Sam Corne scores for Maidstone United

FA Cup: Fourth Round Review

The fourth round of the oldest cup competition in world football was enthralling, and it saw one particularly significant ‘cupset’ take place.

Aside from Monday night’s FA Cup contest between Blackburn Rovers and League Two side Wrexham, all of the 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round ties were contested over the course of Thursday to Sunday last week. This competition is infamous for its ‘cupsets’ over the years, and whilst in most games the favourites did go through, there was one game in particular where David did beat Goliath.

Before we go ahead and review each of the matches, here are all of the fourth round FA Cup matches that took place up and down the country last week:

  • AFC Bournemouth (Premier League) v Swansea City (Championship).
  • Sheffield Wednesday (Championship) v Coventry City (Championship).
  • Chelsea (Premier League) v Aston Villa (Premier League).
  • Bristol City (Championship) v Nottingham Forest (Premier League).
  • Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) v Manchester City (Premier League).
  • Ipswich Town (Championship) v Maidstone United (Vanarama National League South).
  • Sheffield United (Premier League) v Brighton (Premier League).
  • Leeds United (Championship) v Plymouth Argyle (Championship).
  • Leicester City (Championship) v Birmingham City (Championship).
  • Everton (Premier League) v Luton Town (Premier League).
  • Fulham (Premier League) v Newcastle United (Premier League).
  • West Bromwich Albion (Championship) v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League).
  • Watford (Championship) v Southampton (Championship).
  • Liverpool (Premier League) v Norwich City (Championship).
  • Newport County (League Two) v Manchester United (Premier League).

There were some standout ties. This included Chelsea against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, Manchester City’s trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face Spurs, the Black Country Derby between West Brom and Wolves and non-league Maidstone making the trip to high-flying Championship side Ipswich Town.

In this review, we are going to go through the games in order, starting with the only 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round tie to take place last Thursday – Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth welcoming a Swansea City side led by Luke Williams at the Vitality Stadium.

AFC Bournemouth (Premier League) 5 – 0 Swansea City (Championship)

This was one of the highest-scoring games of the round, with Bournemouth opening the action in the Fourth Round in devastating fashion. Andoni Iraola’s Cherries were in ruthless form, scoring all five goals in the opening forty-five minutes of this contest on the South Coast. The club at the end of this emphatic score line was Championship side Swansea City.

Bournemouth took the lead through a great volley from Lloyd Kelly before ex-Bristol City midfielder Alex Scott made it two with just 10 minutes gone. Leeds loanee Luis Sinisterra made it 3 – 0 a few minutes later (14’) before David Brooks added a fourth with just over half an hour gone (35’). Dominic Solanke scored his side’s fifth and final goal in the dying embers of the first half (44’) to complete a devastating performance from the home side.

Sheffield Wednesday (Championship) 1 – 1 Coventry City (Championship)

This was the first tie whose outcome must be decided in a replay. Two Championship sides came face to face at Hillsborough Stadium, with Sheffield Wednesday taking on Coventry City in the fourth round.

Danish midfielder Victor Torp gave Coventry the lead with a stunning and powerful long range effort on the stroke of half time (45’). However, the Sky Blues could not hold on to their slender advantage, with the Owls finding the goal to restore parity, making it 1 – 1 thanks to a goal from forward Djeidi Gassama (84’) late on in the second half.

The replay will be played at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Tuesday, 6th February 2024, in a 19:45 Kick-Off.

Chelsea (Premier League) 0 – 0 Aston Villa (Premier League)

Another FA Cup Fourth Round tie that is going to a replay is between Chelsea and Aston Villa, who came face to face at Stamford Bridge on Friday night. In the end, despite the efforts of both sets of players, a 0 – 0 stalemate was played out between these two Premier League sides, with a replay at Villa Park needed to decide the outcome of this tie.

Possession wise, the game was quite even, with the Blues edging it with 57% compared to the Villa’s 43%. Shots wise, Chelsea had 10 compared to the Villans’ 13. The home side had 4 efforts on target as opposed to their visitors’ 5.

The replay will be played at Villa Park on Wednesday, 7th, February, 2024, in a 20:00 Kick-Off.

Bristol City (Championship) 0 – 0 Nottingham Forest (Premier League)

Championship club Bristol City welcomed Premier League side Nottingham Forest to Ashton Gate for their 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round tie on Friday night. Despite the chances created by both sides, neither could break the deadlock. It was a 0 – 0 draw, and the outcome of this tie is set to take place at the City Ground on Wednesday, 7th February 2024, in a 19:45 Kick-Off.

Possession was even, with the two clubs having 50% of the ball each. The Robins had 9 shots, but none found the target. Whilst the home side could not have a shot on target, the visiting Reds saw 2 of their 7 find the target, but no goals.

Spurs (Premier League) 0 – 1 Manchester City (Premier League)

Two Premier League heavyweights went head to head at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London in one of the most eye-catching ties of the Fourth Round. In the end, a goal from ex-Bournemouth and current Netherlands international Nathan Aké secured City’s spot in the fifth round.

