Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. It's almost always the other way round. The amount of times we've gone one or two goals up, only to finish the game with a draw or even a defeat... take Bolton at the start of the season for example; 2-0 up, Bolton down to ten men, and we go and draw it 2-2. Last night made up for all the times we'd done that, in fact it pretty much made up for all the hurt we've felt in the past five or so years.
There was one thing we didn't want to and that was to concede first. So obviously, being Blues, that's exactly what we did. We didn't close Cole down and he struck the ball very well, and the ball crept past Foster into the net. On the one night we wanted Blues to perform, it looked like we hadn't turned up. 'Just once' i thought, 'just once can we have our night.'
At half time I was standing with some of my mates and we were all pretty depressed. We all thought we'd be able to score one goal, but two... we didn't think we possible, especially as the one thing we've been pretty poor at for a while now is scoring goals. Little did we know Blues were about to put on the performance of their lives.
We threw everything at West Ham second half. Everything. The kitchen sink, the cat, the dog. Everything. It reminded me of last season when we used to put everything on the line; or against Chelsea this season when we were defending that one goal lead for about 70 minutes. It was brilliant and exciting; but at the same time it was the most nervous I and many others have ever been. But that first goal by Bowyer. That relieved some of the nerves. The feeling when that went in was immense. It really was. It was a superb strike and it really set us on our way, everyone in the ground could sense what was coming next.
And, plenty of attacks, corners and decent Green saves later, it came. Bowyer's corner found Roger Johnson head, which found the back of the net (the ball, not his head. I can't word that bit right) and the place erupted. I mean it really erupted. You know when you go so mental you don't even know what you're doing, and you're cheering so loud you know any minute your voice will go. And the stand was bouncing. And the fans were all on their feet going absolutely - pardon my French - fucking mental. And the West Ham fans couldn't believe it. Neither could we. It was 2-2 on aggregate, it was game on, and we were taking this one right to the wire: the Blues way. We nearly did it in normal time though, Craig Gardner hit the post in the last few seconds. It so almost crept in. Almost.
But we just kept the momentum going from the second half into extra time, and that's when it happened. The ball was passed long to a West Ham player. Stephen Carr read the pass and ran. He ran so fast I'm not sure how he had the energy to after running so much in the second half. But he was so determined to get there first. And he stole the ball. And he ran. And he passed it to Gardner. And that's when it happened. That's when Craig Gardner, the Bluenose, the lifelong Birmingham City supporter, scored the winning goal. Now if you think the celebrations for Roger Johnson's goal were mental, they were nothing compared to this. I will never forget that moment. 4 minutes into extra time and we were ahead. We just needed to keep it that way.
We had so many other chances to score and to create. As did West Ham, but our defence were so, so resilient they just couldn't break us down. With a few minutes to go a man in front of us started signing about Wembley. About five of us turned to him and shouted "NOT YET! NOT YET!" because we knew this was Blues and that anything could happen. But he was right. And with a minute to go, the whole ground was belting out que sera sera, and at that moment Howard Webb blew his whistle, every one just let everything go. There were tears, there were... well, just about every emotion under the sun. Pure relief, absolute delirium, just everything and more. Standing on our chairs singing 'que sera sera' is a moment I will never, ever forget. Because we did it. We're going to Wembley.
I think 'the Blues way' is the only way we could have done it, It was never going to be easy because it never is with Blues. We should have know that we'd do it in the end, that we'd be too much for West Ham, but I guess part of you isn't too sure when to believe in Blues because of how many times they've let you down in the past. But if last night taught me one thing; it's to never, ever doubt Birmingham City.
A Carling Cup final date at Wembley with Arsenal awaits us. The best thing about it is that we've got nothing to lose. Everyone expects Arsenal to win, so it's great that we have no pressure. All we have to do is go out there, do our thing and see what happens. The worst that can happen is that we get runners up medals. So for the love of God, everyone: just enjoy it, it won't come around very often. I hope you all had a brilliant night last night. See you all at Wembley.