With a number of League One and Two clubs in action for the FA Cup 3rd Round our correspondents give you their reports…
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 0-0 Sheffield Wednesday
With both clubs in somewhat managerial disarray, one of the less eye-catching draws of the round took place at a packed Brunton Park.
Appointed the day prior, new Sheffield manager in Jos Luhukay was in the stands watching his new side as interim boss Lee Bulle took charge of his final outing. In contrast, Carlisle gaffer Keith Curle had undergone a meeting with his club’s board on that aforementioned day and was greeted to jeers and an expensive looking ‘CURLE OUT’ banner directly across from him to most fans’ shock despite this game being more of anomaly than the regular grind of League Two.
Brunton Park was packed by an increased number of home fans but was significantly boosted in atmosphere with a huge influx of travelling supporters from Sheffield as all four stands in the ground were used for a change.
The match itself played as expected as Wednesday pushed United back. The bar was rattled early on from an away header although a toothless attacking showing in the first half from the likes of Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu meant chances were hard to come by. At home, Carlisle had struggled during the last calendar year but could be forgiven for not trying to outplay their opponents as they operated in the cup-proven 5-3-2 formation and used the height and range of striker Sam Cosgrove, fresh from signing a new deal in midweek (like loan right-back James Brown), who was starting just his second game in a blue shirt since joining the club in summer. It was Wednesday who had most of the possession but even the trickery of centre-midfield pairing George Boyd and Ross Wallace couldn’t break the solid back line of their opposition marshalled by Clint Hill who made his 650th professional appearance in this encounter. A flurry of corners and chances came the way of his team but as the interval arrived, it was level.
After the break, it was a similar story. The opening chance of the second half came for United when Reggie Lambe advanced and cut inside from the right to fire a shot with his weaker left foot over the bar. Soon after, Wednesday struck the woodwork again as they turned the screw to put even more pressure on. Doing that, they left gaps at back and eventually the Cumbrians had an opportunity following good play. A lob over the top of by Lambe after Hallam Hope did well on the right found Cosgrove. In a large amount of space inside the penalty area on the left beyond the Owls’ defence, he slammed home a header but it was ruled out for offside. Hitting back were Wednesday and United goalkeeper Jack Bonham was forced into a superb reaction stop low down to his left to tip the ball around the post when a Nuhiu effort came his way as the match neared its conclusion. Nothing of note happened before the full-time whistle even when focal points Richie Bennett and Jordan Rhodes entered the fray as neither side could break the deadlock.
The teams in the end had to settle for a replay next week at Hillsborough the winner of which will face whoever they are given in the next round draw in just a couple of days time.
Ball number for the next round: 32
Attendance: 7,793 (1,916)
Referee: Darren Webb
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 Swansea City
My first game of 2018 took me to the impressive Molyneux Stadium, home of Wolves for their tie with the Premier Leagues bottom club Swansea on a freezing cold January afternoon. A good crowd of almost 23,000 greeted the two teams as they kicked off the tie with the Championship outfit going at their Premier League opponents from the start. After just 6 minutes Wolves forward Helder Costa forced a good save from Swans keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
Youngster Bright Enobakhare was next to try his luck but again the Swans keeper was equal to it. Defender N’Diaye met Costa’s corner, Nordfeldt saved but the ball ran to Enobakhare but he blazed wide with the goal at his mercy. On the half hour the Swans got their first chance of any note with defender Olsson hitting the bar with a 30 yard dipping free kick that had beaten Wolves keeper Will Norris. On 40 minutes Wolves were down to 10 men when referee Anthony Taylor sent Ruben Vinagre off for what looked like a stamp on Swans midfielder Nathan Dyer.
HT Wolves 0 Swans 0
Swansea started the second half strongly looking to enforce the advantage of the extra man & Wolves keeper Norris had to be at his best to deny striker Wilfred Bony as the striker broke clearly from half way. A quiet period of play ensued until ref Taylor inexplicably evened the teams to 10 men each by sending off Swans midfielder Fer for what was nothing more than a trip on Costa when it merited no more than a yellow card if that.
Wolves sent on their new signing Rafa Mir from Valencia & he was immediately in the action having a goalbound shot expertly blocked by Swans defender Mike van der Hoorn & putting a header just wide from a cross by sub Douglas.
FT Wolves 0 Swans 0
Get ready Premier League Wolves are coming. Although only drawing I was impressed by Wolves. A young improving side with an inventive attacking style of play. They played Swansea off the park really & were unlucky not to win. I’d make them slight favourites in the replay.
