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Midweek round up - Wednesday 8th January 2014.

Midweek Round up.
Midweek player round up from Sophie Beresford.









FA Cup
Adam Henley returned to Blackburn's starting line-up after being rested for the previous match. While Blackburn will find it considerably more difficult (if not impossible) to beat Manchester City at the Etihad and go on to win their first FA Cup for 130 years, a 1-1 home draw against last season's runners-up looks pretty good to me.
 
Lewin Nyatanga and Christian Dibble were both unused substitutes for Barnsley's home match against Coventry City. Barnsley have never faced Coventry in the Cup - and they probably wish it had stayed that way: Coventry won 2-1 against their higher-ranked opponents. Aaron Phillips was on the bench for the giant-killers.
 
Andrew Crofts scored his sixth goal of the season for Brighton with secured a 1-0 home victory over Reading. This was another fixture to feature two teams that had never faced one another in the FA Cup . The score could have been different if Chris Gunter's penalty appeal for handball had been heeded, but there was one Reading player with something to celebrate: a full debut for Jake Taylor.
 
Wes Burns came off the bench for Bristol City in the 71st minute, only to find himself on the losing side fourteen minutes later when visiting side Watford took a 1-0 lead. But it took Bristol City only a minute to get back into it, when Burns' pass found Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Burns came close to getting the winner and will hope for other chances to get onto the scoresheet when Watford host Bristol City in the replay. The only time Bristol City ever reached the FA Cup final, they lost to Manchester United, but that won't be happening this time. Manchester United are out of the cup - Bristol City, for the moment, are still in it.
 
Michael Doughty played 90 minutes and Sam Wedgbury came on for the last fifteen as Stevenage dumped Championship side Doncaster Rovers out of the FA Cup. Credit to Doncaster for continuing to fight after Stevenage had gone 3-1 up in stoppage time: their determination almost paid off when they scored four minutes later. But Stevenage took the win and will host Everton in the fourth round. Doncaster and David Cotterill, who was substituted early in the second half, must now focus on ensuring they'll still be a Championship side next season.
 
Scott Neilson was part of the brave Grimsby Town side who led 2-1 at home to Huddersfield after 85 minutes, only to lose 2-3 in stoppage time through an own goal. Could anything be more cruel? In real terms, yes, of course. In the FA Cup, possibly not. (Joel Lynch didn't feature for Huddersfield due to a groin injury.)
 
Lee Fowler played 63 minutes for Kidderminster Harriers in their match against league side Peterborough United. After Fowler left the field, Kidderminster somehow survived a late Peterborough onslaught to claim a 0-0 draw and a replay. Kidderminster are one of two non-league sides still with a chance of reaching the fourth round.
 
Rhys Taylor kept a clean sheet for the other non-league side, Macclesfield Town, as they drew 0-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday of the Championship. No disrespect to Macclesfield or any other non-league side, but it is good to see Taylor playing against such quality opposition. The former under-21 international goalkeeper (who did once warm the bench for the full Wales team) got into the League Two Team of the Season whilst on loan at Crewe and hopefully Macclesfield's Cup run will remind managers of what he can do - though Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough will be a different proposition. Semi-pro international Jack Mackreth, formerly of Tranmere, also played 90 minutes for the non-league side.
 
Declan John kept his place in Cardiff's starting line-up as they fought back from 1-0 down to claim a 2-1 away victory over Newcastle United. This was Cardiff's first victory since the unwelcome departure of manager Malky McKay (actually the first win in what seems like forever, but let's not think about that). Paul Dummett was on the bench for Newcastle for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury.
 
Sam Vokes scored his eleventh goal of the season for Burnley as the Championship club came from 2-0 down to draw level against Southampton at St Mary's. It would have been really nice if the match had ended there, but Southampton recaptured some of the form that has seen them spend part of the season above Manchester United, and eventually won 4-3. Brian Stock was an unused substitute for Burnley.
 
Jermaine Easter should probably look away now. So should most of his team-mates. We all know things have gone a bit wrong at Millwall lately, but Championship teams shouldn't go around getting thrashed 4-1 by  League Two sides. Even League Two promotion contenders. Even on the League Two side's home ground. Easter was sent off in first-half stoppage time for an alleged stamp. Steve Morison's involvement was more favourable: he got the consolation assist and managed to remain on the pitch. Freddy Eastwood was an 84th-minute substitute for Southend.
 
