There was Championship action at Ewood Park this Friday evening with Blackburn Rovers skippered by Darragh Lenihan going down to a two one defeat by local rivals Preston North End who included Alan Browne and Greg Cunningham in their starting eleven with loanee Cunningham opening the scoring with a stunning left foot strike on 19 minutes following a brilliant cross field pass from captain Browne. There was a three minute cameo appearance with the victors for another loanee Jayson Molumby.
The FA Cup fifth round matches were completed this Thursday evening but without any Irish involvement as Southampton prevailed by two goals to nil at Wolverhampton Wanderers while Chelsea scored the only goal at Championship side Barnsley.
The FA Cup Quarter-Final draw was also made this evening and produced the following pairings:-
AFC Bournemouth v Southampton
Chelsea v Sheffield United
Everton v Manchester City
Leicester City v Manchester United
The ties are scheduled for the week ending Sunday the 21st March 2021, just three days before Ireland face Serbia in our opening 2022 World Cup qualifier. Irish players who may be involved in the cup contests include Seamus Coleman(Everton), John Egan and Enda Stevens(Sheffield United), Mark Travers who has today been recalled by AFC Bournemouth from his loan stint at Swindon Town. There are unconfirmed reports this Friday afternoon that David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) may be considering revoking his international retirement decision.
There were four further FA Cup Round 5 ties completed this Wednesday evening. Swansea City included Ryan Manning in their starting eleven as they went down to a three one defeat by visitors Manchester City while Conor Hourihane was a 76th minute substitute for the ‘Swans’. Aaron Connolly was an unused substitute for Brighton & Hove Albion who lost to the only goal in the fourth minute of added time at Leicester City. Sheffield United scored the only goal from the penalty spot to defeat Championship side Bristol City at Bramall Lane. John Egan and David McGoldrick were both in the ‘Blades’ side while Max O’Leary was in goal for the visiting ‘Robins’. Everton and Tottenham Hotspur played out a dramatic encounter in Goodison Park with the hosts going through to the quarter-finals on a five four scoreline after extra-time. Matt Doherty started for the visitors while Seamus Coleman was a 54th minute substitute for the victors.
Shane Duffy was a 68th minute substitute for Glasgow Celtic who defeated St Mirren by four goals to nil in the Scottish Premiership.
The FA Cup fifth round kicked-off at 5.30pm this Tuesday afternoon with Burnley exiting the competition following a two nil defeat by Championship side AFC Bournemouth at Turf Moor. The ‘Clarets’ included Kevin Long and Jimmy Dunne in their starting eleven while Gavin Kilkenny was an unused substitute for the ‘Cherries’. Later in the day, Manchester United progressed to the quarter-final with a one nil extra-time victory over visitors West Ham United at Old Trafford. Eighteen year old striker Ademipo Odubeko was a 54th minute substitute for the ‘Hammers’.
There was also Championship action this evening with Sheffield Wednesday defeating visitors Wycombe Wanderers by two goals to nil at Hillsborough where Keiren Westwood was in action for the hosts while Daryl Horgan started for the visitors.
League One saw Bristol Rovers and Oxford United lock horns in the Memorial Ground where the visitors emerged victorious by two goals to nil. Olamide Shodipo started for the victors while Liam Kelly, Mark Sykes and Anthony Forde were all introduced from the substitute bench. Current leaders Lincoln City travelled to second place Hull City where the sided played out a scoreless draw. Anthony Scully was an unused substitute for the visitors. Two further promotion chasers meet at London Road where Peterborough United and Jack Taylor came from behind to defeat visitors Ipswich Town by two goals to one. The ‘Tractor Boys’ included Mark McGuinness, Alan Judge, Troy Parrott and Stephen Ward in their starting eleven while Aaron Drinan was an unused substitute. Fratton Park hosted the meeting of Portsmouth and Swindon Town where Ronan Curtis scored for the hosts after 8 minutes while Marcus Harness was withdrawn on 59 minutes of their two nil victory. Mark Travers was in goal for the the visitors but injury ruled out Conor Masterson. Rochdale included Manchester City loanee Gavin Bazunu in their starting eleven as they crashed to a four one home defeat by visitors MK Dons who included recent signing Warren O’Hora in their starting eleven. Aiden McGeady and Aiden O’Brien both started for Sunderland at Shrewsbury Town with O’Brien opening the scoring after 21 minutes but the hosts recovered to secure a two one victory.
In League Two, Bolton Wanderers were held to a one all draw by visitors Morecambe. Loanee Zack Elbouzedi was introduced from the home substitute bench on 78 minutes while Eoin Doyle was in their starting eleven. Aston Villa loanee Tyreik Wilson provided the assist for the Walsall goal in their one all draw with visitors Mansfield Town. Liam Kinsella was also in midfield for the hosts.