Three games, 15 goals; yes, you’ve got to love the old FA Cup. A great night for Swansea City, Rochdale and Huddersfield Town, one to forget certainly for Notts County. Just the one fourth-round tie remains: can Newport County go to Wembley and knock the eight-time winners Tottenham Hotspur out? Join us tomorrow evening on the MBM to find out.
EXTRA TIME, FULL TIME: Birmingham City 1-4 Huddersfield Town
And that’s that! The referee blows his whistle, a fountain of slush jets out of it, and Huddersfield will host Manchester United in the fifth round.
I wonder if this will clear out Huddersfield’s pipes? They’d only scored two goals in their previous five matches. Now they’ve rediscovered their mojo, and in some style, just in time for the visit of Bournemouth at the weekend. They’ve set up a fifth-round tie with 12-time winners Manchester United, but this win could end up having just as much significance in their Premier League survival campaign.
GOAL! Birmingham City 1-4 Huddersfield Town (Ince 106)
Tom Ince, whose speculative shot turned this tie around for Town, gets on the scoresheet by wheeching one into the bottom right.
Meanwhile it’s half time in extra time at St Andrew’s. Huddersfieldreally turned on the gas in the first 15 of the 30 additional minutes. Now a home fifth-round tie against Manchester United is within touching distance.
Notts County stroke it around the back for a bit. Their fans indulge in a little of the old gallows humour, cheering every pass with a roof-rattling olé! Olé! Olé! Olé!
GOAL Birmingham 1-3 Huddersfield Town (van La Parra 97)
Rajiv van La Parra smacks a shot into the bottom right, and all of a sudden this one looks over. Unless Blues have an Espana 82 West Germany-France style comeback in them.
GOAL! Birmingham City 1-2 Huddersfield Town (Mounie 95)
Steve Mounie plants Aaron Mooy’s cross into the net with his head.
FULL TIME: Rochdale 1-0 Millwall
Nope! Ian Henderson’s goal is enough to separate the sides! The struggling League One side have knocked out Millwall of the Championship! Spotland will play host to either Tottenham Hotspur or Newport County in the fifth round.
The Birmingham-Huddersfield tie has ended 1-1 and will go to extra time. Can Millwall force an extra 30 minutes at Rochdale?
Carlos Carvalhal, though, huh? What a job he’s done at Swansea! They were a repressed mess when he turned up just over a month ago. Now look at them! Out of the Premier League relegation zone and running up a cricket score in the cup on national television! He wasn’t wrong when he talked of his team’s rising confidence before the match. This is a quite stunning performance, admittedly against a lower-ranked team who have imploded this evening in sorry fashion.
GOAL! Swansea City 7-1 Notts County (Carroll 65)
Space for Carroll on the edge of the County D. He switches his feet, drops a shoulder, and whips a wonderful curler into the top left. Actually the BBC could be onto something if Swansea hit ten.
Poor BBC One, who will have been hankering after a bit of FA Cup drama. But this was over before the half-hour. At least the Chelsea-Norwich replay in the third round, so dull for so long, climaxed with a comical Antonio Conte fume, a contentious VAR decision, a couple of red cards and some penalty drama. Still, at least this proves to a nation that Swansea have rediscovered their verve, and rather magnificently so, though after the recent wins over Liverpool and Arsenal we knew that already.
GOAL! Swansea City 6-1 Notts County (Routledge 57)
This is now a rout. Dyer threatens to break into the box down the middle. Dickinson comes across to slide the ball away from the striker, a lovely tackle. But it’s just putting off the inevitable. The ball breaks to Routledge, who shimmies down the inside left and curls an unstoppable shot into the bottom right, comfortably out of Collin’s reach.
GOAL! Swansea City 5-1 Notts County (Naughton 53)
It’s not been a good couple of minutes for the goalkeepers’ union. A corner for Swansea is flapped at by Collin. A weak punch lands at the feet of Naughton, who adjusts well and hammers the ball back into the net with some venom.
