A round up of the Fourth Round of the FA Cup including heroics by Lincoln City, Sutton, and Wolves as they find the right stones to nail the giants who once stood in their way.
Lincoln City has become only the eighth non-league side to battle through to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup since a man called Adolf started falling out with everyone.
The Imps reached the last 16 for the first time in 115-years after swatting Championship leaders Brighton aside as if they were nothing but a fly hanging around the ass of a lion.
And Danny Cowley’s side did it the hard way after falling behind to a Richie Towell strike in the 24th minute moments after Brighton had hit the crossbar with a thunderbolt of a strike by Solly March.
When Brighton went into the half-time interval, the script had been followed meticulously. The team dreaming of playing in the Premier League next season were in the lead against a team with aspirations of joining the English Football League (EFL). There were 72-places between them. There would be only one winner, right?
The side which is a point clear of Forest Green with two games in hand at the top of the National League aren’t used to losing. They came out of the traps with a renewed vigour and levelled in the 57th minute after Glen Murray brought Theo Robinson down in the box, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot and Alan Power rammed the ball home.
And then there was bedlam in Sincil Bank. Less than five minutes later, Lincoln took a deserved lead, when Nathan Arnold sprinted clear of his marker on the right-hand side of the pitch; sent in a cross, and debutant Fikayo Tomori looked like a complete and utter mug when he bundled the ball past his keeper in comical fashion.
It wasn’t the end of Brighton’s bum defending. With time running out, a weak forward pass from the backline fell to a Lincoln player; the ball was instantly sent into the path of Robinson who made no mistake to give Lincoln their second Championship scalp in a row.
Sutton Turn Over Leeds
For the first time since 1925, the Fifth Round of the FA Cup will contain two sides from non-league football after Sutton United turned over Championship side Leeds at Gander Green Lane.
It was 1989 all over again as Sutton beat Leeds with ease after Garry Monk had made wholesale changes ahead of the game. Roarie Deacon was the star of the show for Sutton. The former Gunner could have had a first-half hat-trick if it wasn’t for a dodgy offside decision and great goalkeeping.
But Deacon would have a say in the incident that led to the goal after a calamitous set of circumstances resulted in Lewie Coyle upending the Sutton striker in the box, and captain Jamie Collins stepped up to send the non-league side into the last 16.
Wolves Consign Liverpool to their Third Successive Defeat
It wasn’t that long ago; we were spouting about the brilliance of Liverpool and how they were the only team capable of preventing Chelsea from winning the Premier League at a canter. Now they look a mess.
Jurgen Klopp had turned Anfield into a fortress. For the past year, teams who arrived in this neck of the woods were lucky if they escaped with a point. The cataclysmic defeat against Wolves was their third home loss in succession.
Liverpool went into the match low on confidence having won one game in seven in 2017. It was their worse start to a season since 1993, when, incidentally, lower league Bolton bundled them out of the FA Cup in the 4th Round.
Confidence dropped even more after Wolves got off to the best possible start scoring in the first minute. A long free kick finding the head of Richard Stearman, whose looping header gave Loris Karius no chance.
Wolves were in dreamland five minutes before the half-time break. The outstanding Helder Costa broke free down the middle, Andreas Weimann busted a gut to keep up, the youngster put him through on goal, and he calmly rounded the keeper to put the Championship side two ahead.
Liverpool rallied in the second half and pulled a goal back thanks to Divock Origi, but Wolves deserved the win. They are in the draw for the Fifth Round after beating Premier League teams Stoke and Liverpool. Not a bad turnaround considering they hadn’t won an FA Cup game in six years.
Millwall Too Tough For Watford
Millwall came into their home tie against a topsy-turvy Watford side on the back of seven games without defeat. Outside of this competition, you have to go back to early December to find a Watford win.
So it was no surprise when a Shane Ferguson cross found Steve Morison at the far post, and Millwall’s fifth all-time leading scorer found the back of the net with a sumptuous volley with only five minutes remaining.
