FA Cup 2015/16 5th Round Review

Blog to be updated as ties are settled

Shrewsbury Town 0 v 3 Manchester United

Premier League Manchester United finally end Shrewsbury Town’s best FA Cup run in 25 years to book a place in the Quarter Finals for the 41st time, matching Arsenal in joint second place in that ranking. That’s eight Quarter Finals now in the 12 years since Man Utd last won the FA Cup.

Chelsea 5 v 1 Manchester City

Chelsea comfortably see off a second string Manchester City to reach the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup for the 34th time. Chelsea halve the deficit against Man City in FA Cup victories, now standing at 2-4, with a first win in the competition over the Citizens in 101 years. City are now clear out on their own in second spot for most FA Cup exits in Fifth Round with eighteen.

Tottenham Hotspur 0 v 1 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace progress to the FA Cup Quarter Finals for the first time in 21 years and now lead Spurs by three-to-two in terms of FA Cup victories. Crystal Palace FA Cup trend is to progress one round further in each of the last four years.

Blackburn Rovers 1 v 5 West Ham United

Despite going behind early on in the match the Premier League club comfortably progressed to the Quarter Finals for the 20th time, whilst Blackburn are knocked out of the competition at the Fifth Round stage for a record 19th time. West Ham now hold a 4-3 win record over Rovers in the FA Cup.

AFC Bournemouth 0 v 2 Everton

The Cherries were made to rue a missed first half penalty in their first appearance in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup in 27 years as Everton went on to win the match with two second half goals. This win puts the Toffees into the Quarter Finals for a record 45th time.

Reading 3 v 1 West Bromwich Albion

Reading came back from a goal behind to beat West Bromwich Albion for the fourth successive time in the FA Cup. Reading were also the last lower league side to knock the Baggies out of the competition, and by the Royals making the Quarter Finals this year it means it is now 10 successive seasons that there has been at least one non-Premier League side in the last eight.

Watford 1 v 0 Leeds United

In this first ever FA Cup meeting between these two sides an unfortunate own goal settled the tie in favour of the more dominant Premier League outfit. It’s Watford’s third 1-0 win in this season’s FA Cup and takes the club into the Quarter Finals for the first time in nine years and for the tenth time in total.

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Leave the FA Cup Alone!

The FA Cup is the single, most important football competition in the world. It is the oldest football competition still contested and the best, and is loved the world over by players and fans alike.

The FA Cup attracts 736 clubs to take part (and this number would be even greater if it were not for FA imposed restrictions) across 10 levels of the English football pyramid from Arlesey Town to Arsenal, from Liversedge to Liverpool and from Mangotsfield United to Manchester United. It has produced thousands, if not millions of unforgettable memories, whether they be unbelievable giant-killing feats, winning the trophy outright or just seeing your name in an FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round programme.

It doesn’t have the same financial reward as Premier League and Champions League competitions do, but what it lacks in monetary return it more than makes up for in individual reward. Ask anyone who has ever played football one question. An FA Cup winner’s medal or a chance to play in the Champions League? The answer is FA Cup medal almost every time. Ask fans, even fans of Premier League clubs. Would you prefer an FA Cup run to a top four finish in your League? And the answer? Well, you already know it.

And yet there are some who would like to see the FA Cup marginalised even more than it is already. The FA Cup Final used to be the showpiece end of season event. That was played around with, but at least that has since been restored, although the traditional kick-off time has been replaced by a more income generating 5.30pm kick-off. And the reason? Money. Yes, it comes as no surprise that decisions to marginalise the FA Cup are all made based upon wealth generation and nothing to do with what is best for football. Wealth for the diminishing number of already wealthy clubs. Wealth for the already money-grabbing media. Wealth for the not-interested in football owners. And sod all to the rest.

Now those self-same ‘money first, football nowhere’ individuals and organisations want to diminish the FA Cup’s standing even further. There’s too many fixtures, they cry. Let’s do away with FA Cup replays, they demand. Let’s play FA Cup matches during the week and leave the weekend free for when the global viewing figures are at their peak. It’s funny how none of these leeches are asking for the Champions League to be re-organised, a major contributor to fixture congestion guaranteeing as it does six games to be played as a minimum for all participants. The FA Cup, by contrast, usually only involves six games as a maximum if you win the Trophy, replays aside.

Of course the Champions League is where the money’s at so no-one is going to try to marginalise that. Any proposals that might be put forward for that competition would be to increase the number of fixtures and make it an exclusive competition for the elite few. More fixtures, more television rights, more money. The formula is simple.

