Germany to Gain a Berth in the Champions League

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Germany will put a fourth team into the European Champions League, at Italy’s expense, for the 2012-13 tournament.
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FA Trophy 4th Round Results

No surprises in the fourth round as the Conference sides who played all went through. The Chasetown v Mansfield Match was postponed due to heavy rain making the pitch unplayable.

The match will be restaged  at the Scholars Ground on 1st March kicking off at 7.45pm

FA Trophy Results

Blyth Spartans AFC 0 – 2 Gateshead

Guiseley AFC 0 – 1 Luton Town

Darlington 2 – 1 Salisbury City

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Arsenal Blow Silverware Chance

Once again Arsenal failed to capitalize on their superior possession and chances as Birmingham won their first major trophy since picking up the League Cup way back in 1963.

Obafemi Martins who is currently on loan from Rubin Kazan, grabbed the winner in the final stages of the game following a comedy of errors in the Arsenal box between Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny.

The game itsself was entertaining if unspectacular and after Zigic had given the Blues a surprise first half lead it was Arsenal who dominated and it was no surprise when Van Persie equalised 6 minutes before half time.

Arsenal probably should have put the game beyond Birminghams reach with the chances they had but Ben Foster in the Birmingham goal was in brilliant form and his string of fine saves deservedly earned him man of the match and Birminghams resiliance was rewarded with their 89th minute winner.

Now Arsenal will have to regroup and focus onthe other three trophies they are still competing in, while Birmingham will probably use this as a launch pad to pull away from the relegation zone. They will also play in the Europa League in 2012 whicch will give their fans a rare taste of European football.

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Welsh FA Cup Final 1995

The 1994-95 season was the last season that Welsh teams playing in the English league system (Cardiff City, Swansea City, Wrexham, Newport County, Merthyr Tydfil and Colwyn Bay) were allowed to participate in the Welsh FA Cup. Wrexham beat Cardiff City 2-1 at The National Stadium to lift the trophy for a record 23rd time with Gary Bennett scoring his 46th and 47th goals of the season!!

Arsene Wenger Hoping Arsenal Can Bring Home The Cup

The Silverware cleaner at the Emerites stadium has not been overworked of late , however Arsenal will be hoping to end their 5 year wait for a trophy.

They face fellow Premier League side Birmingham City in the League Cup Final and will be hoping to improve on their poor record in these finals having only won 2 of their 6 attempts, including a loss to Swindon Town back in 1969. Birmingham on the other hand have not had the Gunners success and their only major trophy was the League Cup back in 1963 when they beat neighbours Aston Villa 3-1 over 2 legs.

Arsenal have in past seasons not given this competition the respect it deserves, however this year they have looked determined to win it and with a strong squad named for todays final they are justifiable favourites.

Our view is that they will win by the odd goal so ending their trophy drought. They are still in with a chance in all four major competitions this year and like Manchester United and Chelsea in the past the confidence gained by having the first on the shelf could spur them on to bigger an better things.

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Llanelli AFC 4-0 Neath AFC | Welsh Cup Second Round | 03/10/08

The Reds beat Neath 4 0 at Stebo tonight in the second round of the Welsh Cup. Goals from Wyn Thomas (30) Stuart Jones (35) Rhys Griffiths (69) and a superb solo effort from Nicky Holland (90) saw the Reds safely through to the next round
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Neath AFC 2-3 Llanelli AFC ( AET & PENS ) | 03/10/09 | Welsh Cup Second Round

Llanelli AFC Beat Neath AFC In The Welsh Cup Second Round At The Gnoll On Saturday 3rd October It Was 1-1 At The End Of The Game, Then 2-2 At The End Of Extra Time And Llanelli AFC Won The Game On Penalties Thanks To Super Keeper Ashley Morris.

Italian Champions League fortunes suffer blow, United held

PARIS (AFP) – Italian football’s Champions League fortunes suffered a further blow as holders Inter Milan could not stem the tide of home defeats as they went down 1-0 at the San Siro to the team they beat in last season’s final, Bayern Munich.

Mario Gomez’ last minute goal on Wednesday saw Inter join city rivals AC Milan and AS Roma in succumbing to home reverses in their Last 16 first leg ties and in real danger of seeing not one representative from Serie A in the last eight in a competition they once dominated.

By contrast England could well have four of the last eight as Manchester United were held 0-0 away at French champions and France’s only ever winners of the tournament Marseille in an instantly forgettable encounter.

However, the result appeared to please both coaches, Marseille’s young handler Didier Deschamps – who guided Monaco to a surprise final spot in 2004 – and United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has two Champions League trophies to his credit.

Inter suffered from a lack of attacking options with Samuel Eto’o their sole specialist striker – but even so Gomez’ late winner could well have knocked the stuffing out of the Italian champions.

However, Inter coach Leonardo refused to accept that the defeat meant he had to change their tactics radically for the return leg in Munich.

“Of course it’s a bad defeat but the only thing that changes is your mood, it doesn’t change the game in Munich where we’ll go and try to win,” said Leonardo, who has engineered a revival in Inter’s form since he replaced Rafael Benitez in late December.

“Nothing is compromised. It’s hard to lose in the last minute but we played well.”

