Monday 23 January 2017

Clark saves Villa's blushes as late goals break Wycombe hearts

FA cup replay round-up

Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30

Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston Villa
Photo: John Sibley / Action Images via Reuters
Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston Villa Photo: John Sibley / Action Images via Reuters

Late goals from Ciaran Clark and Idrissa Gana spared Aston Villa's blushes for a second time as the Premier League strugglers overcame Wycombe 2-0 in their FA Cup third-round replay.

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Villa Park was the scene of Wycombe's semi-final appearance in 2001. Wanderers were heroic in defeat to Liverpool that day and it was a similar story on last night.

The League Two promotion hopefuls had more than held their own against a much-changed, but still strong, Villa team and created the better chances before Clark headed home Ashley Westwood's cross with 15 minutes remaining.

Substitute Gana sealed a fourth-round home tie against Manchester City at the end of the month with a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to extend Remi Garde's unbeaten run in all competitions to four games.

Salomon Rondon's first FA Cup goal saw West Brom past Bristol City in their third round replay at Ashton Gate.

Rondon settled the tie 1-0 in Albion's favour with only his fourth goal for the Baggies since completing a £12m move from Zenit St Petersburg last August.

The Venezuelan had not scored since the end of October, but he lived up to his hefty price tag with a delightful 52nd-minute finish after stealing between City defenders Aden Flint and Derrick Williams to control Craig Dawson's cross.

Tony Pulis' Premier League side were well worth the victory and might feel a decent cup run is on the agenda with League One Peterborough their fourth-round visitors to The Hawthorns.

City had changed manager since the first game with John Pemberton in caretaker charge following the dismissal of Steve Cotterill, but the Robins rarely threatened until a few risks were taken in the final quarter.

MK Dons deservedly claimed the prize of a home FA Cup fourth round tie against Chelsea after inflicting a 3-0 replay defeat on neighbours Northampton.

Ben Reeves opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Josh Murphy doubled the lead and Simon Church hit a late penalty.

There was also joy for Portsmouth, now playing in the fourth tier but FA Cup winners as recently as 2008, who saw off Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town 2-1 at Fratton Park.

They now face south coast rivals Bournemouth.

Non-league Eastleigh's FA Cup journey ended in a valiant 3-2 loss at Bolton as captain Darren Pratley's second-half winner eliminated a club 53 places below Wanderers in the football pyramid. Bolton now face Leeds.

Irish Independent

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