Stranrear & Morton Both Advance in Scottish Cup Replays

Stranrear earned a potentially lucrative tie against Premier League Motherwell after beating Stenhousemuir 4-3 in a thrilling Scottish Cup Replay. Behind after 17 minutes Stranrear battled back to lead 4-2 at one stage and looked comfortable, however a 90th minuter Stenhousemuir goal made for a slightly nervous finish. The game only attracted 521 fans, however the Motherwell game should boost the clubs finances somewhat more.

Morton had a fairly easy time of it at Airdrie United largely dominating possession and eventually running out comfortable 5-2 winners. The attendance here was 1,033. They will now travel to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the next round.

Both ties are scheduled for Saturday, 5 February 2011.

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Birmingham Fight Back For Place In League Cup Final

This tie looked all over at half time after West Ham had dominated play and taken a 3-1 aggregate lead thanks to a lovely strike by Carlton Cole, however as has been seen all to frequently by West Ham fans this season, the game is never won until the end, and so it was again here.

The second half was a complete transformation with Birmingham by far the better team and it was no surprise when West Ham old boy Lee Bowyer pulled a goal back after 59 minutes. West ham looked increasingly edgy there after and when defender Roger Johnson leveled the aggregate score the writing was on the wall for the Hammers.

In injury time Craig Gardner who had rattled the woodwork a couple of times earlier made it time lucky when firing home the winner to set up a Final clash with Arsenal. This is Birmingham’s first major final in a long time and on their second half form they will give Arsenal a good game.

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Birmingham V West Ham League Cup Semi Final

West Ham take a slender 2-1 lead into tonight’s League Cup semi final second leg tie at Birmingham, as manager Avram Grant seeks to emulate his achievements of last season when he took eventually relegated Portsmouth to Wembley in the FA Cup Final.

West Ham are having a poor league season but have been terrific in the Cup winning their last 6 ties and despite being without Frederic Piquionne who was suspended due to his controversial dismissal for celebrating with fans at the weekend and Victor Obinna also suspended they will be in good heart for this game.

Birmingham are not having a great season either and are coming off the back of a 5-0 drubbing at Manchester United at the weekend. They will be without on loan midfielder David Bentley as he is cup tied but Cameron Jerome should be fit again after his hamstring injury.

This could be a close game however we expect the Hammers to hold out and make it an all London Final.

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Arsenal Reach League Cup Final

After several barren years Arsenal fans can not reasonably expect their Silverware drought to end as they are in the final of the League Cup where they will be strong favourites to beat the winners of the Birmingham West Ham semi.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg Arsenal managed to overcome a plucky Ipswich thanks to three second half goals from Bendtner,  Koscielny,  & Fabregas who grabbed the third in the 77th minute.

Ipswich clung on for 60 minutes through a combination of stout defending and poor Arsenal finishing, however on the Night they were deservedly second best, however on this form they should be safe enough in the Championship this season.

The attendance was an impressive 59,387.

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Scottish League Cup Could Be Old Firm Final

The semi Finals of the Scottish League cup are scheduled for this weekend and if the games go according to form it could be a Celtic Rangers Final, which would give Scottish Football a bit of a boost at a time when it is looking a little grim.

On Saturday Celtic take on Aberdeen and then its Rangers V Motherwell on the Sunday.  The two have met twice in the final recently with Rangers winning in 2003 and Celtic getting revenge in 2009.

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2011 FA Vase 5th Round Draw

The draw for the FA Vase 5th Round has given Whitley Bay a home tie with Dunstable, which will be welcome following their 700+ mile round trip in the previous round.

One of the favourites Spennymoor Town from County Durham, have a tricky  match against Poole not helped by Dorset being around 350 miles away. Still it could have been worse as fellow  Northern League Division One rivals Billingham Synthonia will testify. They have an even more gruelling trip to Cornwall to face South West Peninsula League side Torpoint Athletic.

There are still two ties to play but the latest draw is below and the winners will collect a chq for £1,300 and gain a place in the Quarter Finals.

FA Vase 5th Round Draw

Whitley Bay v Dunstable Town

Coalville Town v Holbrook Sports or Lancing

Torpoint Athletic v Billingham Synthonia

Poole Town v Spennymoor Town

Leverstock Green v Rye United

Leiston v Long Buckby

Kings Lynn Town v Gresley or St Neots Town

Stansted v Dunston UTS

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FA Vase Round 4 Results Whitley Bay March On

There was goals aplenty in the fourth round of the 2011 FA Vase but one of the most notable results was Whitley Bay’s excellent 2-1 win away to Herne Bay, which keeps their dream of a hat trick of FA Trophy wins alive.
Current favourites Spennymoor Town cruised into the Fifth Round with a comfortable 5-1 demolition of Cadbury Heath and Leverstock Green cruised past Bemerton Heath Harlequins4-1 helped by two goals from Lewis Pritchard. The days biggest winners  Leiston who hit Guildford City for six while Stansted FC jetted through with another 4-1 win away at Bodmin Town.

Dunstable Town had a pretty easy time of things against  Willand Rovers beating the much weakened side 2-0 at Creasy Park. Willand were so short of personnel they could only name three subs.

Gresley v St Neots Town  & Holbrook Sports v Lancing are due to be played on 29/01/11.

The winners all collected £1,200 a welcome bonus, although for some the traveling costs will have eroded this figure.

FA Vase Results

Dunstable Town 2 – 0 Willand Rovers

Bloxwich United 2 – 3 Torpoint Athletic

Leverstock Green 4 – 1 Bemerton Heath Harlequins

Norton & Stockton Ancients 0 – 1 Kings Lynn Town

Poole Town 3 – 2 St Ives Town

Bitton AFC 2 – 3 Coalville Town

Bodmin Town 1 – 4 Stansted

Long Buckby 3 – 2 Ashington

Herne Bay 1 – 2 Whitley Bay

Guildford City 2 – 6 Leiston

Cadbury Heath 1 – 5 Spennymoor Town

Staveley Miners Welfare  0 – 3 Rye United

Runcorn Town 1 – 3 Dunston UTS

Billingham Synthonia 2 – 1 Tadcaster Albion

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Real Madrid & Barcelona Set For Copa del Rey Clash

Copa del Rey Alfonso XIII in FC Barcelona's Museum
Image via Wikipedia

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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