Stead nicks the ball off van der Hoorn, and bursts into the Swansea area on the left. He’s one on one with Nordfeldt, albeit facing a tight angle. He attempts to curl it round the keeper and into the top right. The shot has no pace, but Nordfeldt still causes panic by parrying the ball into the middle of the area, a thicket of players. Swansea eventually clear, but no thanks to their very shaky reserve keeper.
Everyone’s out and about at the Liberty again. Swansea are on the front foot in the early exchanges of the second half, as you’d expect given their three-goal advantage. Carlos Carvalhal can be forgiven for planning his return to Sheffield Wednesday in the fifth round already.
GOAL! Birmingham City 1-1 Huddersfield Town (Roberts og 60)
It hasn’t taken long for Town to get back into this. Tom Ince pearled a shot from distance. Stockdale parried, but the ball ballooned up in a straight line. When it returned, Marc Roberts tried to hook the ball away from extreme danger but could only help it into the net.
GOAL! Rochdale 1-0 Millwall (Henderson 53)
And like London buses … Ian Henderson bundles home to give the League One strugglers the lead at Spotland, and put the 2004 finalists in a spot of bother. A couple of shocks on the cards here!
GOAL! Birmingham City 1-0 Huddersfield Town (Adams 52)
Oh yes indeed! Che Adams breaks the deadlock at St Andrew’s with a shot from distance that whistles into the bottom left of Jonas Lossl’s net! The 1931 and 1956 finalists lead the 1922 winners!
And that’s the end of the first half at Swansea. Will there be any goals elsewhere, while these two teams, who have served up five goals for a prime-time BBC One audience, enjoy a deserved glass of eggnog and a cigarette?
GOAL! Swansea City 4-1 Notts County (Abraham 45+3)
There have been some fine goals in this game, and this could be the best of the lot. Bartley, deep in his own half down the left, caresses a stunning crossfield ball to the excellent Narsingh on the right. Narsingh races down the flank, looks up, spots Abraham rushing into the area, and delivers a ball that’s begging to be hit. Abraham obliges, skelping a first-time shot across Collin and into the left-hand side of the net!
Routledge is this close from sending Abraham clear down the middle. He’s denied by a superb slide and hook from Duffy. And the ref’s about to blow for half-time, when…
And County come again, Grant pearling a shot goalwards from 12 yards! Nordfeldt parries clear, not in a particularly convincing style it has to be said, but parry clear he does. Despite the scoreline, Swansea look like they need to hear the half-time whistle to rediscover their earlier poise.
Notts County have their tails up again. Grant goes bombing down the middle of the park, and is cynically clipped by Clucas, who is booked for his sauce. The resulting free kick sees Brisley cause all manner of physical bother in the Swansea box. Under intense pressure, Bartley heads back to his keeper. Nordfeldt claims, but that header was really travelling! Bartley jogs back upfield, kidding on he knew exactly what he was doing, but you can tell by his eyes. He’s not kidding anyone. Lucky Swansea.
So it’s been raining goals at the Liberty. Nowhere else, though! The games between Birmingham and Huddersfield, and Rochdale and Millwall, have reached the half-time stage without any scoreboard-bothering action.
GOAL! Swansea City 3-1 Notts County (Husin 35)
What a goal this is! County launch it long. Stead heads down on the edge of the box. Alessandra tees it up for Husin, who opens his body and curls an unstoppable shot into the top left! Nordfeldt had no chance! Though was Brisley, loitering in an offside position, in his eyeline? The ref checks with VAR, and the answer’s no. The goal’s correctly given. Not that there was any real need to consult VAR, but this is reality now.
