Mon, Jan 25, 2010 - Page 18 News List

THE FA CUP: Leeds’ FA Cup adventure goes on

AFP , LONDON

Preston North End goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan makes a save against Chelsea during their FA Cup match at Deepdale in Preston, England, on Saturday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Leeds United’s thrilling FA Cup adventure goes on after a penalty equalizer in the sixth minute of stoppage-time ensured Simon Grayson’s side took Tottenham Hotspur to a fourth-round replay.

Jermaine Beckford, Leeds’ match-winner in their third-round victory over Manchester United, was the hero again, coolly converting a spot-kick to earn the League One (third division) side a 2-2 draw and a second chance of reaching the last 16.

Notts County also lived to fight another day after coming within seven minutes of a classic giant-killing act before being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with Premier League club Wigan Athletic.

Holders Chelsea eased into the fifth round at the expense of Preston North End, while Reading followed up their elimination of Liverpool in the last round by accounting for another Premier League side, Burnley.

There was no doubt, however, that the biggest drama of the day came at White Hart Lane, where Leeds United looked dead and buried until Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson was adjudged to have brought down Beckford deep into stoppage-time.

The striker had canceled out Peter Crouch’s opener for Spurs early in the second half, but Leeds had appeared to be on their way out after Roman Pavlyuchenko came off the bench to restore the hosts’ lead a quarter of an hour from the end.

In the end though Spurs were left to rue their failure to capitalize on their dominance in an opening spell in which Jermain Defoe failed to convert a penalty of his own.

Notts County, who are threatened with bankruptcy because of an unpaid tax bill, were on track for a famous win over Wigan Athletic after opening up a two-goal first-half lead through former West Bromwich Albion striker Lee Hughes and Ben Davies, but the League Two (fourth division) side allowed Wigan back into the contest through Jason Scotland and Ben Watson’s 83rd-minute equalizer sent the tie to a replay.

County’s caretaker manager, Dave Kevan, said: “I thought the lads were fantastic, but when we look at it again in the cold light of day, we’ll have mixed feelings. They know they’ve had a great opportunity to cause an upset and sadly that hasn’t quite developed.”

County’s League Two counterparts Accrington Stanley, the lowest-ranked club left in the tournament, went down to a 3-1 defeat by Fulham after having Darran Kempson sent off just before halftime.

At that stage, the tiny Lancashire club were matching their Premier League guests, with Michael Symes having canceled out Erik Nevland’s opener for Fulham, but the home side tired after the break and Damien Duff and Zoltan Gera sent the Londoners through.

“They made life very difficult for us, but in the second half we showed them more of our qualities and ended up winning the game relatively comfortably,” Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said.

Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge struck either side of halftime as Chelsea advanced to the last 16 with a 2-0 win over struggling Championship side Preston North End.

Reading ensured they joined them in the draw when Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson scored an 87th-minute winner against Burnley.

Birmingham City extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches with a 2-1 win at Everton. Christian Benitez and Barry Ferguson gave Alex McLeish’s on-form side a first-half lead and despite pulling a goal back through Leon Osman, Everton were unable to conjure up an equalizer.

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