The Second City Derby is one of 90min's 50 Biggest Derbies in the World
Some derby matches are always a pulsating, engrossing affair where drama - of some variety - is a given before a ball has even been kicked.
The rivalry between Aston Villa and Birmingham is once such clash, but we've unfortunately been (from a neutral point of view) deprived of this tie this season after the Villans successfully navigated their way into the top tier.
Over the course of history, however, we've been able to enjoy some classic encounters that have evoked all the characteristics this fierce derby holds. All the way back to 1887 when they pair first came to blows up until as recently as last term, there have been some cracking matches that certainly deserve revisiting.
In some cases it's the unfortunate incidents that happened outside of the actual football that took centre stage, but nevertheless, they were part of a bigger picture, which is the heated, iconic and never lifeless Second City Derby.
1895 - Aston Villa 7-3 Small Heath
Aston Villa FA Cup winners 1895 pic.twitter.com/N6fWGr6yqv— The League Magazine (@Theleaguemag) December 29, 2017
Before they took on their current name of Birmingham City, the Blues went by the name of Small Heath (and Small Heath Alliance), but truth be told, in terms of their rivalry with Villa, it's a name best forgotten.
They never got the better of their opponents during matches played under this name, with the most humbling of results coming way back in 1895. It was a League Division One fixture at the time, where a visit across the city saw Small Heath be on the wrong end of the highest scoring fixture these two have ever taken part in.
Ten goals would be scored in a mad-cap game, but the result wasn't too shocking. Villa would win the league that season meanwhile Small Heath would finish second bottom of the table, with the gulf in class between the pair painfully noticeable. Villa would also win the FA Cup that season.
1978 - Birmingham 1-0 Aston Villa
While it may seem like an innocuous result on its own, the result of this, well, result, handed Birmingham their longest winning run over the Villans in their history.
Five Division One matches came and went with the Blues taking all the points: 3-2, 1-2, 2-1, 0-1 and 1-0. It granted them bragging rights for over two years and to this day remains their best run of results in this clash.
2002 - Birmingham 3-0 Aston Villa
Moving into the modern era, 2002 marked the new beginnings of the Second City Derby. For the first time in this fixture's history, the pair would face off in the Premier League. For nine years the duo failed to cross paths, so when Birmingham got themselves promoted into the top flight, this rivalry was reborn.
It was a moment to savour for the home side, who outplayed their opponents across the 90 minutes and emerged as worthy 3-0 winners. Clinton Morrison put the Blues in front, with the second goal coming in calamitous fashion after Peter Enckelman miskicked a throw-in from teammate Olof Mellberg, allowing it roll beyond him and into the net after the faintest of touches.
Geoff Horsfield rounded off the scoring with seven minutes left, in the first league meeting between the two for 15 years.
2004 - Aston Villa 2-2 Birmingham
Firmly in the hunt for European football that season, Villa hosted Birmingham at Villa Park in search of their fifth successive victory. Darius Vassell had sought to maintain their winning run with a goal midway through the first half and, despite other glaring misses, Thomas Hitzlsperger added a second shortly after the restart with a thumping effort.
Seeking a route back into the game, Morrison set up Mikael Forssell to reduce the arrears, but the drama was set to play on until the very final minute.
Deep into injury time, Stern John popped up to pounce in the box and fire high into the roof of the net to send the away supporters in madness. A comeback goal to level the scores on your rivals' patch, in the 94th minute, in front of the away fans? Doesn't get much better than that.
2008 - Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham
Both clubs were at contrasting positions during the 2007/08 season. Villa were flying high under Martin O'Neill, meanwhile Birmingham, under Alex McLeish, were in serious danger of being relegated to the Championship.
On display at Villa Park was an almighty humbling, as the home side wiped the floor with their rivals to inflict further damage to their top flight ambitions.
Ashley Young and John Carew braces put Villa 4-0 in front, and despite Forsell's consolation goal, Gabriel Agbonlahor had the final say with a late fifth. This result would go some way to relegating Birmingham, as they would finish in 19th and drop into the second tier.
2010 - Birmingham 2-1 Aston Villa
This win remains the Blues' only victory over Villa since their Premier League scalp back in 2005, so it's one of precious few memories for the club's supporters to cherish for quite a painfully long time.
It would come during the 2010/11 League Cup, where a fifth round tie had the pair going head-to-head in the biggest match between the two in recent memory. Sebastian Larsson had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot, before controversy struck. The Blues thought they'd grabbed a second goal, but despite the ball appearing to cross the line, it wasn't allowed.
Remarkably, Villa went straight up the other end and snatched an equaliser, with Agbonlahor out muscling his marker to fire beyond Ben Foster.
However, with the clock ticking down, Nikola Zigic mustered one final foray into the Villa penalty box in the freezing conditions. Cameron Jerome's low cross found the striker, and a fumbled, deflected effort somehow found its way beyond Brad Friedel to spark pandemonium at St Andrew's.
Famously, the Blues would go on to lift the trophy that season, beating Arsenal in the final.
2019 - Birmingham 0-1 Aston Villa
It was a moment that stunned the football world, as some truly disgraceful scenes took place when Villa travelled across the city in search of the points that would help them secure a playoff spot in the Championship.
Jack Grealish captained his boyhood club and scored the winning goal in a feisty and pulsating affair, but it was the actions of one man that stole all the headlines.
One of the home supporters ran onto the pitch just ten minutes in, heading straight for the Villa skipper. The spectator went up to Grealish and punched him from behind, before being immediately apprehended by security. While violence is an unfortunate sidenote in this derby, never had it been witnessed on the pitch towards one of the players quite like this.
Grealish was luckily not seriously injured, proceeding to carry on in the game and, y'know, scoring the winner. What better way to respond to such vile behaviour than to do that.
Source : 90min