Corner for Swansea. Van der Hoorn meets it six yards out and heads over. He should have scored. Having said that, seconds before he palmed Duffy to the ground, a rugby-style hand off. Fortunately for the big Swansea defender, it was quite gentle really, so while the ref does his finger-to-lug VAR thing, there’s no retrospective punishment. Still, arms flailing where they shouldn’t be, and all that.
GOAL! Swansea City 3-0 Notts County (Dyer 30)
On BBC1, commentary duo Jonathan Pearce and Martin Keown were discussing the promotion prospects of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa. It was that kind of vibe. So thank goodness for Nathan Dyer, who suddenly shook up the sleepy atmosphere by buzzing down the middle, rolling a pass wide right to Narsingh, and meeting the low return with a first-time sweep across Collin and into the bottom left from 20 yards. That’s another glorious goal.
Notts County have a chance to bounce back with a free kick just outside the Swansea area. They load the box. Dickinson wedges softly into the area. Nordfeldt comes off his line and should claim, but instead punches weakly, and very oddly, straight into the ground. That leads to a bit of pinball in the Swansea box. It’s eventually tidied up, but that’ll give the Magpies a little hope. That was dreadful keeping. Very shaky.
GOAL! Swansea City 2-0 Notts County (Dyer 20)
The Swans really have taken flight! Abraham drops deep to quarterback. He slides a glorious pass down the inside-right channel for Dyer, who zips clear of the County back line. Dyer strides into the area and lashes coolly and calmly into the bottom right! One minute and 24 seconds between the goals, and all that sterile possession really did lull the visitors into a false sense of security! Wow!
GOAL! Swansea City 1-0 Notts County (Abraham 18)
And with that, Swansea suddenly burst into life! It’s so simple, too, but stylishly so. Narsingh instigates a one-two down the right, and he scampers into space. He reaches the byline and whips a low ball towards the near post, where Abraham flicks home with nonchalant ease! Lovely stuff.
Swansea are passing the ball around rather a lot. If Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez are watching on telly somewhere, they’ll surely approve. Mind you, they’re not really going anywhere right now. From left to right and back again, all in the middle of the park. Notts County are holding their shape very well. Collin hasn’t had a truly dangerous situation to deal with yet.
Naughton channels his inner Garrincha, twisting and turning down the right. His eventual cross is way too long, but Swansea recycle the ball, Carroll teeing it up in the centre for Dyer, who smacks low and hard towards the bottom right from distance. That warms Collin’s hands, and on an evening like this the County keeper will surely be grateful.
Notts County launch their first sortie of the evening, Alessandra and Grant exchanging crisp passes down the right. Grant is sent barrelling into acres, but his cross isn’t up to much. A chance to cause a bit of trouble in the Swansea box spurned, there. Still no goals at St Andrew’s or Spotland either. Welcome again to your super soaraway FA Cup Clocko!
Dyer is looking very lively in the early exchanges at Swansea. He romps into an awful lot of space down the right, reaches the byline and hooks into the mixer. Abraham can’t plant his nut on it from six yards, and that’s a corner. Nothing comes of it. But it’s all Swansea at the moment.
No snow in Swansea, incidentally. It’s still freezing cold, though. Dyer has a dribble down the centre of the park, a dangerous burst. But his shot is dreadful and easily swallowed by Collin. Still no goals in the other two matches.
And they’re off at Swansea! The home team are quickly on the attack, Routledge, Abraham and Dyer combining well down the inside-right channel and winning a corner. The set piece is snaffled by Collin, but that’s a bright start by the hosts.
The teams are out at the Liberty! Swansea are dressed in all white, Notts County in neon yellow. It’s a VAR game, so no doubt there’ll be some sort of controversy at some point. Ach. We’ll be off in a second.
Carlos Carvalhal speaks! “We are doing better and better. We are not repeating mistakes. Our dynamic is better. Confidence is more high and players can perform better.”
And so does Kevin Nolan! “We’ve just got to believe. We’re here on merit, we’ve got to enjoy it. I’ve told the lads to go out and express themselves. I’ve given them a gameplan, if they stick to it we’ve got a chance to cause a major upset. We’re pretty relaxed and looking forward to the game.”
