?The magic of the FA Cup reared it’s head again today, as National League leaders Lincoln City grabbed the headlines, having beaten Burnley 1-0 today at Turf Moor.
The result was a stunning one, as Lincoln became the first non-league team to reach the last eight of the FA Cup in 103 years. Despite a gap of 81 league places between the two, Lincoln matched what was a strong Burnley side for the duration of the game, before Sean Raggett headed home, to secure a famous progression for the Imps.
Despite the obvious highlights, the match was also notable for some tragic play acting from Burnley midfielder Joey Barton, who escaped punishment, despite blatant simulation against Lincoln’s battering ram of a forward, Matt Rhead. At 6’4 and nearly 17 stone, Rhead is probably not the first Lincoln player you’d want to anger.
Lincoln’s victory was not the only loss dealt to Premier League teams today, as last season’s champion’s Leicester City were dumped out of the cup at the hands of a Millwall team that were reduced to ten men for nearly 40 minutes.
Liam Cooper was dismissed for two bookable offences after 52 minutes, but a much rotated Foxes side were unable to take advantage, despite having previously saved much of their bet football-in an admittedly miserable season- for this competition. Shaun Cummings scored the winner for Millwall after cutting in from the right side of the pitch, and striking low past Ron-Robert Zieler.
Millwall will be delighted to continue their run in the cup however, and their confidence will be sky high now, after knocking out three Premier league teams in successive rounds. Leicester will now turn their attentions to the Champion’s League, where they face a very dangerous Sevilla side in midweek,
Manchester City also had to settle for a goalless draw away to David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town. The attendance record was broken at the John Smith Stadium, as 24,129 fans saw the Terriers excellently match Pep Guardiola’s side, with both side’s goalkeepers making good saves to keep the scores level.
With the day proving a less than stellar one for top division sides, even goal-shy Middelsborough had to pull it out of the bag to overcome League One’s Oxford United. However, the match wasn’t without it’s drama, as Oxford fought back to be level through Chris Maguire and Toni Martinez, after finding themselves 2-0 down at the hands of Rudy Gestede, and a Grant Leadbitter penalty. Substitute Cristhian Stuani prodded Boro’s winner in at the far post four minutes from time, but a dogged Oxford can be very proud of their efforts.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are also through, after eventually navigating past a determined Wolves side at Molyneux. Pedro finally broke the deadlock for the Blues, heading home in the bottom left corner of Carl Ikeme’s goal, after some excellent interplay between Willian and Eden Hazard.
Diego Costa then ended his longest goal drought of the season with a clinical finish from a ricochet off a Wolves player. Costa looked visibly glad to have taken the opportunity, having battled firecely against Wolves’ two centre backs for the majority of the game.