However, the Champions League is for the small minority, and if anything in football can be changed for the better it’s going to take the silent majority to do something about it. Recent mass fan action in response to hefty ticket price proposals forced Liverpool FC to make a U-turn (even though, like all other money grabbing clubs, they’d been getting away with price hikes and fleecing their fans for years), and a similar mass action by football fans (and players) nationwide may be needed to prevent the FA from kowtowing to these profit maximising accountants and keeping the FA Cup as it is.

I urge all fans of Premier League clubs to petition their club’s board members to go to FA Cup matches played in August through to December. Talk with their counterparts at those clubs, speak with the thousands of volunteers who keep these clubs going, converse with the players and fans involved in these games, and find out what the FA Cup means to them. Yes, finance will be central to their response, but finance to stay afloat, finance to repair the clubhouse, finance to fund away travel, not finance so that their player’s Bentley can be upgraded to the latest model. But financial benefits aside, there will be something else that will be evident from spending time speaking with those involved in these clubs, and that is passion and pride by the bucket-load.

For a non-league or lower league club player, to even just participate in the FA Cup is something to tell the grandchildren. To win a Cup game or score the winner in an FA Cup tie, this is what dreams are made of. For fans, beating local rivals, hosting (and beating) a so-called giant, winning against the odds with a last-minute screamer, these are the sort of things that make their hearts swell. They’re never going to see their club’s name etched on the famous trophy, but FA Cup glory takes many shapes and sizes.

For the money men of Premier League clubs, it would do them the world of good to be exposed to the emotion of that lower level FA Cup experience, and maybe then when future decisions about the game are made, it will be for the benefit of football in general and not just benefit of their wallets. Maybe then they will realise that by promoting the FA Cup, rather than marginalising it, that that is the right way forward.

So I have one message to the FA, to the media and to the richest clubs in the country -leave the FA Cup alone!

Club Focused FA Cup Specials

No. 1 Matlock Town and their run to FA Cup Third Round in 1977

Nineteen seventy-seven was a memorable year for the whole nation. Anyone who was alive at the time can remember with fondness the wonderful celebrations and street parties that took place for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The nation also came together on a sporting front to support Virginia Wade as she became what was to become the last British women’s champion to date of Wimbledon. But in one Derbyshire town, 1977 was a made a memorable year for a third, and more special reason, as the local football club Matlock Town made it all the way to the Third Round of the FA Cup for the first and only time in its history.

The Gladiators were formed in 1878 and played simply as Matlock up until the First World War. The club entered the FA Cup in 1885-86 season, one of 22 teams to enter the competition for the first time in that season. In those pre-Football League days of the competition there were no Qualifying Rounds and for three successive seasons, the club appeared in and were knocked out in the First Round losing 7-0 to Stafford Road Works (Wolverhampton) in their inaugural FA Cup match, followed by a 6-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a 3-2 home defeat to Rotherham Town in the next two seasons.

Once the Football League began in 1888, clubs like Matlock had to participate in Qualifying Rounds, as would eventually become the case for all Non-League sides over time. It wasn’t until the 1890-91 season that the club finally registered their first FA Cup victory, a 1-0 home win over Derby St Luke’s, and it would be another 69 years before they appeared in the First Round once again. In that 1959-60 season the club was playing in the Central Alliance Division One North and lost 1-0 in a replay to Crook Town from the Northern League.

By the 1974 season though, Matlock Town were a regular Northern Premier League club. In those days this league was one step below the Football League, although promotion into the exclusive club was nigh on impossible in the days before automatic promotion and relegation, with the 92 members of the Football League almost acting like a closed shop. In that 1974-75 season The Gladiators made it to the First Round once again where they faced a League club for the first time ever in the shape of Division Three side Blackburn Rovers, but went down 4-1 at home. They made the First Round once again the following season but succumbed to fellow Northern Premier League side Wigan Athletic by the same 4-1 scoreline. But things were to be oh so different the next season, a season full of FA Cup firsts for the club.

In the Fourth Qualifying Round of the 1976-77 FA Cup competition, Matlock Town was drawn away to Telford United, a Southern League Premier club, playing at a level purportedly on a par with the Northern Premier League, but who had entered the competition three rounds earlier scoring nine goals in their three victories. However, Matlock had no trouble overcoming The Bucks running out 5-2 winners and making the First Round of the FA Cup for the third successive season, a feat not achieved since those first three seasons in the late nineteenth century. But this time things were to be very different.

