Ridgewell had netted his late minute winner. He said: "I'd rather talk about the 95 minutes of football before that. I thought overall that we deserved at least a replay and we do feel slightly hard done by."
* PA Sport