Wednesday 21 March 2018

Fulham see off brave Stanley

Fulham booked their place in the fifth round after overcoming a spirited Accrington Stanley side 3-1 that was reduced to 10 men in the first half.

Having enjoyed the better of the opening stages in front of their home fans at the Crown Ground, Stanley fell behind in the 21st minute when Erik Nevland fired in from close range.

The League Two side equalised within four minutes as top-scorer Michael Symes tucked away his 14th goal of the season, but they suffered a setback in the 41st minute when Darran Kempson was sent off after bringing down Zoltan Gera. Second-half strikes from Damien Duff and Gera sealed victory for Fulham as the Cottagers made the most of their man advantage.

Stanley, the lowest-ranked side remaining in the competition, knew a giant-killing would earn them a place in the fifth round for the first time in their history, but it wasn't to be.

Zubar denies Palace coup

Ronald Zubar's sublime 84th-minute volley spared Wolves' blushes as they twice came from behind to take a spirited Crystal Palace side to a fourth-round replay. The right-back displayed the poise and precision of a world-class striker to smash home a late leveller and salvage a draw for the below-par hosts.

Darren Ambrose's free-kick at the start of the second half had looked to be enough for the Championship outfit, who are 11 places below Wolves in the football pyramid.

Alan Lee had earlier handed the Eagles a dream start after just two minutes when he headed home Amb-rose's corner but David Jones ensured the scores were level at the break.

Overall the result was a fair reflection of a stop-start tie but Neil Warnock will feel his side should have progressed.

Pompey keep up Cup dreams

Cash-strapped Portsmouth kept their dreams of a financially-lucrative return to Wembley alive after defeating Steve Bruce's Black Cats 2-1 to book a spot in the fifth round.

A brilliant brace from Nigerian forward John Utaka cancelled out Darren Bent's early strike to give Pompey's suffering fans a reason to be cheerful after a torrid week off the pitch.

A late Sunderland rally was not enough to pull the result back and Portsmouth progress to the next round but their supporters will no doubt return to protest outside Fratton Park over the club's financial problems.

Coyle gets first Bolton victory

BOLTON manager Owen Coyle was pleased to get his first win in charge of Bolton after his side defeated Sheffield United 2-0 in their fourth-round tie at the Reebok Stadium.

After an ordinary first half, defender Gretar Steinsson opened the scoring in the 48th minute from a narrow angle and substitute Johan Elmander added the second from a similar position late on.

"When you start any job you want to hit the ground running and get a win as early as you can and it was nice to get it today," said Coyle, who swapped Burnley for Bolton a fortnight ago.

Watson saves Wigan blushes

A late goal from Ben Watson denied Notts Country a famous win over Premier League side Wigan and forced a 2-2 draw.

The League Two side, who have been hit by financial problems throughout the season, went ahead thanks to Lee Hughes' 20th goal of the season.

Ben Davies' stunning free-kick doubled County's advantage before Jason Scotland pulled one back for Roberto Martinez's side. County could not hold off a late Wigan onslaught though, and the Premier League side drew level through Watson's cool finish with seven minutes remaining.

Sunday Independent

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