Wednesday 26th January

Birmingham City booked their place in the Final of the Carling Cup with a second leg extra-time victory over West Ham United that gave them a 4-3 aggregate win.

Craig Gardner, who had been denied by the upright in time added on, scored the winning goal after early in the first period of extra-time.

West Ham made the perfect start to the match when first leg match winner Carlton Cole gave them the lead, and a two-goal advantage in the tie, when he curled in a spectacular 25-yard effort after 31 minutes.

The Blues hit back when an equally stunning strike from Lee Bowyer flew into the top corner and that gave the home side the platform from which to mount their response.

With eleven minutes to go Roger Johnson headed home from a Bowyer corner to put the sides level on aggregate and take the tie to extra-time.

The additional half-an-hour was just a matter of four minutes old when Gardner fired in the all important goal from the edge of the penalty area to secure a trip to Wembley, where they will face Arsenal, on Sunday 27th February.

Tuesday 25th Janaury

Arsenal are the first side through to the Carling Cup final after they beat Ipswich Town 3-0 on the night.

The Gunners trailed their Championship opponents 1-0 after the first leg and it took them 61 minutes to level things up at the Emirates.

Nicklas Bendtner got the goal which cancelled out Tamas Priskin's strike from the first leg, but just three minutes later and Arsene Wenger's side were ahead.

Laurent Koscielny scored only his second goal in English football, since arriving from Lorient in the the summer. The defender was last on target in September, when he scored the first goal in Arsenal's 4-1 win over Bolton.

Cesc Fabregas then made sure of their place, in next month's final, as he scored his eighth goal of the season.

Arsenal will contest their seventh League Cup final at Wembley but will they face Birmingham City or West Ham United?

Wednesday 12th January

Ipswich Town recorded a historic win over Arsenal in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final at Portman Road.

The Tractor Boys bounced back from their 7-0 drubbing by Chelsea, at the weekend, in spectacular fashion by beating Arsene Wenger's side 1-0.

Tamas Priskin scored the only goal of the game and it was nothing more than the npower Championship side deserved after they created the better chances on the night.

The Hungarian was without a goal since November 6th, but he broke his duck in style scoring in the 79th minute when he finally converted one of several chances that fell his way.

Ian McParland took charge of his final game before new Manager Paul Jewell takes the reins on Thursday but he will have been delighted by the passion and desire shown. He wanted his side to sweat blood in the tie and he wasn't disappointed.

Arsene Wenger named nine international players in his starting XI and bought on another three but his side were restricted to just a couple of chances, the best of which fell to Cesc Fabregas.

The two sides meet again at the Emirates in a fortnight's time.


Tuesday 11th January

West Ham United recorded a 2-1 first leg win in their Carling Cup semi-final with Birmingham City, thanks to a late winner from substitute Carlton Cole.

Mark Noble broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when he volleyed home from deep inside the penalty area for the hosts. The goal was enough to give the Hammers a half-time lead and it remained that way until 11 minutes into the second period when things took a change for the worst for West Ham.

Liam Ridgewell headed home for the Blues to level matters and just three minutes after play re-started Victor Obinna was dismissed leaving the Hammers to play out the final half an hour of the first leg with 10 men.

The Nigerian international received his marching order for kicking Sebastian Larsson but his absence galvanised Avram Grant's side and they went on to secure victory.

Five minutes after coming off the bench and with 12 minutes to go Cole scored the all important goal to give West Ham a one-goal advantage to take into the second leg. The forward grabbed his sixth goal of the season, converting a pass from Jonathan Spector, with a strike that Blues goalkeeper Ben Foster completely misjudged.