Matlock was drawn at home to their previous year’s conquerors, Wigan Athletic, just two seasons before their opponents were to become a Football League side. However, The Gladiators were able to exact revenge for that defeat with Tom and Nick Fenoughty scoring a goal apiece to give Matlock a 2-0 victory and take the club into the Second Round of the competition for the first time ever. The draw for that Second Round sent the club to Third Division Mansfield Town, a club with no particular FA Cup pedigree, but one that had been a Football League club for over forty years, one who had made the Fifth Round of the competition just two seasons previously (and the Quarter Finals six years before that), and one who were not only plying their trade two divisions above Matlock, but were leading that Division at the time.

Matlock Town made a mockery of the difference in League status to run out 5-2 winners, thanks in part to another Nick Fenoughty double, to record the club’s first ever victory over Football League opposition and to take the club into the promised land of the FA Cup Third Round for the first time in their history, with the potential opportunity to face a top flight club. As it happens the draw didn’t throw up a romantic trip to a Division One side, but instead sent The Gladiators to Division Two club Carlisle United, a club on the wane from their own brief historical run to the top of Division One and an FA Cup Quarter Final just two years earlier. This time it was not to be for Matlock as Colin Oxley scored their only goal in a 5-1 defeat.

Another 13 seasons would pass before Matlock Town would make their final appearance to date in the FA Cup First Round, another 4-1 defeat to Division Four side Scunthorpe United. But that 1976-77 FA Cup run and solitary Third Round should be fondly remembered by all those associated with the club, rightly able to feel proud of that achievement in the knowledge that over 2,800 other clubs who have entered this illustrious competition over the years have never ventured that far in their own histories.

This article has been re-produced on the Matlock Town official website – http://www.matlocktownfc.co.uk/history-boys-matlock-town-and-their-run-to-fa-cup-third-round-in-1977/

If you’d like a similar stat packed report on your club’s greatest ever FA Cup run then do get in touch

Grounds for Complaint

There is definitely a culture of complaining in the world of football. Tickets are too expensive. Inconsiderate match scheduling. FIFA corruption. Bad refereeing decisions. Awful punditry. Unnecessarily replacing managers. Not scoring enough goals. Not attacking enough. The list goes on and on. Whatever happens in football, somebody is going to complain about it.

I’m not immune to voicing my own opinion and complaining about things with which I don’t agree. The media choices of which live FA Cup matches to show being a very prominent bugbear of mine, especially when ties between two Premier League sides are chosen ahead of what many would consider to be more in keeping with the romance of the competition.

But two recent high profile complaints by fans of Premier League clubs have caused me to complain about their complaining. First up are Liverpool fans, vociferously annoyed about the latest ticket prices for their new improved stand. On the surface they have a lot of justification for complaining as £77 to watch one football match smacks of profiteering by the club. Liverpool FC have been at pains to show that this is only for a small number of seats at a small number of games and that there have been far many more reduced prices in their latest round of match pricing. Regardless of the merits of the club’s decision, £77 is taking the Michael. Liverpool fans are threatening to walk out at the next home match in the 77th minute in protest of this new price hike.

But let’s take a closer look at this, shall we? The price for the same seat currently stands at £59. I would argue that that in itself is an extortionate amount to pay for one match. It’s possible to get whole season tickets at many non-league clubs for that amount of outlay. But pay it the Liverpool fans do. I haven’t seen fans leaving en masse in the 59th minute to complain about that price. If £59 doesn’t stop you from going to a match then £77 won’t either. My joke about Liverpool FC countering the proposed fan walk out by raising the price to £100 so they could see the whole match is probably too close to reflecting the disdain the club (like so many others) has of their fan base, or customers as the club is prone to call them.

If you don’t like the prices being charged by clubs, then the only protest of meaning is to not buy the ticket. But therein lies the problem, because seemingly there is always going to be someone who will buy the ticket at any price, and the clubs know this to be true. So fans have to literally pay the price to continue watching their team or metaphorically have to pay the price by not going to watch the team they love (and knowing someone else has taken their seat).

I faced this same dilemma many years ago and took the decision to stop being fleeced by my team and started to go and watch affordable football lower down the football pyramid. I still passionately want my team to be successful, but my experience of football has improved exponentially since making the switch. Going to watch football at lower league levels is akin to what it must have been like going to watch football in the past, although crowd sizes are considerably smaller now. You can have an affinity with the players, managers and volunteers in a way you could never have with those at Premier League clubs.

