The Magic of the FA Cup!
FA Cup Replays: The English FA Cup, dominated almost for the last twenty years by the Premier League’s big five, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and both Manchester clubs, could be about to reawaken some lost magic!
During the last twenty years both Arsenal and Chelsea have both lifted the trophy six times each. Manchester United have managed three, Liverpool two, and Manchester City one. Trend beakers were Portsmouth and Wigan.
In 2008 Portsmouth, then a Premier League club managed by Harry Redknapp, beat Cardiff 1-0 in the final thanks to a 37th minute tap by Nwankwo Kanu. For Redknapp, it meant his only top-flight cup/title during his managerial career. He had to wait another ten years before he lifted another trophy. I’m a celebrity!
Cardiff, then in the Championship, are now having a break in the Premier League as they did during season 2013-14. That season they finished last and they are a hot favourite to suffer relegation again this season.
Nigerian international Kanu, who played 87 times for his country scoring 12 goals, also turned out for Arsenal scoring 37 goals in 119 games. He’s retired now and is a member of the Aro sub-group of the Ibbo ethnic group in his home country!
In 2013 Roberto Martínez’s Wigan beat Manchester City 1-0 with a 90+ 3 minute goal from Ben Watson. That season Wigan were relegated from the Barclays Premier League, in 18th place, whilst City finished runners up to Manchester United.
Newport Sprinkle Some Magic
Newport County 2 Middlesborough 0
Newport County, who dispatched Leicester City in round three, have now pulled off another shock in round four. Back to the 90+ 3rd minute and this time 25 year old Newport’s midfielder Matthew Dolan. He scored the equalizer as Newport came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at Middleborough. In Tuesday’s home replay Robbie Willmot put Newport in front after 27 minutes. Padraig Amond scored a second 20 minutes later.
And The Keepers Mrs. Had Twins!
During some games, goalkeepers have been known to have kittens. Newport’s goalkeeper, 28 year old Joe Day, did better than that. On the way to the game, he heard that his expecting wife Lizzie’s water had broken. Somehow he managed to switch off during the game and kept a clean sheet. At the final whistle Day, after asking for permission from his manager Michael Flynn, sprinted down the tunnel on his way to the hospital.
It’s reported that Lizzie gave birth to the first twin at 8:13 p.m. and the second at 8:35 p.m. Mother and twin daughters, Sophia and Emelia, are doing well. And Dad, although disappointed at missing out on the births, did have permission to play in the game from Lizzie. All is well in the Day household!
Manchester City Up Next!
Newport County are 14th in Sky Bet’s Division Two which, if you rank based on league and league positions, puts them 81 places below Manchester City who could go top of the Barclays Premier League if they beat Everton tonight. But rankings don’t always apply as Premier League teams tend to play fringe players in cup games. Leicester learned their lesson in round four.
Whatever the outcome it’s a ‘Dream Come True’ for Newport’s finances especially if they can manage a payday replay.
But City Show No Mercy!
In recent domestic cup games, City have confirmed their intention to fight for honours on four fronts with a fine collection of big wins. Rotherham 7-0, Burton Albion lost 9-0, and Burnley 5-0 will testify to that.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Shrewsbury 2
Wolverhampton Wanderers, sitting comfortably in 7th place in the Barclays Premier League, have impressive victories over Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea in different competitions this season. They’ve also drawn with both Manchester clubs and Arsenal. They must be an outside bet to lift the FA Cup this season.
At Shrewsbury, they struggled at the Montgomery Waters Meadow and it took another 90+ 3 minute goal, from defender Matt Doherty, for force a Molineux replay. Doherty also scored twice in last night’s clash, in the 2nd and 45+ 6th minutes. In between Doherty’s goals, Shrewsbury’s James Bolton and Josh Laurent both scored. Honours even at half-time.
In the 62nd minute, Ivan Cavaleiro guaranteed Wolves passage into round five with the only goal of the second half.
Wolves now travel to Championship side Bristol City in round five.
Brentford 3 Barnet 1
Barnet, the last team outside English Football’s top 4 leagues are now out. The Vanarama National League side were 3-0 down in 71 minutes before David Tutonda replied in the 74th minute. Brentford will now travel to Swansea in round five
Queens Park Ranger 2 Portsmouth 0
Queens Park Rangers will now host Watford in round five but it took until 70 minutes before Nahaki Wells broke the deadlock. Seven minutes later Matt Smith killed off the tie.
Revised Fifth Round Draw
February 15th Kick-off 19:45. Queens Park Rangers v Watford
February 16th Kick-off 12:30. West Bromwich Albion or Brighton Derby County
February 16th Kick-off 15:00. Wimbledon v Millwall
February 16th Kick-off 15:00. Swansea v Brentford
February 16th Kick-off 17:30. Newport County v Manchester City
February 17th Kick-off 13:00. Bristol City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
February 17th Kick-off 16:00. Doncaster Rovers v Crystal Palace
February 18th Kick-off 19:30. Chelsea v Manchester United
Arsenal and Liverpool are already out. Chelsea or Manchester United will go out in round five. Could this be the year of an FA Cup upset?