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    Man City’s FA Cup clash win over Cheltenham paused by five-minute FIREWORK display as referee fears for players’ safety

    MANCHESTER CITY’S FA Cup game win over Cheltenham was paused for five minutes due to a FIREWORK display.
    Rockets exploded directly over the Jonny-Rocks Stadium in colourful scenes that called a halt to play.

    Saturday’s FA Cup tie was momentarily halted amid fears for players’ safetyCredit: PA:Press Association

    Referee Stuart Attwell was forced to stop the fourth-round tie for fear of debris landing on the pitch.
    Players from either side received tactical refreshers as the fireworks took off.
    But the display continued for a full five minutes and Cheltenham boss Michael Duff was seen sharing a joke with Attwell about the delay.
    Commentators on BBC Sport’s live coverage of the match reported on police officers being sent to deal with the display.

    Cheltenham’s stadium is located in a residential area of the Gloucestershire town, with the display taking place right over the Colin Farmer Stand on one side of the ground.
    The fireworks interrupted a hugely promising first-half for the League Two side, who entered the break goalless versus the Premier League giants.
    The scenes were similar to the third-round tie between West Ham and Stockport.
    Fireworks exploded over Edgeley Park, causing play to be halted like it was on Saturday evening.


    Cheltenham and Manchester City players milled around during the delayCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Play was halted for five minutes because of the displayCredit: AFP
    And fans were left crediting the display with being the liveliest thing to happen in the goalless first-half as City laboured against Cheltenham.
    Twitter user Ryan joked: “The fireworks going off has been the most entertaining thing in the entire game so far.”
    One City fan commented: “Highlights of the half has been those fireworks.”
    While Charlie tweeted: “Fireworks were the most entertaining part of that half.”
    But Jordy rued: “Played really well and let down by idiot fans.”

    Credit: AFP

    Credit: EPA

    After the drab first 45 there were certainly fireworks on the pitch after the break.
    Cheltenham took a shock lead against Pep Guardiola’s side when Alfie May scored on the hour.
    City laboured and the Robins looked like they would go on to score one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history.
    But Man City rallied late, scoring three goals in the final ten minutes to break Cheltenham hearts.
    Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres were on target to set up a meeting with Swansea City.

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    Cheltenham 1 Man City 3: Foden and Jesus complete Prem giants’ comeback after May strike teased mega cupset

    PHIL FODEN spared Manchester City’s blushes – just as Pep Guardiola was facing a May day emergency.
    League Two minnows Cheltenham looked set to claim one of the biggest scalps in FA Cup history when Alfie May gave them a second-half lead.

    Phil Foden popped up with a late leveller as Man City’s blushes were spared in the FA CupCredit: AFP

    Alfie May had given Cheltenham a famous lead on Saturday eveningCredit: EPA

    But England starlet Foden dragged his stuttering side forward and then grabbed an 81st minute leveller for the Premier League title favourites.
    Gabriel Jesus completed the turnaround and broke Robins hearts before Ferran Torres added a stoppage-time third.
    But what a scare they were given.
    City arrived at Jonny-Rocks Stadium as the Premier League’s in-form team – and were 72 places above their opponents in the football pyramid.

    Cheltenham were playing in the fourth round for only the third time in their history and this was by far their biggest game.

    Yet they caused Pep Guardiola’s much changed side a real headache.
    City could have been ahead inside the first minute as Riyad Mahrez played through Gabriel Jesus but keeper Josh Griffiths got a hand on his attempted lob.
    Then Benjamin Mendy ran onto a Taylor Harwood Bellis cross and unleashed a fierce shot that was superbly cleared off the line by Robins skipper Ben Tozer.

    A low cross from Phil Foden found Torres but Griffiths again got down to save well before Jesus planted another header wide.
    Michael Duff’s men had hung in and created a great chance of their own when Finn Azaz played through May but his shot was saved at the near post by Zack Steffen.
    Guardiola must have had some words with his team at the break as they had more intent early in the second-half.

    City pulled through with three goals in the last ten minutesCredit: AFP

    A local firework display led to a five-minute pause in the first-halfCredit: EPA
    Foden slipped a pass through to Jesus who rolled his shot past Griffiths but against the outside of the post.
    The Brazilian has scored just one in his last 12 games and it showed.
    And it looked a big miss just before the hour when Tozer’s long throw caused havoc in the box and Charlie Raglan’s header on was rattled into the top corner by May.
    Aymeric Laporte felt he was pushed in the back in the build up but there was no VAR and the Frenchman was booked for protesting.