Andy King played just over an hour for Leicester City as they lost 2-1 at Stoke City. Stoke are rewarded with a trip to Stamford Bridge, which might just save them the indignity of being knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester City for the third time in four years (they haven't been drawn against each other yet, but Liverpool and Oldham's three fixtures in three years have shown that some teams are just meant to be together).

Danny Gabbidon helped Crystal Palace to keep a clean sheet in their 2-0 away victory over one of his former sides, West Bromwich Albion. There was also a start for Jonathan Williams, but both Palace and West Brom resisted the opportunity to give their second-choice keepers, Lewis Price and Boaz Myhill, a run-out. (I was going to make a comment about the highest-ranked team in the football league with a Welsh goalkeeper who's getting first-team football, but it's probably better not to think about it.)
 
Lloyd James played 70 minutes for Leyton Orient when they visited the Championship's Yeovil Town. When the second-placed team in League One plays one of the teams propping up the Championship, it's almost not a giant-killing if the League One side wins. But in this case, the lower league side didn't win. Yeovil beat Leyton Orient 4-0 and it makes you wonder how big the gap really is. I suppose Orient just aren't in the same league as Yeovil.
 
There was some doubt about whether Tom Lawrence would feature in Carlisle United's FA Cup match on Sunday due to a foot problem, but the Man United loanee played 83 minutes of Carlisle's 3-1 defeat. The two teams were level at the break, but a Carlisle own goal gave Sunderland the advantage and they went on to take the win. This is the fifth time the two teams have played in the FA Cup - but the first time they haven't needed to be separated by a replay.
 
Kieron Freeman was an unused substitute for Derby County as the high-flying Championship team were visited by Chelsea. Chelsea won 2-0 - but Josť Mourinho needs to tell his players what sport they're playing. I know there's been a lot of rain recently, but it's still football. Not diving.
 
Richard Duffy started for Port Vale in their home match against Plymouth Argyle, but departed after just 40 minutes after turning his ankle. Vale, who were facing Plymouth for the first time in the FA Cup, seemed to miss him: Plymouth came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. Port Vale will be hoping to have Duffy back for the replay - Plymouth have only lost one of their last nine in all competitions.
 
Neil Taylor was promoted to Swansea City's starting line-up as they won at Old Trafford for the first time in their history. The winner came in the 90th minute, and the Premier League Champions were dumped out of a competition they last won ten years ago. True, Manchester United did finish the match with ten men, but that doesn't explain the 74 minutes when they had an equal number of players. David Cornell was on the bench for Swansea - his first appearance for his parent club this season - along with Ben Davies and Ashley Williams.
 
There was one more FA Cup match played this week - a mid-week second-round replay between Crawley Town and Bristol Rovers, which was completed at the third attempt after abandonment and postponement. Eliot Richards scored Rovers' 23rd-minute equaliser, with the League Two side going on to get a stoppage time winner. Ellis Harrison was a 73rd-minute substitute. Crawley had just five substitutes, but their depleted squad featured Joe Walsh and Nicky Adams, who got the assist for Crawley's opener. Birmingham City await in the third round match; the winner of that match hosts Swansea in the fourth.
League Two
Lee Beevers was an unused substitute as Mansfield Town took their unbeaten run to three matches with a 1-0 away win over Exeter City.
 
David Pipe and Michael Flynn started for Newport County as they lost their second consecutive match, this time a 2-1 home defeat to Northampton Town, who are still bottom despite the victory. Tony James was on Newport's bench.
 
Billy Bodin started for Torquay United in their 1-1 home draw against Morecambe. Nathan Craig was an unused substitute for Torquay.
 
Scotland
Adam Matthews and Joe Ledley picked up the assists for Celtic's first and second goals in their 4-0 away win over St Mirren. Celtic are now thirteen points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League, but both players, particularly Ledley, have been linked with moves away from the club. Owain Tudur Jones was an 83rd-minute substitute for Dundee United, who conceded in the 90th minute and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

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Posted: Sunday 12th January 2014
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