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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Southampton, Leeds United, Coventry City all advance to FA Cup fifth round

Southampton, Leeds United and Coventry City all progress to the FA Cup fifth round after winning fourth-round replays against fellow Championship opposition.

Southampton, Leeds United and Coventry City have all progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup after winning their respective fourth-round replays against fellow Championship opposition on Tuesday night.

The best game of the night arguably took place at the Coventry Building Society Arena, where the Sky Blues ran out 4-1 winners against Sheffield Wednesday to set up a fifth-round tie with National League South side Maidstone United.

In an enthralling end-to-end first half, the Sky Blues opened the scoring just three minutes in when Kasey Palmer fired a low-driven shot into the bottom corner.

However, the Owls responded well and restored parity just seven minutes later when Bailey Cadamarteri placed a low strike from the edge of the six-yard box in off the far post.

Coventry came out the blocks again after the interval and scored three goals in the space of just eight minutes; Callum O’Hare firstly netted a superb quickfire brace before Haji Wright headed home from around four yards out to put the hosts firmly in control.

Ellis Simms should have added a fifth in the closing stages, but Mark Robins‘s men eventually eased to victory, ending their three-game winless run in all competitions.

Che Adams celebrates scoring for Southampton on August 2023

© Reuters

Down on the South Coast, Southampton and Watford both made seven changes for their encounter at St Mary’s, but the hosts managed to navigate their way to victory via a 3-0 scoreline, extending their unbeaten run to 24 matches in all competitions in the process.

In a first-half of few clear-cut chances, the Hornets came closest to breaking the deadlock when Ismael Kone‘s deflected effort from outside the penalty area looped up and off the face of the crossbar, shortly before Daniel Bachmann made a huge save with his outstretched right foot to deny Saints striker Che Adams at the other end.

Southampton eventually broke the deadlock seven minutes after the interval when Adams teed up Sekou Mara for a first-time finish, before the Frenchman double his tally with a thunderous 20-yard strike just six minutes later following a sweeping counter-attack.

After setting up both goals for Mara, Adams put the game to bed 14 minutes from time when he met Joe Rothwell‘s free kick to slot home a first-time finish at the near post – his 10th goal of the season.

Samuel Edozie and 17-year-old Sam Amo-Ameyaw both rattled the woodwork in the closing stages, but the Saints eventually ran out comfortable winners against a lacklustre Watford outfit, and Russell Martin‘s men will march into a fifth-round tie against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield.

Leeds United's Wilfried Gnonto reacts on December 16, 2023© Reuters

Meanwhile, Leeds required extra time to beat Plymouth Argyle 4-1 at Home Park to set up a fifth-round tie against either Aston Villa or Chelsea.

Both sides had their fair share of chances in the first half, but Leeds hit the woodwork twice in the opening 20 minutes – Mateo Joseph swivelled and fired an effort towards Conor Hazard, who superbly parried the ball onto the post, six minutes before Joel Piroe rattled the crossbar with a powerful strike from outside the area.

Leeds’ persistence in the final third was eventually rewarded on the 66-minute mark when Wilfried Gnonto, a real livewire in attack, stopped Glen Kamara‘s pass on the edge of the area and did brilliantly to dig the ball from almost underneath his feet to fire a powerful strike into the bottom corner.

Plymouth refused to cave in, though, and managed to draw level 12 minutes later from a free kick, with Ashley Phillips heading the ball across goal to Brendan Galloway, who instinctively chested the ball into an empty net from just a few yards out.

Joe Gelhardt almost snatched victory for Leeds deep into second-half stoppage time, but the youngster’s left-footed strike smacked the right-hand post. However, fellow substitutes Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter had the clinical touch in extra time.

Summerville cut inside from the left and curled a sweet strike into the top-right corner seven minutes after the restart, before setting up Rutter to bundle home a third on the 111-minute mark. Plymouth’s Ryan Hardie then headed Ilia Gruev‘s corner into his own net in the dying embers to seal victory for Daniel Farke‘s men.

All FA Cup fifth-round ties are scheduled to be played the week commencing February 26.

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