The second set of Premier League fans to complain about an apparent injustice are those of Manchester City. They have taken umbrage against the decision to schedule their FA Cup match against Chelsea at 4.0pm on a Sunday just three days before they are due to compete in a Champions League match in Kiev. Again, on the surface I have a lot of empathy with this complaint as TV FA Cup selections have traditionally ridden roughshod over both the fans’ interests and the competition’s history for years now. But the irony of Manchester City fans complaints is completely lost on them.

Manchester City is a fabulous football club, like so many others with a wonderful history full of successful highs and miserable lows. However, the current incarnation of the club, again like so many others in the Premier League, is one based upon a significant injection of money. Without that money it could be argued that the club would not even be competing in the Champions League. You don’t hear many Manchester City fans complaining about how decisions based upon money have helped them be competitive with the elite, so why should they feel it okay to complain about decisions based upon money that disadvantages them. Make no mistake, the decision to show Chelsea versus Manchester City live on TV is one borne out of maximising revenue only and nothing to do with football or football fans at all.

The horse bolted years ago for fans of Premier League clubs to be able to complain about TV scheduling. No matter what the TV companies do in terms of kick-off times there seems to be little, if any, impact on attendance, particularly for clubs that regularly compete in the Champions League. The TV kick-off times are not deliberately designed to cheese off football fans, but the decisions about those times does not take into consideration the impact that they will have on fans (or the clubs). The decision is based purely and simply on what will maximise viewers, not viewers in the UK mind, but those fans of Premier League sides across the world. And by maximising the worldwide opportunity, the TV company maximises its revenues.

So, like all decisions made in the world of football since 1992, the 4.0pm Sunday kick-off time decision has been made based upon maximising revenue first and foremost. Consideration of the impact on football is nowhere (although there’ll be many people out there trying to justify that some money generating decisions have been made in the best interests of football), and consideration for the ticket-paying fans, if it were possible, is even lower down the decision making hierarchy. If you’ve not complained before now (and actively done something about it like not paying for extortionate tickets) then, I’m afraid, you’ve no grounds to complain about it now.

Haven’t We Met Before?

With Arsenal being drawn against Hull City in the Fifth Round of this season’s FA Cup it will be the third successive year that the two clubs will have met in the competition, most notably in 2013/14 in the FA Cup Final when Arsenal came back from two down to win 3-2 in extra time. Arsenal also beat Hull last year in the Third Round on their way to retaining the trophy, and now will be hoping that there is a connection between beating Hull and going on to win the FA Cup for a record equalling third successive year, too.

As a consequence of this draw, there has been interest in knowing what the most common repeated FA Cup fixture might be, finding out which two teams have faced other the most in the FA Cup in successive years. Meeting in three consecutive seasons isn’t as unusual as one might imagine, particularly in the Preliminary and Qualifying Rounds which have traditionally been regionalised meaning that the better clubs in each region invariably will come face to face as one or other of them progresses to a round with where there is a national draw.

The most common fixture in FA Cup history is Chippenham Town versus Trowbridge Town. These two clubs have been drawn to face each other on 20 different occasions resulting in a total of 26 FA Cup matches. In the midst of those 26 meetings, the two clubs faced each other in five successive seasons from 1960/61 to 1964/65.

Another match-up that happened in five successive seasons is that between Cambridge Town and King’s Lynn. The two clubs had already met each other in three consecutive seasons from 1929/30 to 1931/32, and for four successive years from 1934/35 to 1937/38, before having to face each other in each of the first five seasons following the Second World War.

Welsh clubs Barry and Lovell’s Athletic were drawn to play each other in six consecutive seasons not once, but twice. The two sides met each other 15 times in total in those twelve years which happened across two separate six year periods. The first run covered 1926/27 to 1931/32, the second from 1934/35 to 1945/46 by which time Barry had added the word ‘Town’ to their name.

However, the most consecutive seasons that two teams have been drawn to face each other in the FA Cup is NINE. That honour belongs to Kettering Town and Peterborough United whose face-to-face run began in the 1936/37 season with a 2-0 win to Peterborough. Kettering won 1-0 in a replay the following year and Peterborough won 2-1 in 1938/39. Football was interrupted by World War II, but when the competition resumed the two clubs were drawn to meet again in 1945/46, this time with Kettering winning by two goals to one. The following four years saw the two clubs battle it out again and again with Peterborough triumphant every time. The ninth and final meeting in this sequence was in 1950/51 when Kettering won 2-1 after a two-two draw.

