FA Cup - Dale are heroes again

Last updated : 27 January 2003 By Tony Scholes

It looks like Spot the Ball but gareth Griffiths is scoring Rochdale' second against Coventry
It is just three weeks ago since they went to Deepdale and beat Craig Brown’s struggling Preston to qualify for the 4th round and on Saturday they knocked out Coventry with a 2-0 win at a packed Spotland, there was a crowd of over 9,000, with a goal in each half from Paul Connor and Gareth Griffiths.

Dale are now the only side outside the top two divisions left in the competition with fellow 3rd Division clubs Shrewsbury and Bournemouth and the two non-league clubs all going out.

Bournemouth went out at Stoke by a 3-0 margin but had their keeper Chris Tardif sent off just before half time with the score 0-0.

Shrewsbury were soundly beaten in the last of the games to be played in the ‘Songs of Praise’ slot on Sunday evening and were never in the running against an impressive Chelsea side who ran out 4-0 winners with the outstanding Gianfranco Zola scoring twice.

Chelsea were in fact one of only two sides to win away from their own ground, the other of course were the Clarets in our 3-0 win at Brentford.

A penalty for Watford as Darren Moore brings down Jermaine Pennant
Arsenal did officially win away from home when they beat Farnborough Town 5-1 but the game was switched to Highbury after the Farnborough officials shamefully gave up home advantage to make a bit of money.

But real credit to the other non-league side Dagenham & Redbridge. Quite simply they should have been a Football League side now having been robbed of a place by the cheating Boston and they were a credit yesterday. They bowed out at Norwich but it took a stoppage time goal by Zema Abbey to clinch it. They played in front of a crowd of over 21,000 and leave the competition with a lot more credit than Farnborough could.

The only club other than Rochdale to beat a team from a higher division were Watford who gave West Brom some of their own medicine by beating them 1-0. After a good cup run themselves last season the Baggies this time boing boinged back to the Midlands with just a relegation battle in front of them.

There were goals galore in a couple of games and if you don’t like that lot down the M65 and you don’t like Warnock then they were not good results. Blackburn were losing when our game finished yesterday, they had been 3-1 down at home to Sunderland. But somehow with the referee almost ready to blow they found an equaliser and now face a replay at the Stadium of Light.

Two of the Dagenham & Redbridge players go to their fans at the end of the game
Warnock’s lot incredibly let a three goal lead disappear in a four minute spell but they bounced back with a late, late goal to beat Ipswich at Bramall Lane 4-3.

A couple of all Premiership ties went the way of the home teams. Fulham beat Charlton 3-0 with a Steed Malbranque hat-trick that included two penalties. The result flattered Fulham but the same cannot be said for Manchester United’s 6-0 destruction of The Sinister One’s West Ham.

The Hammers fans are baying for the blood of Roeder and who can blame them. No matter how well Manchester United played this really was a shabby performance from the Premiership strugglers.

Two all First Division games were also won by the home teams. Walsall won an uninspiring game against Franchise 1-0 at the Bescot whilst just up the road at Molineux Wolves easily beat Leicester 4-1.

And that just leaves three ties between Premiership and First Division clubs. Palace and Liverpool drew 0-0 at Selhurst Park, Southampton grabbed a late equaliser at home to Millwall in a 1-1 draw and it was the same score at Gillingham as the home side fought back against Leeds.

So that sees four Premiership sides through with six from the First Division and one from the Third Division. They, along with the four ifs and buts go into the 5th round draw at 1:30 p.m. today and they will have the following numbers:

1: Norwich City
2: Southampton or Millwall
3: Walsall
4: Blackburn Rovers or Sunderland
5: Rochdale
6: Fulham
7: Sheffield United
8: Chelsea
9: Stoke City
10: Burnley
11: Arsenal
12: Manchester United
13: Gillingham or Leeds United
14: Wolverhampton Wanderers
15: Watford
16: Crystal Palace or Liverpool