In the end City cruised through to the last sixteen and a date with Aston Villa courtesy of Patrick Vieira’s head and some magic from Carlos Tevez
But despite three goals in the final six minutes they will have to perform much better if they are to lift the venerable trophy for the first time since 1969.
For a quarter of this game the home side looked almost dysfunctional as County made the running.
The members of the orchestra were all present but the performance was out of tune – all the wrong notes in the wrong order – until the symphony developed as the game wore on. And boy did it finish with a baton waving flourish.
After having their post struck and their resolution at the back tested, the Blues finally took the lead in the 37th minute courtesy of their two World Cup winners.
It hit Krystian Pearce’s hand on the way in and would have been a penalty had the ball not nestled in the net
It has now taken four games for the Blues to dismiss first Leicester and now Notts County but there is no doubting Roberto Mancini’s determination to reach a domestic final in his first full season in charge.
Despite an injury list that could impact on the main aim for the campaign – a top four place in the Premier League and with it a Champions League slot next season – Mancini wheeled out his heavy artillery to quash the League One side.
Italian international Mario Balotelli started his first game since he scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa in December and was all bristling intent, if a little short on match practice and service until, that is, he left wounded at the corner that led to City’s second.
There was no rest for many of the big names with Silva and Yaya Toure amongst those to go to the well again after the midweek trip to Greece. Carlos Tevez and Vincent Kompany were held back in reserve.
Fifty-nine league rungs separated the two sides at start of play and at times it showed though, like at Meadow Lane in the initial encounter at times it didn’t.
The Magpies, seeking a second win at a Premier League ground after upsetting Sunderland in round three, proved stubborn opponents
Speed of thought and ease of movement are two of the major attributes that divide the top sides from those further down the ladder and there was no better example of that in this replay than Silva.
What County sometimes lacked in the Spaniard’s finesse they made up for with tenacity and willpower. They were dangerous at set plays with Pearce giving the home side an early scare from a corner.
There was another fright when, midway through the first half, Karl Hawley’s swerving long range effort hit the inside of the post and luckily for the fast asleep home side it rebounded to safety.
City’s response was to rouse from their slumbers and the two men who did the damage in the first game threatened to do so again.
Richards then went close with a header, Balotelli thought he should have had a penalty for a trip by Westcarr and City at last began to look like a Premier League side. Yaya Toure’s fine interplay at pace with Silva resulted in another good save from Nelson.
It was from the corner that Vieira nodded the Blues in front and he repeated the trick after the break when he stooped to nod home Aleksandar Kolarov’s flag kick.
Lee Hughes had the chance for a consolation after a neat turn but Hart held firm and the England man then produced a superlative effort to help Alan Gow’s 20-yarder over the top.
The game ended on a real high with substitute Tevez scoring his 50th goal for the club and then setting up Dzeko for his second, a header from two-yards out and finally Richards bagging an injury time fifth. Five-nil was harsh on County.