Of course, all of the aforementioned sequences happened in the Preliminary and Qualifying Rounds while Arsenal and Hull City are meeting for the third successive time in what are called the ‘Proper’ Rounds. So is three the record number for repeated match-ups in ‘Proper’ Rounds, then? Well, three consecutive meetings isn’t even the most for Arsenal themselves. In the first four seasons of the 21st Century Arsenal came face-to-face with Chelsea, being triumphant every time including, most notably, 2-0 in the 2002 Final itself. Other match-ups to happen in four successive seasons between current League clubs includes Leicester City versus Manchester City (1965/66 to 1968/69) and Luton Town versus Queen’s Park Rangers, although their four meetings all happened in the later Qualifying Rounds between 1899/1900 and 1902/03.

Other clubs facing each other in four successive seasons are Basingstoke Town v Fareham Town (1963-66), Great Yarmouth Town v Lowestoft Town (1948-51), Maidstone United v Sittingbourne (1901-04), Ashington v North Shields (1955-58), Bideford v Falmouth Town (1967-70), Harwich and Parkeston v Lowestoft Town (1963-66), Devizes Town v Trowbridge Town (1961-64), Slough v Wycombe Wanderers (1920-23), King’s Lynn v Norwich CEYMS (1905-08), Desborough Town v Kettering Town (1909-12), Barry Town v Gloucester City (1954-57) and the earliest instance of four on the trot between Grimsby Town and Lincoln City from 1892/93 to 1895/96.

If you are aware of any consecutively repeated fixture in the FA Cup that should be added to this list then please do let me know.

FA Cup 2015/16 Fifth Round Preview

1. Chelsea (Premier League) v Manchester City (Premier League)

This is the sixth time the two clubs have been drawn together in the FA Cup. Chelsea won their first clash, a Third Round tie in 1914-15, but City has won each of the other four including two seasons on the trot in 2013 and 2014. This is the 49th time Chelsea will appear in the Fifth Round, the third highest number of times. They also have the third highest number of exits at this round of 16, although Manchester City have been knocked out in this round a total of 17 times.

2. Reading (Championship) v West Bromwich Albion (Premier League)

This is the fifth time these two sides have been drawn against each other in FA Cup history and it is Reading who have the upper hand with a three-to-one win record in the previous four meetings. The last win in the Third Round in 2011 was the last time The Baggies were knocked out of the FA Cup by a club from a lower level.

3. Watford (Premier League) v Leeds United (Championship)

This is the first ever FA Cup meeting between the two clubs. Watford has reached the Fifth Round for the first time in seven years, but have twice been Semi-Finalists since the turn of the Century. Leeds United has reached this stage for only the second time during the same period.

4. Shrewsbury Town (League One) v Manchester United (Premier League)

Shrewsbury Town is the lowest placed club still in this year’s competition and will face Manchester United for the first time ever. The club is in the Fifth Round for the first time in 25 years and is just one win away from equalling its best ever Cup run, last achieved in 1982. Whilst Manchester United has not won the Cup since 2004, the club has been beyond the Fifth Round seven times in the past 11 competitions.

5. Blackburn Rovers (Championship) v West Ham United (Premier League)

This is the seventh time Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United have been drawn together in the FA Cup, with both sides progressing at the expense of the other three times each. Four of the previous six meetings were only settled after a replay, with the Fifth Round tie in 1998 seeing The Hammers go through on penalties. Blackburn has reached the Quarter Finals twice in the last three seasons whilst West Ham hasn’t gone beyond the Fifth Round in five years.

6. Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) v Crystal Palace (Premier League)

This is the fifth occasion this particular London derby will occur in the FA Cup with both clubs having been victorious twice each in previous encounters. Palace won the first two meeting, Spurs the latter two. In all FA Cup matches between the two sides at least one of them has failed to score (there was one 0-0 draw, too). Palace is trending to reach the Quarter Finals as the club’s last three FA Cup exits have been Third Round, Fourth Round and Fifth Round successively. Tottenham has made the Fifth Round for the first time in four seasons.

7. Arsenal (Premier League) v Hull City (Championship)

These two clubs will meet in the FA Cup for the third successive season with Arsenal coming out on top on the previous two occasions, most notably in the Cup Final two years ago. Overall the clubs have met five times in the competition with Hull City’s only victory coming way back in the 1907/08 season, a 4-1 win after a goalless draw when their opponents were still known as Woolwich Arsenal. The Gunners are on a mission to win the Cup for the third successive season, a feat that has not been achieved for 130 years when Blackburn Rovers won their third consecutive title. Arsenal also hold the record for reaching the Fifth Round the most, this season being the club’s 55th appearance at this stage in the competition.