    City needed a response and they had another big chance when Foden slipped Mahrez through but Griffiths spread himself to deny him.
    The clock ticked into the last ten minutes and the upset looked on, but sub Joao Cancelo lofted a ball into the box and Foden sprang the offside trap to volley home.
    And with the home side still reeling, a chip forward from Fernandinho found Jesus who had got behind the defence and turned sharply before firing home.
    In stoppage time, sub Ilkay Gundogan got away down the right and squared for Torres to tap home.

    Gabriel Jesus struck the winner after 86 minutesCredit: AFP

    Cheltenham boss Michael Duff came close to a stunning cupsetCredit: AFP

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    Brentford boss is driven by last season’s Wembley heartache in fresh bid to take the Bees into the Premier League

    HAD it not been for sod’s law Thomas Frank would have been meeting Brendan Rodgers this weekend as a Premier League equal.
    But if the Dane eventually does lead Brentford into the Premier League, it will be a fairytale to rival Leicester’s 2016 title triumph.

    Thomas Frank celebrates leading Brentford to last season’s play-off final

    But Brentford’s joy was to turn to despair as they suffered heartbreak in the Championship play-off final as Fulham clinched promotion to the top flight

    The heartbreak of losing to Fulham in August’s Championship play-off final still rankles slightly.
    Frank sighs: “As Brentford manager, I’ve faced Fulham four times, kept clean sheets in 90 minutes in every game and beaten them on three occasions.
    “And yet Joe Bryan scores their only goals against us in the space of 12 extra-time minutes at Wembley with a wonder strike and from a mistake. It’s the fine margins of football.”
    It is also the law of sod, Thomas.

    After an incredible eight-match winning streak where they swept aside all-comers including Fulham, they lost both their final league games against struggling Stoke and Barnsley. Victory in either would have seen them promoted automatically.
    But that pain has driven Brentford this season.
    They have not lost a Championship match since October and their Carabao Cup semi-final exit against Tottenham was the only reverse in their last 19 matches in all competitions.
    Beating Leicester will be their FIFTH Premier League scalp this season, having already defeated Southampton, West Brom, Fulham and Newcastle in that cup run.

    Ollie Watkins cuts a lonely figure at Wembley in what proved his final game with Brentford before his £33million move to Aston Villa
    Frank said: “We’ve learned from the finest of margins that went against us last season. Did you know we lost nine games 1-0? It’s crazy.
    “There were one or two we deserved to lose but the rest we should’ve won or drawn.
    “This season we’re managed to win tight games or at least drawn them because every player has improved.
    “Keeper David Raya learned from his mistake at Millwall last season for example that cost us the game 1-0.
    “Defenders Pontus Jansson and Henrik Dalsgaard, despite all their experience, have become even better leaders.
    “Ethan Pinnock and Rico Henry did amazing for us in their first season at Championship level – but have upped it further.
    “Mathias Jensen and Josh Da Silva – better decisions, better defensively.
    “Bryan Mbeumo hasn’t scored as many goals so far but has lost the ball less and is getting more assists. Sergi Canos has also grown.”

    Thomas Frank believes Brentford have learned from the fine margins that went against them as they have had a cracking first half to this season
    The famous BMW frontline last season of Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma and Mbeumo plundered a staggering 57 goals between them.
    But when 25-goal Watkins was sold to Aston Villa for £33million and 17-goal Benrahma got loaned to West Ham, many feared for Brentford’s chances of mounting a serious challenge this time round.
    Yet the West Londoners responded by doing what they do best – unearthing another gem in Ivan Toney.
    The striker, signed from Peterborough for £5million, already has 16 league goals after 23 games.

    And he is on course to become the third Bees striker to hit 25 goals in consecutive seasons following Watkins and Neal Maupay before him.
    Frank said: “It’s not easy for a player to just step into a team like that. It requires a lot of team work.
    “Can you name me a club that has produced three different 25-goals-a-season strikers in consecutive years? I can’t off the top of my head.
    “He only needs nine goals and I’m confident he’ll do that.
    “His movement and finishing inside the box is great. The link-up play is really good. He has a good eye for his team-mates.
    “His hold up play in terms of his physicality is top drawer.
    “He just needs to do a little bit more work on the link-up, finishing and pressing, which has been so much better since he came here. He just needs to do that consistently.”

