Saturday 23 March 2019

FA Cup round-up: Brighton too good for Derby as Wallace header sends Millwall into quarter-finals

Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round - AFC Wimbledon v Millwall - Kingsmeadow, London, Britain - February 16, 2019 Millwall's Murray Wallace celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round - AFC Wimbledon v Millwall - Kingsmeadow, London, Britain - February 16, 2019 Millwall's Murray Wallace celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Murray Wallace's early header ensured that Millwall be in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the second time in three years and ended AFC Wimbledon's record-breaking run in the competition.

The south-west Londoners had never before reached the fifth round and hit the post inside the first few minutes through Joe Pigott before the Scot converted with the only notable moment of an uneventful first half.

The game ebbed and flowed far more after the break, with Neil Harris' men spurning a number of opportunities, with 20-year-old Michael Folivi managing the Dons' only shot on target.

Both teams reached this stage thanks to notable scalps in the last round. The Dons belied their lowly league status to humble West Ham United 4-2, while Millwall twice had to come from behind to defeat Everton 3-2 at The Den.

Despite being rooted to the bottom of League One, Wally Downes' men started this tie with plenty of zest after overturning the Hammers and they really should have taken the lead just a few minutes in when Shane McLoughlin's purposeful run down the right was followed by a sumptuous cross which was glanced off the post by top scorer Joe Pigott.

The underdogs were made to pay moments later, when Ryan Leonard drove down the wing and his delightful delivery was met by a thumping header by Murray Wallace which had AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale snatching at thin air.

To their credit, the home side did not allow their heads to drop, but their lack of a cutting edge indicated why they are languishing at the foot of the third tier.

Going into the break, the only effort on target had been the goal and Downes seized the initiative by bringing on Andy Barcham for Tyler Garratt.

The former Portsmouth winger was already offering more of an outlet, but with around 55 minutes on the clock, Millwall could have doubled their advantage when Lee Gregory's run was picked out and the Lions' top scorer held up the ball before laying off to the onrushing Aiden O'Brien, whose effort was clawed away by Ramsdale.

The game was starting to become far more open and Murray Wallace's hanging cross was headed wide by Jake Cooper at the far post, before the hosts thought Jon Moss had awarded them a penalty when Barcham was clipped when attempting to reach the loose ball. Alas, he was offside.

As AFC Wimbledon started to throw more caution to the wind, they were leaving more spaces at the back, with Ramsdale having to be alert as both Gregory and Leonard looked to put the tie to bed.

As the game reached the first minute of stoppage time, Jed Wallace burst through and was about to pull the trigger before a thundering challenge by Mitchell Pinnock.

Earlier in the day, Brighton also booked a place in the quarter-finals after beating Derby County 2-1.

Brighton opened the scoring after 33 minutes when Anthony Knockaert bent his first-time shot into the bottom corner of Kelle Roos' net after connecting with Yves Bissouma's cross.

Knockaert had seen two earlier chances dealt with by Roos, who tipped over the Frenchman's early free-kick before beating away his curling shot later in the half.

Bissouma sent his free-kick under the wall in the middle of the half but Roos was equal to it.

Derby's on-loan Liverpool winger Harry Wilson was shown a yellow card for a foul on Beram Kayal. The incident was checked by VAR but referee David Coote's original decision stood.

And Knockaert broke the deadlock shortly afterwards, sweeping in from inside the box.

Brighton doubled their advantage when Jurgen Locadia fired in from close range in first-half stoppage time after Bissouma's effort had clattered the post.

There was not time for Derby to respond before the interval as Brighton took a 2-0 lead into the break.

Derby made a bright start to the second half and Harry Wilson's fierce drive was blocked by Shane Duffy.

Knockaert went close once again in the 71st minute but his strike was tipped wide by Roos.

Derby pulled one back with nine minutes to go when Ashley Cole scored the first FA Cup goal of his career.

The visitors had appealed for a penalty after Florian Jozefzoon went down under a challenge from Bernardo.

But moments later, Cole nodded in after Dan Burn had cleared the ball straight onto his head.

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