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United correspondent and roving reporter.
MATCH REPORT: Coventry City 2-1 Stoke City
Who said that the FA Cup is dead and not the competition it once was? Whoever it was should have been at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday and witnessed what it means to us long suffering Sky Blues supporters.
As a League Two club beating a Premier League side it ranked as the biggest upset of the Third Round until Forest knocked out the mighty Arsenal on Sunday. Did we deserve to beat the team from the Potteries? Yes we did is the answer because we had the passion, desire and commitment which the visitors seem to be short of not only in this game, but during most of their season.
Yes they passed the ball about well at times and you could see that glimpses of class were in their team but the Sky Blues players ran around scrapping for every ball, throwing themselves in to tackles, and catching Stoke on the break time after time. Every football fan of any team will take defeats on the chin if they see players giving it their all, and not one Coventry City fan left the ground on Saturday short changed as each and every player in the sky blue ran and sweated buckets and deserved all the plaudits they are now receiving for their efforts. They all were superb.
The atmosphere inside the Ricoh was great too as the 14,000 fans really got behind both sides, but especially the home fans who sang and cheered the team over the line, as the last fifteen minutes was like a scene from the Alamo with Stoke pressing forward in numbers searching for the equaliser, but due to the Coventry defence manfully blocking all their attacks through good old fashioned guts and sheer determination, they held on much to the delight of us fans sitting and standing shouting and pleading the referee to blow his bloody whistle!
And when he did we all just hugged each other as fans like to do on such occasions, and headed off to the pubs to carry on the feel good factor.
Now we can concentrate on the League again and focus on getting promotion, but for those that say and think that the FA Cup is no longer relevant or that it really doesn’t matter, I’d say come to Coventry City’s Fourth Round tie whether it be at the Ricoh or away and I’d guarantee you’d change your mind, as we embrace it and it gives us a much needed boost and a welcome break from the pressure of the League fixtures.
So tune in to the Cup draw tonight which is coming from Coventry, maybe a lucky omen!
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 3-1 Luton Town
I’ve been to plenty of away games as a Luton fan, from Forest Green to Forest. From Southend to Shrewsbury but Saturday will live long in the memory.
With the news the Jones had signed a four year extension earlier in the week luton fans started the weekend with some good news. Fans had travelled by car, train, coach and even flown from Ireland and Dubai to be in Newcastle.
As we drove up the A1 at times there was a sea of orange scarfs and flags. People honking horns and waving at each other all the way up. We arrived in Newcastle at about 11.45, and from the moment I stepped out of the car, I heard someone shout ‘Come On The Town.’ Newcastle fans wishing us well for the game and thanking us for travelling up. The city was full of Luton fans, not since our Wembley visits have I seen a sea of orange Like was seen in Newcastle in Saturday.
We arrived at the ground at about 13.30 and St James Park is smack bang in the middle of the city centre, which is how it should be in the soul of the community.
The stadium is lovely, the climb to level 7 isn’t so lovely but worth it for the wonderful view you get once you finally reach the top.
Now as people know I’m rather sentimental about our club and seeing 7500 of us singing for 90 minutes left a lump in my throat.
Onto the game.. we were fine for 30 minutes or so, no real problems and we held our own. Then came the most ridiculous 9 minutes of the season. A Stech error, a lack of being able to clear our lines and a Pelly Ruddock pass that went astray and suddenly were 3 down at half time. There was a fear that this could become embarrassing.
But then it the second half got underway. Jones changed it up, took Ruddock off, Cornick came on and within a few minutes Hylton gets one back. Now Newcastle are worrying and that’s not my biased opinion they were on the back foot, then 7 minutes later 7,500 fans went mental.
Hylton has made it 3-2 and it was deserved, then the bloke behind me asks why the linesman is flagging. He was given offside, he was never offside, I’ve seen it again and he wasn’t but it wasn’t to be. Then Elliott Lee hits the bar from a free kick. We battled for the whole of that second half. Hylton beyond immense all game. Newcastle were reduced to time wasting and cynical fouls. The game finished 3-1 but what happened at full time. Those Luton fans sang and applauded them all off that pitch. A sense of pride from us all for a wonderful second half performance.
If I could sum up the weekend it was at 2.40am on Sunday morning when outside my hotel I heard Luton fans singing ‘were top of the league’
Yes we are and the good times are well and truly back.
words Richard Armstrong, D3D4 Luton Town correspondent