BY STEVE MITCHELL
It’s been another week of playing catch up, as teams make up for lost time due to the awful weather the country has been experiencing over the past couple of months. The FA Cup grabbed top billing as we take a look at all the week’s action.
FOREST BEATEN AT HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST TWO YEARS:
Nottingham Forest’s long unbeaten home record is over after the champions were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth-round on Monday. Republic of Ireland striker Frank Stapleton was the hero, grabbing a second-half goal against the run of play.Embed from Getty Images
Brian Clough’s men last succumbed at The City Ground back in April 1977 and their larger than life manager will have to wait another year to get his hands on a trophy that he’s never won.
Arsenal on the other hand, are cup specialists and now have a real chance of heading back to Wembley to try to make amends for last season’s final defeat to Ipswich Town.
The Gunners will play the winners of Southampton and West Bromwich Albion in the quarter-finals.
ALBION OVERCOME LEEDS IN A FOURTH-ROUND EPIC:
West Bromwich Albion are in the fifth-round of the FA Cup after a thrilling fourth-round tie against Leeds United.
On Monday, the two clubs, who were playing each other for the seventh time this season, drew 3-3 at The Hawthorns, despite Leeds actually being designated as the home side. Last season’s crowd trouble against Manchester City ensured that the Yorkshire side would have to play all their cup matches away from Elland Road this year.Embed from Getty Images
Laurie Cunningham, Alistair Brown and Cyrille Regis got the Albion goals, with Frank Gray, Arthur Graham and Carl Harris replying for Leeds.
Last night, it was back to The Hawthorns for part two and playing as the home side this time around, Albion made no mistake, winning 2-0 after extra-time thanks to another goal from Ally Brown and one from skipper John Wile.
WOLVES GRAB QUARTER-FINAL SPOT AFTER VICTORY AT SELHURST PARK:
There was more success for the Black Country this week as Wolverhampton Wanderers booked their quarter-final place after a narrow 1-0 win against Second Division Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Striker Marin Patching’s first-half goal was enough to put John Barnwell’s side into the last eight, where they will meet another Division Two side, Shrewsbury Town, at Molineux.
SHREWSBURY’S FAIRY-TALE CUP ADVENTURE CONTINUES:
It has been one of the stories of the FA Cup this season and Shrewsbury Town’s adventure continues after they beat Aldershot Town in a fifth-round replay at Gay Meadow on Monday.
Having already seen off top-flight Manchester City in round four, the Shropshire club were almost victims of a giant killing themselves, when they were held to a 2-2 by The Shots at The Recreation Ground and the Shrews needed extra-time on Monday to see off the Fourth Division outfit.
Goals however, from striker Steve Biggins (2) and one from defender Carleton Leonard, booked Graham Turner’s side a trip to Molineux to face Wolves; John Dungworth got Aldershot’s consolation.
HOLDERS MARCH ON TO THE QUARTER-FINALS:
You have to go back to 1962 to find the last time a club successfully defended the FA Cup. Back then it was Tottenham Hotspur who won back to back finals, but current holders, Ipswich Town, are a step nearer to repeating that feat after demolishing Bristol Rovers 6-1 at Portman Road on Monday.Embed from Getty Images
Two goals from Scottish striker Alan Brazil, the others from Mick Mills, Arnold Muhren, Dave Geddis and Paul Mariner, saw off the Second Division side’s challenge to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against Liverpool in East Anglia.
For the record, striker Steve White got Rovers’ consolation.
LIVERPOOL EASE INTO LAST EIGHT AFTER VICTORY AGAINST BURNLEY:
Two goals from David Johnson and another from Graeme Souness kept Liverpool’s hopes of the double alive. The Merseyside club are in ominous form in the league and a chance to go back to Wembley to make amends for their defeat against Manchester United two years ago, is now a real possibility.
In truth, the Second Division side, who beat Sunderland in the fourth-round on Monday, were never really in the contest, but Bob Paisley’s men will face a much stiffer test against Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday week.
72 HOUR CUP MARATHON ENDS IN HEARTBREAK FOR OLDHAM:
Oldham Athletics cup dreams ended after a dramatic 72 hours which saw the Lancashire side see off Leicester City on Monday, but exit the competition after a narrow defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
A hat-trick from striker Alan Young ensured The Latics won their all Second Division tie against Leicester, Martin Henderson getting The Foxes consolation.Embed from Getty Images
Two nights later, Boundary Park was rocking as Spurs travelled north, but a first-half strike from Steve Perryman put the capital club into the sixth-round and a meeting with Manchester United at White Hart Lane.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP:
Amongst all the cup action, there were three games played in the First Division. On Tuesday night Manchester City and Norwich City drew 2-2 at Maine Road, a result that leaves both clubs in the wrong half of the table.
A brace from midfielder Gary Owen (one from the penalty spot) gave the home side a platform, but Keith Robson and the ever reliable Martin Peters ensured The Canaries went home with a share of the points.Embed from Getty Images
72 hours after their cup triumph, Ipswich Town headed to the Baseball Ground to face Derby County and despite having played on Monday night, the visitors went home with two precious points thanks to a second-half goal from Clive Woods.
Finally, Jimmy Greenhoff’s rich vein of form in front of goal continues as he scored Manchester United’s first in their 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford. England international Steve Coppell got the other and the win would have given personal satisfaction to United boss Dave Sexton, who was a former coach at Loftus Road.
More importantly however, the win takes United up to seventh in the table and leaves Rangers in the bottom three.
MONDAY FEBRUARY 26:
FA CUP FOURTH-ROUND:
W.B.A 3-3 Leeds United (Cunningham, Brown A, Regis; Gray F, Graham, Harris)
Oldham Athletic 3-1 Leicester City (Young 3; Henderson)
Sunderland 0-3 Burnley (Fletcher, Ingham, Kindon)
Crystal Palace 0-1 Wolves (Patching)
Ipswich Town 6-1 Bristol Rovers (Brazil 2, Mills, Muhren, Geddis, Mariner; White)
Nottingham Forest 0-1 Arsenal (Stapleton)
Shrewsbury Town 3-1 Aldershot Biggins 2, Leonard; Dungworth) aet
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 27:
Manchester City 2-2 Norwich City (Owen 2, 1 pen; Robson, Peters)
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 28:
FA CUP FIFTH-ROUND:
Liverpool 3-0 Burnley (Johnson 2; Souness)
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Perryman)
Derby County 0-1 Ipswich Town (Mariner)
Manchester United 2-0 Q.P.R (Greenhoff J; Coppell)
THURSDAY MARCH 1:
FA CUP FOURTH-ROUND REPLAY:
W.B.A 2-0 Leeds United (Wile, Brown A) aet
FA CUP REVISED QUARTER-FINAL DRAW:
Ipswich Town v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United
W.B.A or Southampton v Arsenal
Wolves v Shrewsbury Town
FOLLOW THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WITH STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler