Real Madrid & Barcelona Set For Copa del Rey Clash

Copa del Rey Alfonso XIII in FC Barcelona's Museum
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Barcelona & Real Madrid avoided each other in the semi final draw for the Spanish Copa del Rey setting up the prospect of a meeting in the final, with the winner potentially taking the Spanish Double of League & Cup.

Barcelona have the slightly easier task against La Liga strugglers Almeria who have probably over exceeded their expectations in reaching this stage, despite having had a fairly easy passage to this stage. Still they have been in entertaining matches having beaten Real Sociedad 5-3, Mallorca 8-6 and Deportivo 4-2 all on aggregate.

Real Madrid will play mid table Sevilla who are having a poor season by recent standards and the Cup probably is their only chance at Silverware this season and possibly of Europe too, so they will be fired up for this game. However it is hard to see them losing especially with the prospects of a Barca clash awaiting.

The first legs are scheduled for 26/01/11 and the second legs a week latter on 02/02/11.

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Arsenal Through to FA Cup Round 4

Arsenal negotiated a potentially tricky 3rd round replay at Elland Road to set up a home tie with Huddersfield in round 4 of the 2011. The tie was always going to be beyond Leeds when the impressive Nasri scored early, calmly latching onto Arshavin’s pass to put the Gunners 1-0 up after 5 minutes. Then a poor clearance from the otherwise excellent Andy O’Brien allowed Arsenal to double their lead with a screaming drive from Sanga.

To their credit Leeds never gave up and Sanga’s impressive strike was eclipsed by a goal of a lifetime strike by Bradley Johnston who hammered in a thunderous drive following some good work from the very impressive Robert Snodgrass.

Although outclassed Leeds showed a lot of spirit in the second half and with a little more luck in front of goal they could have forced an equaliser as a couple of good crosses momentarily caused concern in the Arsenal defensive ranks. Still it was no more than Arsenal deserved when substitute Van Persie headed the third in the 71st minute effectively killing off any lingering hopes Leeds still had.

On this evidence Leeds will be back in the Premiership before too long, although the gulf in class was emphasised with the second half substitutions which saw Arsenal bring on Fabrigas & Van Persie, both of whom played in the recent 2010 World Cup Final, while Leeds brought on championship journeyman Bromby & Somma who spent moat of last season playing in the lower reaches of League Two with Lincoln City.

Now Leeds can concentrate on their push for a place in the Premier League, while Arsenal are still in with a chance of 4 trophies should break their Silver Ware drought this season quite possibly in this competition.

The attendance was a very impressive 38,232 which is higher than the crowds this fixture attracted when Leeds were a Premier League side.

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FA Trophy 3rd Round Draw

With the replays out of the way we now know the full draw for a place in the FA Trophy Quarter Finals and it is looking like a pretty interesting season, with a large number of the bigger Conference sides having gone out.

Conference North high flyers Alfreton Town who beat Cambridge United 6-3 away in their 2nd round replay have a tricky but winnable tie against recent League side Mansfield, while fellow Conference North title challengers  Guiseley AFC  & AFC Telford United also take on Conference Premier clubs facing Darlington & Eastbourne Borough.

Competition Favourites Luton Town have a fairly easy home tie against Gloucester City and Woking, who pulled off the result of the last round with their 3-2 win at AFC Wimbledon will fancy their chances against Salisbury. Highlights of the Woking game can be found below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JeeCSTJv6w[/youtube]

The eight winning teams will pick up £7,000 in prize money and will hopefully pull in half decent crowds in the Quarter Finals.

The ties are scheduled to be played Saturday 05/02/2011.

The Full Draw:

Eastbourne Borough v Guiseley AFC

Mansfield Town v Alfreton Town

Blyth Spartans AFC v Droylsden

Luton Town v Gloucester City

AFC Telford United v Darlington

Woking v Salisbury City

Eastleigh v Chasetown

Gateshead v Dartford

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Carlisle Close in on Wembley Visit With 4-0 Win

Welcome sign at Brunton Park, home of Carlisle...
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Carlisle United took a massive step towards another Wembley appearance last night taking a 4-0 lead in the first leg of the JPT Northern Final last night at Brunton Park. Although Carlisle only managed 6 shots on goal their finishing was clinical and when Tom Taiwo added their second goal after 23 minutes the game was effectively over given Huddersfield lack of attacking ambition. A repeat trip to Wembley will give Carlisle the chance to exorcise the memory of last seasons final which ended in a 4-1 humiliation against Southampton.

Should they progress they will face either Exeter or Brentford who drew 1-1 in the 1st leg of the Southern area final.

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FA Cup 4th Round Draw

The draw for the 4th round of the FA Cup has thrown up a few interesting ties and at least one lower league club will be in the 5th round draw after Torquay United were drawn against Conference side Crawley Town.

There are 4 all Premier League Ties, the pick of which is probably the all London Clash between Fulham & Tottenham, while the Lancashire Derby between Bolton & Wigan will also attract a lot of interest.

FA Cup fourth round draw:

Torquay v Crawley Town
Watford v Brighton
Bolton v Wigan
Arsenal or Leeds v Huddersfield
Fulham v Tottenham
Everton v Chelsea
Southampton v Manchester United
Swansea v Leyton Orient
Burnley v Burton Albion
Birmingham v Coventry
Doncaster Rovers or Wolves v Stoke or Cardiff
Notts County v Leicester or Man City
Stevenage v Reading
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers
West Ham v Nottingham Forest
Sheffield Wednesday v Hereford

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2011 FA Vase Updated Draw

With only one tie to settle the draw for the 4th round of the 2011 FA Vase is now nearly complete. The ties are scheduled for Saturday 22nd January 2011.

FA Vase 4th Round Draw

Dunstable Town v Willand Rovers

Bloxwich United v Torpoint Athletic

Leverstock Green v Bemerton Heath Harlequins

Gresley v St Neots Town

Norton & Stockton Ancients v Kings Lynn Town

Holbrook Sports v Lancing

Poole Town v St Ives Town

Bitton AFC v Coalville Town

Bodmin Town v Stansted

Long Buckby v Ashington

Herne Bay v Whitley Bay

Guildford City v Leiston

Cadbury Heath v Spennymoor Town

Staveley MW v Rye United

Runcorn Town v Dunston UTS or Heather St Johns

Billingham Synthonia v Tadcaster Albion

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FA Vase Holders Whitley Bay March On with 7-1 Win

Whitley Bay who are trying for an unprecedented third consecutive FA Vase Trophy win took a massive stride forward with an impressive 7-1 win over AFC Liverpool on Satuurday to advance to the last 32 of the competition.  They now face a tricky trip to Herne Bay, but on this form they will fancy their chances of getting a replay at least.

Another team we are watching in the competition Bemerton Heath Harlequins had an impressive win at St Blazey and will now face another away trip to Leverstock Green.

Saturdays FA Vase 3rd Round Results

Dunkirk 1 – 2 Ashington
Shildon 0 – 2 Coalville Town
Whitley Bay 7 – 1 AFC Liverpool
Beckenham Town 1 – 2 Kings Lynn Town
Bitton AFC 4 – 1 Newport (IOW)
St Blazey 1 – 2 Bemerton Heath Harlequi
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FA Cup 3rd Round Preview

The FA Cup comes alive today as the Premier League Teams join and there are a number of intriguing ties which could produce the much loved (well by Neutral Fans) shock result. This season more than one manager could also see their tenure ended by a bad result.

Of the Premier league playing lower league sides the big game has got to be Arsenal v Leeds a big premier league fixture not so many years ago. It hard to see a shock here despite Leeds winning at Old trafford at this stage last year. However it could be a lot closer than the pundits expect and a draw for Leeds is not out of the question.

The following ties are not foregone conclusions for the Premier League sides either:

Millwall v Birmingham  
Blackburn v QPR 
Doncaster v Wolverhampton
Hull v Wigan
Reading v West Brom
Scunthorpe v Everton
Sheff Utd v Aston Villa
Southampton v Blackpool
West Ham v Barnsley

Here we think Doncaster Reading and Barnsley could be the best bets for a win, and Birmingham might just settle for a replay.

Of the lower league teams with big ties League 2 Burton Albion will fancy their chances against a out of sorts Middlesbrough however Stevenage will have to settle for the cash injection with a big crowd expected against Newcastle. They will be lucky to hold the Geordies to 2-0.

Of the Non League sides playing today only Dover have a remote chance as Bolton will be too strong for Conference side York.

Todays FA Cup 3rd Round ties in full

Arsenal v Leeds
Millwall v Birmingham
Blackburn v QPR
Bolton v York
Brighton v Portsmouth
Bristol City v Sheff Wed
Burnley v Port Vale
Burton Albion v Middlesbrough
Coventry v Crystal Palace
Doncaster v Wolverhampton
Fulham v Peterborough
Huddersfield v Dover
Hull v Wigan
Lincoln City v Hereford
Norwich v Leyton Orient
Preston v Nott’m Forest
Reading v West Brom
Scunthorpe v Everton
Sheff Utd v Aston Villa
Southampton v Blackpool
Stoke v Cardiff
Sunderland v Notts County
Swansea v Colchester
Torquay v Carlisle
Watford v Hartlepool
West Ham v Barnsley
Stevenage v Newcastle

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Goals Galore In Scottish Cup 3rd Round Replays

After a spate of postponements due to the recent poor weather two of the delayed Scottish Cup 3rd Round replays took place last night and the games produced plenty of goals for the brave spectators who turned up.

After gaining a credible 2-2 draw at Airdrie United in the first game it looked like a night of humiliation for Beith as they went 4-0 down within 47 minutes against their League opponents. However as often happens in the Cup things soon changed. First Stephen O’Keane pulled a back on 62 minutes and then John Craig added a second thanks to a fine long-range strike.

This seemed to make Airdrie a little nervous and those nerves were tested further as Tony Fraser tapped in after 80 minutes to pull the score back to 4-3.

Beith were then reduced to 10 men when Brian McKeown was sent off and Airdrie hung on for a win their 1st half performance merited. They will now face a trip to Greenock Morton in the next round.

The nights other game also produced 7 goals but was a bit more one sided as Scottish Second Division high flyers Brechin City made short work of 3rd Division Annan Athletic. Brerchin were ahead after 2 minutes and although Annan leveled things up soon after they found themselves 4-1 down at half time. Annan puled a second goal back after 55 minutes thanks to Andrew Aitken but they never looked likely to get back into the game and it was Brechin who rounded off the scoring hitting their 5th in the 83rd minute leaving the final score 5-2. They will now travel to Queen of the South in round 4, which should attract a better crowd than the 512 which saw this tie.

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