With Manchester City due to play Stoke City in a late afternoon match, there were four other hard fought FA Cup fifth round matches played this busy Saturday.
As covered extensively in a previous article, the tie of the round was Southampton v Portsmouth which ended with an undeserved big win for the Premiership team. The Saints fought hard but didn’t have the finishing finesse of Pompy who came away with a 4-1 win.
Chelsea also kicked off early as they looked for a route into the Quarter Final via Cardiff City. This game also ended 4-1 to the Premiership side although was perhaps more predicted and certainly more deserved than the above mentioned game. It took Drogba just two minutes to score after the skilled striker slipped the offside trap and then beat the stranded ‘keeper.
Cardiff did find their way back into the game when Chopra headed in an equalizer but goals then came in from Ballack, Sturridge and Kalou as Chelsea ran rampant and advanced into the Quarters.
Another Championship v Premiership match kicked off at 15:00 when Derby faced off against Birmingham. Derby looked strong and capable of stealing an upset, something which looked even more plausible when McEveley fired past Joe Hart with fifty-five minutes gone to give The Rams the lead.
Birmingham came back though and after Dann equalized with a seventy-third minute header, Ridgewell nicked a win for the away team on the final minute, his shot was scrambled in after the ball rebounded off the post. Harsh on Derby who deserved better, but the Premiership team came out on top with a 2-1 win.
At the bottom of the Championship, Reading’s luck in the league hasn’t been very good but in the cup they have already knocked out two Premiership teams with Liverpool and Burnley falling before them. Today they were looking to beat West Brom who are second in their own league.
Jimmy Kebe gave Reading a perfect start when his first minute shot found the back of the net. The lead lasted for seventeen minutes before Koren squared things up for West Brom. The game took a couple of strange turns when Long saw a straight red for Reading just after halftime, before Mulumbu followed him down the tunnel after receiving two yellows. With both teams reduced to ten men Simon Church struck Reading into the lead and the win, and another top scalp, looked assured before Mattock drilled in an equalizer with just a few minutes to play.
Reading and West Brom will head to a replay but Quarter Final places have now been claimed by three Premiership teams as Chelsea, Birmingham and Portsmouth all advance, with the latter two lucky to do so. Manchester City kicked off after these games finished and we can look forward to another top three FA Cup games tomorrow.