Watford had chances to equalise but failed. Walter Mazzarri is now 3/1 third favourite to lose his job behind Aitor Karanka and David Moyes.
Wycombe Nearly Pull of a Shock at Spurs
League Two side Wycombe gave Spurs the fright of their lives at White Hart Lane, as Mauricio Pochettino rung in the changes in a game his high-flying side should have navigated with ease.
But Wycombe has the winning bug, coming into the match on the back of a 16 game unbeaten run, and it showed as Paul Hayes made sure Wycombe would go in at half-time two goals to the good with a brace.
But Spurs is also on fire lately having suffered only one defeat in their past 12-games, and with the home advantage, you knew Wycombe were going to have to pull out the performance of a lifetime to hold on.
Son Heung-Min pulled one back for Spurs in the 60th minute, before a soft penalty allowed Vincent Janssen to equalise four minutes later. It must have been a seismic shock for Wycombe to see their two-goal lead decimated in such quick fashion, but their reaction was astounding.
Pochettino had used all of his substitutes by the time Kieran Trippier limped off with an injury 15-minutes from time, leaving them with 10-men. Then a smart passage of play ended with Myles Weston finding space on the right, and his pinpoint cross found the head of substitute Garry Thompson and Wycombe once again had something to hold on to with seven minutes remaining.
But it’s not only the plucky David’s who have bottle; Goliath’s have it. Down to ten men and facing an embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of a side two league’s lower, Spurs fought back with goals from Dele Alli, and a second from Son, seven minutes into injury time to send Wycombe fans home with bleeding hearts.
The Best of the Rest
The holders, Man Utd, is through after coasting to victory over the 2013 winners: Wigan. Not that the outcome was ever in doubt. United had won 17 of their previous 18 meetings. Goals from Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling, Henry Mkhitaryan, and Bastian Schweinsteiger handing Jose Mourinho a comfortable 4-0 win.
United’s EFL Cup Final opponents, Southampton, couldn’t capitalise on the buzz that must have surrounded the club after securing their place in the final, midweek. Claude Puel made too many changes, and Arsenal made him pay big time. Danny Welbeck returned to the side with a brace, and Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 mauling.
The Saints weren’t the only team to make multiple changes in a show of contempt for this once great cup competition. Championship promotion hopefuls Newcastle did the same against League One side Oxford and suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat.
Man City brushed aside woeful Crystal Palace by three goals to nil. A brilliant debut from Jesus the main talk in that match. Premier League leaders Chelsea kept their double hopes alive with a straightforward 4-0 win over Brentford. And Middlesbrough came through a sticky tie with Accrington Stanley thanks to a wonder strike from Stewart Downing.
Burnley continued their strong home form with a win over Championship side Bristol City. Sam Vokes scored his 50th goal for the club before the Belgian Steven Defour scored the goal of the tie with an exquisite lob to finish things off.
Blackburn won the battle of the North West clubs when they beat Blackpool by two goals to nil, Huddersfield spanked Rochdale by 4-0, and Hull manager Marco Silva decided to rest players ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League tie against Man Utd. It was a decision made to safeguard their Premier League status, and they are now free to focus exclusively on that goal after Fulham hammered them at Craven Cottage by 4-1.
FA Cup Round 4 Results
Derby 2 v 2 Leicester
Liverpool 1 v 2 Wolves
Crystal Palace 0 v 3 Man City
Middlesbrough 1 v 0 Accrington Stanley
Oxford 3 v 0 Newcastle
Blackburn 2 v 0 Blackpool
Chelsea 4 v 0 Brentford
Burnley 2 v 0 Bristol City
Spurs 4 v 3 Wycombe
Rochdale 0 v 4 Huddersfield
Lincoln 3 v 1 Brighton
Southampton 0 v 5 Arsenal
Fulham 4 v 1 Hull
Millwall 1 v 0 Watford
Sutton 1 v 0 Leeds
Man Utd 4 v 0 Wigan
FA Cup Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man Utd 9/2
Man City 18/5