Gomez, who has been outstanding in all competitions for Bayern this season after a disappointing start to his career there, said his goal was rich reward for Bayern’s positive approach to the game.

“That was certainly my most important goal in the Champions League,” he said.

“When you score a goal just before the end, which seals an away win, that is, of course, very nice.

“We fought for everything, everything at the back, everything up front and we were rewarded at the end.”

Deschamps, who captained Marseille to the 1993 trophy, had already gone on the record to say that he wanted his team to keep a clean sheet and he admitted he was proud of the fact they had managed to do so.

“I am very happy with my players because they have done their best tonight as Manchester United showed what a good team they are,” said Deschamps, who also captained France to the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 trophies.

“Maybe we will have an opportunity to score in the second leg. It is not a bad result for us but it is a good one for United,” he added.

Ferguson conceded that the result left the outcome delicately balanced, but he took solace from the fact his side still have their fate in their own hands.

“This sort of result can be dangerous if you concede a goal at home,” said the 69-year-old Scot. “But it’s simple because if we win, we go through.

“It was a disappointing game but they (Marseille) were desperate not to concede a goal.

“But I also expected more of us offensively, as we didn’t make the most of our chances when we got into good positions.”

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King’s Lynn hero in fitness battle

King's Lynn hat-trick hero Steve Spriggs is battling to overcome a viral infection to be fit for tomorrow's FA Vase rematch. Picture: IAN BURT

King’s Lynn talisman Steve Spriggs is battling to overcome a viral infection to feature in tomorrow’s landmark FA Vase fifth round home tie against UCL title rivals St Neots at The Walks.

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Spriggs’ hat-trick helped Town inflict a first league defeat of the season on the leaders in last weekend’s 4-2 away win, but the wide player was a key absentee in the disappointing midweek draw at Cogenhoe.

The former FA Vase finalist admits he is desperate to feature in the biggest game of Town’s new era with a place in the last eight of the national competition at stake.

“I’m touch and go for Saturday, but I think I’ll be alright,” said Spriggs. “I’ve had a bit of a stomach bug and a viral infection – I think just through work I may have picked something up and it has left me quite weak and feeling very tired. I felt a lot better on Wednesday than I did the day before so hopefully that continues. I really want to get myself fit, but I won’t turn up Saturday and play if I feel I’ll let the lads down. You have to be closer to 100% fit than 50% for these types of game. If I don’t play, then I’ll definitely be there to support the boys.

“It will be the biggest crowd of the year and an occasion you want to be part of. We had a chat amongst the lads at training last week before the away game in the league and thought we would take 500 or 600 to St Neots. To get 900-odd just shows how big the club is. The fan base is fantastic. Even when we were 2-1 down, there was non stop singing and it does inspire the boys to give that little bit extra.”

Spriggs echoed joint boss Gary Setchell’s sentiments after Town failed to follow up with another league win at Cogenhoe.

“What Setch said was spot on. You don’t win leagues at St Neots, you win them at places like Cogenhoe, with all due respect to them,” he said. “From what I’ve heard and the chances we missed it is two points dropped but over the week we have gained a point on St Neots which is a plus point. They still have to come to our place and there is still a long way to go in the season. We have to stay positive and keep grinding out the results and I still feel we have a chance of getting promoted this year.”

Town missed Spriggs’ attacking verve on Tuesday after taking his tally to 16 goals in 28 appearances with his starring role at St Neots.

“I think the way we play suits me but to score at better than one in two, well, I’m quite happy with that at the moment,” he said. “It’s important we have lads chipping in around Jack (Defty) because to score 32 at whatever level is phenomenal. Honestly, if I had put all my chances away I could have had six but on a personal level to get a hat-trick in a game of that size was really pleasing.

“We prepared right and we did everything right. Norton away in the FA Vase was a big game but that was obviously the biggest we have had this season. Going into that game we knew if they won that put them seven points clear. They haven’t dropped many points so far so it would have been a big ask to pull that back.”

• King’s Lynn’s ticket office will be open between 5pm and 7pm at The Walks today for supporters looking to purchase tickets in advance for tomorrow’s FA Vase fifth round tie. Turnstiles will be open from 1pm on matchday. Club officials are advising supporters to arrive early at the ground for a match that is set to attract the largest attendance since the club was re-launched last year.

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FA Trophy Fourth Round Proper 26/11/2011

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The quarter final FA Trophy matches are scheduled for 3.00pm on Saturday these being:

Blyth Spartans v Gateshead

Guiseley v Luton Town

Darlington v Salisbury City

Chasetown  v Mansfield Town

Luton are strong favourires to lift the Trophy and should be good enough to come through against Guisele , who have done well to reach this stage. It wont be easy for them however and it could take a replay.

Unfortunately from a neutral fans viewpoint its hard to see the games not going to form and we expect the semi finals to comprise:

Gateshead

Luton Town

Darlington

Mansfield Town

Ironically all ex league clubs in one guise or another. Gateshead seem to be hitting a bit of form at the right time and the 7-1 odds offered by William Hills looks a reasonable bet and is much better than Betfair are currently offering showing the exchanges are not always the best place to have a flutter.

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