8. AFC Bournemouth (Premier League) v Everton (Premier League)

Just one previous FA Cup meeting for these two clubs, a 5-0 Third Round victory for Everton in the 1936/37 season when the Cherries were a Third Division South side still playing under the name Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic. This is the 53rd time Everton has made it to the Fifth Round whilst Bournemouth is at this stage of the competition for the first time since 1989. The Cherries are just one win away from equalling their best ever Cup run, last achieved 59 years ago.

FA Cup 2015/16 Fourth Round Review

Derby County 1 v 3 Manchester United

A seventh successive FA Cup triumph for Manchester United over Derby County in the FA Cup, as you have to go back to when the Red Devils were known as Newton Heath for the last time the Rams won this Cup fixture.

Colchester United 1 v 4 Tottenham Hotspur

The first ever meeting in the FA Cup between these two clubs goes the way of the Premier League side, but it is Colchester’s best Cup run for 10 years.

Aston Villa 0 v 4 Manchester City

For the second successive season Villa’s Cup run comes to an end by being on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline. It’s the seventh time in nine Cup meetings between the two sides that Manchester City has come out on top.

Bolton Wanderers 1 v 2 Leeds United

This is the third successive win for Leeds United over Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup and bow gives them a three game to two lead. Bolton are eliminated from the competition in the Fourth Round for the fourth successive season.

Arsenal 2 v 1 Burnley

The march to a third successive FA Cup win is still on, although the Championship side made the Gunners work for it. Arsenal are in to the 5th Round for the sixth successive season after beating their opponents for the sixth successive time in the FA Cup. Like Derby, Burnley last beat Arsenal in the Cup when they were still using a former name, Woolwich Arsenal.

Bury 1 v 3 Hull City

It’s taken 102 years but Hull City have finally avenged their FA Cup defeat to Bury just before the First World War. Reaching the Fourth Round was the best Cup run for the Shakers in eight years.

Nottingham Forest 0 v 1 Watford

This victory means that Watford now have a two-one lead over Nottingham Forest in FA Cup encounters and takes the Hornets into the Fifth Round for the first time in seven years.

Oxford United 0 v 3 Blackburn Rovers

Another upset was not to be, but Oxford United have had their best FA Cup run this Century, last reaching the Fourth Round in 1999.

Portsmouth 1 v 2 AFC Bournemouth

This victory for AFC Bournemouth not only avenges the defeat of their only previous FA Cup meeting with Portsmouth, but also takes the Cherries into the Fifth Round for the first time since 1989. Portsmouth had their best Cup run since reaching the final in 2010.

Shrewsbury Town 3 v 2 Sheffield Wednesday

The only upset of the Fourth Round so far as Shrewsbury Town twice came from behind to knock out their second successive Championship side and reach the Fifth Round for the first time in 25 years.

Crystal Palace 1 v 0 Stoke City

Palace finally beat Stoke City in the FA Cup at the third time of asking. The Eagles have been eliminated in the competition over the last three years in Round Three (2013), Round Four (2014) and Round Five (2015), so are they heading for the Quarter Finals this season?

Reading 4 v 0 Walsall

Reading now hold a two-one lead over Walsall in head-to-head FA Cup meetings and prevented the Saddlers from at least equalling their best ever Cup run in the process. However, it was the first time they had reached the Fourth Round in 10 years.

Carlisle United 0 v 3 Everton

Everton progress to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup for the 53rd time, second only to Arsenal on 55, as Carlisle United can console themselves with achieving their best FA Cup run for 19 years.

Milton Keynes Dons 1 v 5 Chelsea

Chelsea cruise into the 5th Round for the 49th time in their history whilst MK Dons have to settle for making the Fourth Round for only the second time in theirs.

West Ham United 2 v 1 Liverpool (A.e.t.) – following 0-0 draw

West Ham finally overcome Liverpool in the FA Cup at the sixth attempt and lay to rest the ghost of the FA Cup Final from 10 years ago. Liverpool are knocked out in the 4th Round of the Cup for the first time in three years.

Peterborough United 1 v 1 West Bromwich Albion (WBA won 4-3 on penalties) – following 2-2 draw

Peterborough United fail to make the Fifth Round for the first time in 30 years in the cruellest of fashions, but have equalled their best Cup run in eight years. That penalties win makes it three FA Cup wins out of three for The Baggies over The Posh.