Saturday, 6 February 2016

FA Cup Fourth Round Review

After a number of 'cupsets' in the third round, the fourth round draw created the potential for a few more as eight top flight sides faced lower division opponents across a three day weekend.

Friday night saw Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County host top flight Manchester United at the iPro Stadium with the Rams hoping to stage an upset. However, the visitors put a dent in the hosts' hope as they took the lead on 16 minutes through Wayne Rooney but it was all square on 37 minutes as George Thorne made it 1-1 ahead of the interval. United regained the lead through Daley Blind on 65 minutes before sealing a 3-1 win and a place in the fifth round with Juan Mata's 83rd minute effort.

Saturday's early game saw League One side Colchester United hosting top flight Tottenham Hotspur with the hosts hoping to secure a huge 'cupset' that would boost their struggling season so far. They remained level until the 27th minute when Nacer Chadli fired Spurs ahead and the hosts did well to keep the score to just 1-0 long into the second half. However, two goals in 14 minutes put the visitors in complete control with Eric Dier (64) doubling the lead before Chadli's second made it 3-0 on 78 minutes. Colchester claimed a consolation just two minutes later but it came via an own goal from Ben Davies but the goal spree was to be completed a further two minutes later as Tom Carroll sealed a 4-1 win.

Holders Arsenal played host to Championship side Burnley looking to continue their pursuit retaining the trophy for a third season while the Clarets hoped to end the Gunners' streak. A superb opener from Callum Chambers set the Gunners on their way on 19 minutes only for the visitors to draw level through Sam Vokes on the half hour mark for 1-1. The tie was sealed just eight minutes after the restart as fit-again Alexis Sanchez fired in for 2-1.

In a battle between two tof flight sides at opposite ends of the table, Aston Villa hosted Manchester City with Villa looking to take away the focus from the league while City looked for back-to-back cup wins having sealed a League Cup final spot. Villa's afternoon turned bad inside the first four minutes as Kelechi Ihenacho made it 1-0 to City before he added a second from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute. Villa's only real positive from the game so far was that they kept City out for the next 50 minutes until Ihenacho completed his hat-trick on 74 minutes before Raheem Sterling completed a 4-0 rout just two minutes later.

A Championship face-off saw Bolton Wanderers host Leeds United at the Macron Stadium with both sides eager to extend their cup run to take the the focus of struggling league campaigns. The visitors struck an early opener as Souleymane Doukara made it 1-0 in the eight minute before Toumani Diagouraga doubled the lead on 39 minutes. Bolton struck back late in the second with Darren Pratley's 80th minute strike but it proved to be just a consolation as Leeds reached the next round with a 2-1 win.

League One side Bury played host to Championship side Hull looking to stage a shock against the 2013 runners-up who had there eyes on a potential repeat of their famous run to Wembley. Chuba Akpom put the Tigers ahead in the 14th minute and he doubled the lead in the 57th minute via the penalty spot to leave the hosts with a huge task to avoid defeat but their chase was made even harder as Akpom completed his hat-trick on 69 minutes for 3-0. Bury claimed a consolation via Craig Jones' 86th minute effort for 3-1.

An all-top flight battle took place at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace hosted Stoke City with both looking to extend their cup run after mixed league seasons so far. The tie proved to be a close one with just one goal separating the sides as Wilfred Zaha struck a 19th minute winner to seal a 1-0 success.

Championship side Nottingham Forest hosted top flight Watford hoping to claim a scalp against a side going well in the Premier League. The hosts did well to keep the tie goalless not only into half-time but as the end of the 90 minutes neared, a replay looked on the cards. However, the Hornets had other ideas as Odion Ighalo continued his superb scoring streak with late winner in the 89th minute.

League two side Oxford United hosted Blackburn Rovers hoping to secure back-to-back giant killings after dumping out Swansea City in round three. However, Blackburn took control in the first half with two goals in the final nine minutes of the half as Ben Marshall slotted in a 36th minute penalty before Tony Watt made it 2-0 just before the break. Oxford's hopes of a comeback were dashed midway through the second half as Marshall hit his second to complete a 3-0 win in the 76th minute.

League Two side Portsmouth hosted top flight Bournemouth looking to extend their cup run one step further with a giant killing that would edge them closer to adding to the memories of two finals in the 2000's. However, the Premier League side had other ideas as they sealed a 2-0 win but their place in the next round was not clear as the sides remained at 0-0 long past the hour mark. Josh King put the Cherries ahead in the 71st minute before Marc Pugh confirmed the win seven minutes from the end.

Championship side Reading hosted League One high-fliers Walsall with the Saddlers looking to claim a scalp over their higher placed hosts. The hopes of a 'cupset' were dented late in the first half as Hal Robson-Kanu made it 1-0 in the 37th minute before a Matej Vydra strike on 40 minutes gave the Royals a 2-0 advantage.

Walsall remained in the hunt despite the deficit but were cut adrift on the scoreboard by two goals in the final 15 minutes as Daniel Williams made it 3-0 on 75 minutes before a second from Vydra completed a 4-0 rout.

League One side Shrewsbury Town hosted Sheffield Wednesday hoping to secure back-to-back upsets after dispatching Cardiff City in round three.  Lewis McGugan put the Owls ahead with a 19th minute opener before a leveller from Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro came in the 57th minute. McGugan regained the lead for the visitors on 76 minutes before a late show from the Shrews sealed a famous 3-2 triumph as Shaun Whalley levelled on 87 minutes before an added time winner came from Jack Grimmer.

Top flight West Bromwich Albion hosted League One side Peterborough United at the Hawthorns wary of a potential upset but with hopes of extending their run in the competition. The Baggies struck first with an opener from Saido Berahino in the 14th minute and had to settle for just a single goal lead deep into the second half until Shaquile Coulthirst levelled on 79 minutes. Berahino struck his second goal on 84 minutes to make it 2-1 but the visitors forced a replay just two minutes later as Jon Taylor made it 2-2 and put them into the bag for the fifth round draw.

Saturday's evening game saw a top flight battle between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield with both sides meeting in the competition for the first time since the famous 2006 final. Both managers fielded weakened sides due to the league resuming in midweek but the fringe players brought in did well as they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw.

Sunday saw a double header of lower league sides hosting top flight sides starting with League Two side Carlisle United hosting Everton in the first game at Brunton Park since the December flood which drowned the stadium under 12ft of water. The Toffees wasted no time in taking control with two goals in the opening 14 minutes with a second minute strike from Arouna Kone added to on 14 minutes by Aaron Lennon's effort.  The tie was wrapped up just after the hour mark as Ross Barkley made it 3-0 in the 65th minute.

The final tie of the weekend saw Championship side Milton Keynes Dons host Chelsea hoping to take advantage of the Blues mixed season so far. The Blues opened the scoring with a strike from Oscar on 15 minutes before a leveller for the hosts came just six minutes later from Darren Potter for 1-1. Chelsea regained the lead with a second from Oscar on 32 minutes before he completed a first half hat-trick in the 44th minute for 3-1. Eden Hazard added a penalty on 55 minutes before Bertrand Traore completed a 5-1 rout in the 62nd minute.