FA CUP: THIRD ROUND REVIEW
Club News7th January
Cardiff City’s younger starlets kicked off the third round in front of the BBC television cameras, earning a solid 3-1 win over Colchester United.
A first half strike from Joe Ralls was followed up after the break by an audacious bicycle kick courtesy of Kadeem Harris to put City two up. Kenwyne Jones’ introduction then reaped instant reward as the target man headed home with his first touch from a Peter Whittingham corner before the lively Freddie Sears hit back with fifteen minutes to play. However, Cardiff City held on to become the first team to through, with Reading set to visit Cardiff City Stadium in round four.
Arsenal advanced at Hull City’s expense - the defending champions beating last year’s finalists 2-0. The Emirates Stadium witnessed Per Mertesacker head home inside 20 minutes. Summer signing Alexis Sanchez then added gloss for the Gunners with a composed finish to ensure Arsene Wenger’s Londoners a more routine victory than the summer’s extra time victory.
Everton ended a run of four losses with a draw against West Ham in the dying moments thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s injury-time equaliser leaving scores level at 1-1. Former Bluebird James Collins originally put the Hammers in front but Martinez’s men forced a replay at the death, to the delight of the home support.
In total there were four top-division clashes with Tottenham Hotspur similarly drawing 1-1 against their opponents Burnley. Leicester City meanwhile, defeated manager-less Newcastle United 1-0 at King Power Stadium following Leonardo Ulloa’s powerful header to break the deadlock.
5,000 supporters made the trip from Wrexham to the Brittania Stadium, searching for an upset. The large travelling contingent were afforded a moment of ecstasy when Mark Carrington gave the Conference side the lead but Stoke were quick to reply, finding the net three times in the final 12 minutes to hand the Potters a 3-1 win.
Giants Manchester City secured a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday – the second time this season the two sides have met in cup competition. In September’s Capital One Cup, City ran away 7-0 victors. This time around, Atdhe Nuhiu had found the net after just fourteen minutes, forcing Manuel Pellegrini to turn to David Silva and Samir Nasri to swing the tie back in City’s favour. The pair linked up well before setting up James Milner to equalise – the versatile Englishman scoring again in injury time, amply celebrating his 29th birthday.
Manchester United visited Yeovil Town – the first ever clash between the two sides – with Louis Van Gaal’s team going on to win 2-0, an Ander Herrera volley the highlight of the evening while Ben Nugent's defensive performance throughout impressed for the Glovers. José Mourinho’s industrious Chelsea defeated Watford 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, but only after the introduction of Brazilian international Willian – who opened the scoring on 58 minutes, combining with fellow substitute Diego Costa.
Liverpool scraped past Wimbledon 2-1 thanks to two goals from talisman Steven Gerrard whilst West Bromwich Albion had Saido Berahino to thank after the striker hit four against Conference side Gateshead, the Baggies going on to win 7-0 – the weekend’s highest margin of victory.
However, fellow midlanders Birmingham City endured a more testing time as they went 2-0 down to Northern Premier side Blyth Spartans before mounting a second-half comeback to win 3-2.
Sheffield United earned a fantastic away win at Loftus Road as they defeated top flight Queens Park Rangers 3-0 – their fifth Premier League cup scalp in just two seasons. League One side Sheffield went ahead through top-scorer Marc McNulty, adding two more after the break courtesy of Jamal Campbell-Ryce to complete the round’s greatest upset. Elsewhere, Preston North End beat Norwich City 2-0 with two goals from Paul Gallagher securing the win.
FA CUP FOURTH ROUND DRAW
Southampton or Ipswich Town v Crystal Palace
Cambridge United v Manchester United
Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City
Chelsea v Millwall or Bradford City
Cardiff City v Reading
Derby County v Scunthorpe or Chesterfield
Preston North End v Sheffield United
Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion
Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth
Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers
Burnley or Tottenham v Leicester City
Rochdale v Stoke City
Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal
Sunderland v Fulham or Wolves
Doncaster or Bristol City v Everton or West Ham
Manchester City v Middlesbrough