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  1. FA Cup Quarter-final predictions

    Please note that I have made my judgements before the midweek fixtures, so it will be important to check out the results to see if there are any pointers to a team’s change in form, key injuries, suspensions and so on.

    But, as it stands, this is how I see the weekend's FA Cup ties panning out....

    Bradford City v Reading, Saturday 7 March (Kick-off 12:45pm)

    Having beaten Chelsea and Sunderland already this season in the competition, I can’t back against Bradford City.
    Perversely, Reading are likely to give the Bantams a much tougher game and could easily take the game or earn a replay.
    However, Reading have lost nine on the road this season in the Championship, leaking 33 goals in the process.
    But, and it’s a big but, in the ...

    Updated Yesterday at 09:01 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    Betting , Competitions , FA Cup
  2. The FA Cup quarter-final – another West Midlands affair

    My team to follow in the last round of the FA Cup was West Bromwich Albion and, after they saw off West Ham United in a convincing 4-0 victory in the 5th round, the honour remains with the Baggies as we enter the quarter-final stage of the competition.

    It doesn’t seem long since I was previewing the titanic West Midlands FA Cup clash between West Brom and Birmingham City and now we have another Midlands derby in store as the Albion travel to Aston Villa who are now under the stewardship of new boss Tim Sherwood.

    Both clubs have had success in the FA Cup but in the case of the Baggies you have to go back to 1968 for their last triumph. Albion had previously lifted the trophy on four occasions.

    Villa meanwhile have lifted the iconic trophy seven times, ...
  3. FA Cup Saturday fourfold

    With many of the favored teams already knocked out of the world's greatest cup competition, half of the weekend's FA Cup 5th round ties being spread across Saturday afternoon presents an intriguing prospect for a rewarding fourfold.

    West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United

    Despite being a cup game, it's likely each team's differing league ambitions will have a major influence on this tie. While the visitors sit comfortably in the higher reaches of the top division, Baggies minds are firmly fixed on the essential Premier League survival.

    Albion will be encouraged by a New Year's Day draw in East London when manager-in-waiting Tony Pulis looked on from the Upton Park stands.

    However, as the Hammers can boast a 2-1 league win at The Hawthorns as recently as two months ago ...
  4. West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United – East meets West in the FA Cup

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    My hypothetical blogger’s FA Cup baton didn’t stay long in the hands of Birmingham City as they immediately handed it over to local rivals West Bromwich Albion in the last round of the competition.

    The draw, made by Gary Lineker live on the BBC’s One Show, set up a meeting of the West Midlands club and their East London Premier League rivals West Ham United.



    Both clubs have had success in the FA Cup, in the case of the Baggies you have to go back to 1968 for their last triumph, when a Jeff Astle goal three minutes into extra time saw off Everton.

    Albion had previously lifted the trophy in 1888, 1892, 1931 and 1954. Their most recent victory ...

    Updated 12th February 2015 at 08:47 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  5. Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion – a West Midlands FA Cup showdown

    I originally handed my special FA Cup bloggers baton to Tooting and Mitcham United. My unscientific choice was simply because the name struck a chord with me from the 1970s sitcom Citizen Smith starring Robert Lindsay.

    Tooting’s FA Cup journey had begun back in August last year with a 0-0 draw at home to Three Bridges FC, followed by a 4-1 win in the replay.

    Tooting stormed through the next round against Bishop's Stortford at the second attempt, before losing out to East Thurrock United in the competitions Third Qualifying round.

    East Thurrock had grabbed my hypothetical baton and proceeded to sprint past Bath City, giving them a 7-1 thrashing in the process.

    Hartlepool United then briefly took over ownership by knocking out the Essex ...

    Updated 18th January 2015 at 04:19 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  6. A FA Cup classic - Blues hold off brave Blyth

    By Steve Sands (AFS Contributor)

    It must have been a half time team talk of Churchill like proportions delivered by Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett to his troops at Blyth Spartans on Saturday.

    With his side trailing 2-0 to FA Cup giant killers Blyth at the break, Rowett sent the Blues out inspired for the second period. Birmingham stormed back to progress through to the Fourth Round of the competition with a 3-2 victory over the plucky Spartans.

    In many ways, the turnaround mirrored Birmingham’s season. Back in October when the former Burton Albion boss was appointed at St Andrews, the West Midlands side were next to bottom of the table with just 11 points from their first 14 games.

    Rowett was given the opportunity at the Championship ...

    Updated 4th January 2015 at 02:44 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  7. FA Cup – Giants against minnows; Scunthorpe United v Worcester City

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    I decided to feature the Scunthorpe United v Worcester City FA Cup game as soon as the balls came out of the pot.

    I remember as a teenager regularly going across the newly opened Humber Bridge on a Friday night, astride my first motorbike, to travel the 23 miles down the A1077 to Scunthorpe’s Old Show Ground.

    This would be in the early 1980s when the likes of Steve Cammack, Chris Cowling and Neil Pointon were playing for the Iron in the old Fourth Division.

    I particularly remember one occasion coming back across the Bridge in the middle of the most stunning of electrical storms - memories indeed.

    And Worcester has always been one of my favourite places to visit, although more for the ...

    Updated 4th December 2014 at 07:59 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  8. My blogging journey to date

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    In celebration of ten weeks, 20 blogs and 25,000 page views, here is a quick recap and update on the topics I’ve covered.

    Blyth Spartans
    The road to Wembley continues with Blyth’s live televised trip to Hartlepool on Friday 5th December with a 7.55pm kick off. In the meantime the Spartans have league games against Kings Lynn Town, Ilkeston and Witton Albion to concentrate on before their big day.

    Booing
    The Spurs fans seem to have decided booing your own team can have a positive affect!
    However, Emmanuel Adebayor recently told the Guardian that Tottenham’s players are struggling with the pressure of a negative atmosphere at White Hart Lane “Instead of booing people, which will make it even worse, ...

    Updated 21st November 2014 at 08:11 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    11v11
  9. BBC’s FA Cup focus – Hull, Hartlepool and howay the lads

    By Steve Sands (Hull correspondent)

    Recently, I put forward the argument that Hull was the true centre of the football universe. Right on cue, further evidence emerged this week to back up this assertion as the BBC announced that live coverage of the Third Round draw of the FA Cup will be coming live from the fair city of Hull.

    The draw will take place on Monday 8 December at 7pm on BBC Two and will be hosted once again by Mark Chapman. Cup excitement will hit fever pitch as the remaining League One, League Two and non-League clubs desperately hope to land a glamour tie against one of the big boys.

    To add a Newcastle theme to the event, the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer Alan Shearer will be on hand to draw the balls. I’m sure he’ll be ...

    Updated 14th November 2014 at 06:10 PM by 11v11

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  10. Hartlepool United will play... number 39, Blyth Spartans

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    You only have to think of the FA Cup and you are immediately transported to a world of clichés, a land inhabited by giants and minnows, where cup fever is always on the boil and the magic of the competition is constantly in the air.

    I started this series of FA Cup blogs by picking a team to follow in the early rounds of the competition. That team was Tooting and Mitcham United, who were subsequently beaten by East Thurrock United. The ‘Rocks’ were then in my spotlight as they thrashed Bath City, before the plucky boys from Essex were knocked out by Hartlepool United last Saturday.

    At 1,000-1 to win the Cup, Hartlepool may not be the pick of this week's football bets, but I am now following the Pool into the Second ...

    Updated 11th November 2014 at 07:57 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
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