No early goals at St Andrew’s or Spotland. But here’s a weather report: it is COLD. Snow coming down in Birmingham. Tumbleweed rolling through this report. We’ll have some hot action from the Liberty coming up soon.
Birmingham City make just one change to the team sent out at Huddersfield in the original tie. Craig Gardner comes in at the expense of Jota. Huddersfield however select seven different players: Jonas Lossl, Tom Smith, Scott Malone, Philip Billing, Aaron Mooy, Tom Ince and Zanka are in; Joel Coleman, Chris Lowe, Florent Hadergjonaj, Michael Hefele, Jonathan Hogg, Rajiv van La Parra and Daniel Williams are out.
Rochdale switch just one player from the starting XI named at Millwall. In comes Harrison McGahey; out goes Donervon Daniels. Millwall make four swaps: in come Conor McLaughlin, James Meredith, Shaun Hutchinson and Shaun Williams, at the expense of Tony Craig, Mahlon Romeo, Jake Cooper and Jed Wallace.
Swansea – who can swat aside the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal but couldn’t do for Notts County at Meadow Lane two Saturdays ago – make four changes to the team sent out for the first tie. Kyle Naughton, Sam Clucas, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer step up; Alfie Mawson, Leroy Fer, Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony stand down. County move aside Elloitt Hewitt and Shola Ameobi to make way for Matty Virtue and Lewis Alessandra.
Tonight’s FA Cup teams!
Birmingham City: Stockdale, Dean, Roberts, Morrison, Jenkinson, Lowe, Gardner, N’Doye, Bramall, Jutkiewicz, Adams.
Subs: Colin, Boga, Dacres-Cogley, Jota, Trueman, Seddon, Lakin.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl, Smith, Kongolo, Jorgensen, Malone, Sabiri, Billing, Mooy, Ince, Quaner, Mounie.
Subs: Whitehead, Scannell, Coleman, Lowe, van La Parra, Hadergjonaj, Hefele.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire).
Rochdale: Lillis, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney, Rafferty, Cannon, Camps, Kitching, Done, Henderson, Andrew.
Subs: Ntlhe, Rathbone, Thompson, Inman, Moore, Adshead, Gillam.
Millwall: Martin, McLaughlin, Hutchinson, Shackell, Meredith, Tunnicliffe, Williams, Thompson, Ferguson, Elliott, Onyedinma.
Subs: Archer, Gregory, Romeo, Wallace, Morison, Saville, Cooper.
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).
Swansea City: Nordfeldt, Naughton, Bartley, van der Hoorn, Roberts, Dyer, Carroll, Clucas, Routledge, Narsingh, Abraham.
Subs: Ki, Olsson, Jordan Ayew, Mulder, Fernandez, Maric, James.
Notts County: Collin, Hunt, Duffy, Brisley, Dickinson, Alessandra, Husin, Virtue, Hawkridge, Grant, Stead.
Subs: Ameobi, Pindroch, Forte, Smith, Noble, Walker, Milsom.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
Welcome to an evening of hot FA Cup fourth-round replay action. The fixtures are as follows …
- Birmingham City v Huddersfield Town (7.45pm)
- Rochdale v Millwall (7.45pm)
- Swansea City v Notts County (8.05pm)
… and there are some big rewards to be claimed by tonight’s victors. The winner at St Andrew’s will host Manchester United in the fifth round. Whoever prevails at Spotland gets the opportunity to welcome Newport County or, most probably, Tottenham Hotspur. And the winner of the tie at the Liberty Stadium will travel to Sheffield Wednesday, which will be quite the big day out for Carlos Carvalhal should the Swans make it.
Much to play for, then. You have got to love the FA Cup. It’s not up for debate! It’s non-negotiable! It’s on!