Amazingly, this was the first-ever goal scored by Pep Guardiola’s City since Tottenham moved to their new ground since they moved there in 2019. This was also the Cityzens’ first win in all competitions at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since it opened.

Possession was pretty even, with Spurs having 43% compared to City’s 57%. Spurs had 1 shot and 1 on target compared to the Cityzens, who had 5 of their 18 shots find the target.

Ipswich Town (Championship) 1 – 2 Maidstone United (Vanarama National League South)

The biggest shock of the fourth round and probably the 2023/24 FA Cup as a whole came at Portman Road, where Kieran McKenna’s Premier League promotion-chasing Ipswich Town took on Maidstone United from the sixth tier of English Football. The Vanarama National League side were led in this match by former Wolves and Nottingham Forest central defender George Elokobi.

In the end, it was to be a sensational 2 – 1 win for Maidstone in a match that saw David beat Goliath. Lamar Reynolds gave the non-league side the lead in the latter stages of the first half, meaning that the Stones led by one goal to nil going into the halftime break (43’). Brighton loanee then equalised for the Tractor Boys in the early stages of the second half. Sam Corne scored the winner with just over twenty minutes of the match remaining.

Elokobi’s Maidstone United scored with both of their 2 shots in the game. Ipswich had 38 shots, with 13 finding the target. The home side also had no less than 79% possession compared to Maidstone United’s 21%.

Sheffield United (Premier League) 2 – 5 Brighton & Hove Albion (Premier League)

Another all-Premier League clash in the 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round came in the form of Sheffield United and Brighton & Hove Albion going head to head at Bramall Lane as they both targeted a spot in the fifth round of this season’s competition. Ultimately, it was an emphatic 5 – 2 victory away from home to Roberto de Zerbi’s Seagulls.

Facundo Buonanotte gave the away side the lead in some style with a superb strike on goal with just over ten minutes gone. Former Watford forward doubled Brighton’s advantage from the penalty spot with almost half an hour having elapsed (29’). Goals from Gustavo Hamer (44’) and William Osula (45+8’) restored parity at 2 – 2 for the Blades going into the half time break.

Joao Pedro scored from the spot in the early stages of the second half to re-establish Brighton’s lead, with the away side scoring again through Pedro, who completed his hat-trick with a powerful finish into the back of the net with barely more than twenty minutes of the contest remaining (67’). Danny Welbeck then added a fifth deep into the second-half stoppage time (90+7’).

Leeds United (Championship) 1 – 1 Plymouth Argyle (Championship)

A tie between two Championship clubs is another tie which is going to go to a replay. Daniel Farke’s Leeds United welcomed a fellow Championship side in the form of a Plymouth Argyle side led by Ian Foster at Elland Road. In the end, it was a 1 – 1 draw between these two clubs in Yorkshire.

Jaidon Anthony gave the home side the lead just after half an hour had elapsed with a wonderful run and finish (31’). Adam Randell then scored the equalising goal to restore parity with less than twenty minutes of the match remaining (73’).

Leeds dominated possession with 67% compared to the Plymouth’s 33%. The home side saw 8 of their 18 shots find the target compared to the away side, who saw 2 of their 7 shots find the target.

The replay will take place at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park on Tuesday, 6th February 2024, in a 19:45 Kick-Off.

Leicester City (Championship) 3 – 0 Birmingham City (Championship)

Another all-Championship 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round tie took place at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Championship league leaders Leicester City taking on Birmingham City. In the end, Enzo Maresca’s Foxes were emphatic 3 – 0 winners.

Jamie Vardy gave the home side the lead early in the second half after the tie had been 0 – 0 at the half time break (47’). New signing Yunus Akgun then doubled Leicester City’s advantage before Dennis Praet ensured the victory with just moments remaining (88’).

Everton (Premier League) 1 – 2 Luton Town (Premier League)

Sean Dyche’s Everton welcomed a Luton Town side to Goodison Park in another all-Premier League clash in the Fourth Round of the 2023/24 FA Cup. This tight and emphatic game eventually ended up being a narrow 2 – 1 victory for the Rob Edwards’ Hatters side on Merseyside.

It was the away side who took the lead thanks to an own goal from Vitaliy Mykolenko (39’). Ex-Manchester City and on loan Leeds United forward Jack Harrison restored parity, making it 1 – 1 on the day in the very early stages of the second half (55’). Substitute Cauley Woodrow scored a late winner for Luton deep into the second half’s stoppage time when it looked likely that this FA Cup tie would go to a replay.

Fulham (Premier League) 0 – 2 Newcastle United (Premier League)

Fulham and Newcastle, led by Marco Silva and Eddie Howe, respectively, came face to face in the Fourth Round of the 2023/24 FA Cup on Saturday afternoon. Following an entertaining contest, it was to be the Magpies who would secure their place in the fifth round thanks to a comfortable 2 – 0 win at Craven Cottage in West London.

Sean Longstaff gave Newcastle the lead (39’) before Dan Burn ensured the win with a close range effort with less than half an hour remaining.

Possession was pretty even, with 57% for Fulham and 43% for the visiting Newcastle United side. The Cottagers had 2 of their 14 shots on target, compared to the visitors, who had 6 of their 8 shots find the target on the day.

