A round-up from the Fifth Round of the FA Cup including a Wembley trip for Rochdale and the promise of a Semi-Final lineup containing the superpowers of the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino needs a trophy.
The Spurs players need a trophy.
The Spurs fans deserve a trophy.
And they will never get a better opportunity than the one that stands before them in the FA Cup, but man are they making hard work of it. Spurs made it to the Fifth Round of the grandest cup competition of them all after beating League Two side Newport County via a replay. It was a case of deja vu at Spotland Stadium last night.
Rochdale is currently rock bottom in the English Football League (EFL) League One having won only five games all season, but they are heading to Wembley after a spirited display against one of the in-form teams in Europe.
The BBC commentary team were praising Rochdale for making the half time break on an even keel when Mark Kitching robbed Harry Winks of possession in the middle of the park and began a sweeping move that ended with Ian Henderson scoring his sixth goal in six FA Cup ties.
Spurs were woeful in the first half, but they are a side a blink away from being fully awake, and the slumber ended in the 59th minute when the impressive Lucas Moura started and finished a move that involved an assist from Moussa Sissoko.
No third-tier side had beaten Spurs since 1988, and it seemed Rochdale weren’t going to be the team to break that record when Spurs took the lead with time running out. Only two minutes remained on the clock when Harrison McGahey upended Dele Alli in the box, and Harry Kane put away his 34th goal of the season.
Rochdale hadn’t had a kick in the second half. Doom and gloom filled the stadium. And then hope. The assistant-referee held up the board to show four minutes of injury time, and with two of them played Steve Davies made his way into the box, the ball fell to his feet from a cross that the Spurs defence failed to clear, and he finished with aplomb.
Rochdale was going to Wembley.
The replay takes place Wednesday week, with the winners travelling to Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea who played out a goalless draw on Carlos Carvalho’s return to the club he left before moving to South Wales.
The Best of the Rest
Manchester United will face Brighton in the Quarter Finals in a repeat of the 1983 FA Cup Final after both sides cruised to Fifth Round victories.
The last time United turned up at the Kirklees Stadium with boxing gloves in hand they ended up on the floor – not this time. A bull like performance from Romelu Lukaku saw the Belgian bag a brace as Mourinho hopes of winning a second FA Cup triumph remain intact.
The Seagulls fly to Old Trafford for the Quarter-Finals after beating Coventry at the Amex. Jürgen Locadia scored on his long-awaited debut since joining from PSV in a club record £15m deal. Connor Goldson and Leonardo Ulloa headed goals two and three. Jonson Clarke-Harris scored a well-deserved consolation goal for Coventry.
Riyad Mahrez returned to the King Power after ten days of sulking to set up the winning goal for Jamie Vardy in their Fifth Round tie against EFL Championship Playoff hopefuls Sheffield United. Leicester’s one-nil win nets them a home quarter-final tie against Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s men hammered the 2014 finalists Hull by 4-0, with Willian the star of the show, scoring twice. Olivier Giroud grabbed his first goal for the club, and Pedro also got onto the scoresheet.
Taxi for West Brom!
Alan Pardew’s time at the club is almost over after Southampton dumped the Baggies out of the FA Cup days after his players stole a taxi while on a club break in Barcelona.
The Saints controlled the game and were two up by the 56th minute thanks to Wesley Hoedt’s first for the club and a neat finish from Dusan Tadic. Salomon Rondon scored the goal of the round with a stunning volley on the run in the 58th minute, but the Saints held on for the win and face either Wigan or Man City in a battle for a place in the Semi-Finals.
Results in Full
Leicester 1 v 0 Sheff Utd
Chelsea 4 v 0 Hull
Sheff Wed 0 v 0 Swansea
West Brom 1 v 2 Southampton
Brighton 3 v 1 Coventry
Huddersfield 0 v 2 Man Utd
Rochdale 2 v 2 Spurs
To Be Played (Mon)
Wigan v Man City
Sixth Round Draw
Wigan or Man City v Southampton
Leicester v Chelsea
Man Utd v Brighton
Sheff Wed or Swansea v Rochdale or Spurs
FA Cup Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City 7/4
Man Utd 4/1
Sheff Wed 200/1