West Brom (Championship) 0 – 2 Wolves (Premier League)

In another eye-catching 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round tie, West Brom took on Wolves in the Black Country Derby at The Hawthorns on Sunday. In the end, Gary O’Neil’s side were able to show their Premier League pedigree, securing what was a comfortable 2 – 0 win in what was a heated occasion.

Pedro Neto gave the away side the lead late in the first half (38’) before Matheus Cunha doubled their advantage late in the second half (78’).

Possession was slightly in favour of the home side, with West Brom having 52% of the ball compared to Wolves’ 48%. The Baggies had 4 of their 12 shots on target, whilst the visitors had 4 of their 8 efforts on target.

Watford (Championship) 1 – 1 Southampton (Championship)

The final all-Championship tie between Watford and Southampton resulted in a 1 – 1 draw at Vicarage Road. This means that St. Mary’s Stadium on the South Coast will host a replay of this 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round tie on Tuesday, 6th February 2024, in a 19:45 Kick-Off.

Matheus Martins gave the hosting Hornets an early advantage (5’) before Stuart Armstrong scored a very late equaliser in the dying embers of the contest for the Saints (89’). The away side did dominate possession with 70% of the ball compared to the hosts’ 30%.

Watford also had 4 of their 13 shots on target compared to 8 out of 19 for Southampton.

Liverpool (Premier League) 5 – 2 Norwich City (Championship)

It was an emotional day at Anfield on Sunday, with Liverpool’s FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Championship side Norwich City being the first since Reds Boss Jurgen Klopp announced that he would be leaving the club at the conclusion of the 2023/24 season. Ultimately, it was an emphatic 5 – 2 victory on the Red side of Stanley Park for the home side.

Reds Academy Graduate Curtis Jones gave his team the lead early on before the Canaries found their equaliser thanks to central defender Ben Gibson (22’). A Darwin Nunez goal just before half an hour had elapsed re-established the home side’s advantage, and his side led 2 – 1 at half time (28’).

Diogo Jota extended Liverpool’s advantage early in the second half (53’) before Virgil van Dijk extended the Reds’ advantage to 4 – 1 just ten minutes later (63’). Borja Sainz did pull a goal back for Norwich before the Canaries were 5 – 2 down deep into stoppage time, thanks to a goal from Ryan Gravenberch (90+5’).

Newport County (League Two) 2 – 4 Manchester United (Premier League)

The final 2023/24 FA Cup Fourth Round tie that we will look at here is the one between League Two side Newport County and Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United at Rodney Parade on Sunday evening. It was a tricky game for the Premier League side, who did eventually manage to secure a 4 – 2 win in the end.

Portuguese midfield maestro Bruno Fernandes gave the Red Devils the lead with less than ten minutes gone (7’). 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo then scored his first-ever senior goal for the club to make it 2 – 0 just a few minutes later (13’). Newport then made a comeback, getting on back through Bryn Morris (36’) before equalising just after half time thanks to a goal from Will Evans (47’).

Erik Ten Hag’s side did then take charge, with Antony restoring United’s lead with just over twenty minutes left before forward Rasmus Højlund made sure of the victory and passage into the Fifth Round with a goal deep into second-half stoppage time (90+4’).

The Fourth Round will be completed with Blackburn Rovers’ game against Wrexham at Ewood Park on Monday evening.

Below are all the aforementioned replays:

  • Southampton (Championship) v Watford (Championship) – Tuesday 6th February, 19:45 Kick-Off.
  • Coventry City (Championship) v Sheffield Wednesday (Championship) – Tuesday 6th February, 19:45 Kick-Off.
  • Plymouth Argyle (Championship) v Leeds United (Championship) – Tuesday 6th February, 19:45 Kick-Off.
  • Nottingham Forest (Premier League) v Bristol City (Championship) – Wednesday 7th February, 19:45 Kick Off.
  • Aston Villa (Premier League) v Chelsea (Premier League) – Wednesday 7th February, 20:00 Kick-Off.

The draw for the Fifth Round of the 2023/24 FA Cup was made during the clash between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield on Sunday. The draw is as follows:

  • Blackburn Rovers (Championship) or Wrexham (League Two) vs. Newcastle United (Premier League).
  • Chelsea (Premier League) or Aston Villa (Premier League) vs. Leeds United (Championship) or Plymouth Argyle (Championship).
  • AFC Bournemouth (Premier League) vs. Leicester City (Championship).
  • Liverpool (Premier League) vs. Watford (Championship) or Southampton (Championship).
  • Bristol City (Championship) or Nottingham Forest (Premier League) vs. Manchester United (Premier League).
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League) vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Premier League).
  • Sheffield Wednesday (Championship) or Coventry City (Championship) vs. Maidstone United (Vanarama National League South).
  • Luton Town (Premier League) vs. Manchester City (Premier League).

The fourth round of the 2023/24 FA Cup competition was enthralling, and whilst attention will now turn back to the Premier League, excitement and anticipation will nonetheless be building ahead of the FA Cup Fifth Round getting underway.

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