    Ivan Toney has been seamlessly filled Ollie Watkins’ boots since joining from Peterborough in what has turned out to be a bargain £5million deal
    Asked if he believes Toney will follow the man he has replaced, Watkins, into the top flight, Frank answered: “Yes, 100 per cent.
    “Of course, they’re slightly different. Ivan’s heading and positioning in the box is better. Ollie has a bit more pace to run in behind while Ivan can hold and link up a bit more.
    “Ivan will be in the Premier League in the future. Hopefully that’ll be with us.”
    But particularly impressive since Frank took over from Dean Smith in October 2018 has been how much better Brentford are defensively.
    They have had to rely on that this season with fewer goals being scored, which was inevitable after losing two of the best forward players in the division.

    Ivan Toney will be in the Premier League in the future. Hopefully that’ll be with us.”

    The Dane, who won the SkyBet Championship manager of the month award for December, said: “We have a massive solidness and are difficult to play against.
    “We’re adding more free-flowing football again, which we have missed. That is one thing I haven’t been happy with but we’re getting closer to where we want to be with that.”
    Brentford’s climb from mid-table League Two fodder to the brink of Premier League football has been startling – and they generally have a knack of recruiting the right managers at the right times as well as players.
    Andy Scott got them out of the bottom division, Mark Warburton took them into the Championship and almost the top flight, Dean Smith steadily improved the squad while Frank has been a resounding success since he took over.

    Danish coach Thomas Frank has done a great job since replacing Dean Smith

    So what achievement does Frank rank as the highest at Brentford?
    He said: “The culture. We have this unique togetherness where you can see that everything’s aligned from top to bottom – from the staff, players and me to the board and owner.
    “We’re all good people who work in the same direction. We have this attitude, believe in ourselves and are humble.
    “If you’re not humble, someone will run past you.
    “We also work extremely hard because you achieve nothing otherwise.
    “You must perform every day and that performance comes on and off the training pitch.
    “These bits are extremely important.
    “Beside that is our style of play where we’re clear in how we want to do it.
    “That added together and consistency reaps great results.
    “Maybe we didn’t have the margins with us last year but if we keep doing this the scoreboard will take care of itself.” More

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    Watch Arsenal transfer target Yves Bissouma score 30-yard screamer as Brighton beat Blackpool 2-1 in FA Cup fourth round

    ARSENAL target Yves Bissouma showed the Gunners exactly what he can do with a 30-yard FA Cup screamer for Brighton.
    The 24-year-old midfielder rifled home an unstoppable shot into the top corner past Blackpool keeper Chris Maxwell to give the Seagulls the lead after 24 minutes.

    Yves Bissouma let fly with a belting effort from way outside the boxCredit: Rex Features

    Bissouma’s shot flew into the top cornerCredit: AFP or licensors

    Bissouma gave Mikel Arteta a timely reminder of his undoubted ability after holders Arsenal crashed out at Southampton.
    The Mali international is a self-confessed massive Gooner and has been linked with a dream move to the Emirates.
    A source close to the star revealed he would choose the Gunners over ANY other Premier League side that came calling for his services.
    Bissouma joined Brighton from Lille in 2018 for a £15.2million fee.

    He is said to still speak regularly to former Lille team-mates and Arsenal stars Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel – who scored the own goal at St Mary’s which KO’d Arteta’s defence of the trophy.
    And the friendships could help facilitate a move to North London.
    Arteta is determined to land a creative midfielder this month with Martin Odegaard ‘one step away’ from arriving from Real Madrid and Norwich’s Emi Buendia also heavily linked.
    But a move for Bissouma looks more likely to happen at the end of the season with Dani Ceballos set to return to the Bernabeu and Granit Xhaka’s future uncertain.


    Bissouma celebrates his super strike with Adam Webster at the AmexCredit: Reuters

    Bissouma’s worldie wasn’t enough to give Graham Potter’s side a half-time lead against The Tangerines.
    Gary Madine’s stoppage-time effort sent the sides in level at 1-1.
    But The Seagulls soon regained the lead 13 minutes after the break when Alexis Mac Allister’s long-range shot deflected off Steven Alzate’s back to wrongfoot Maxwell.
    And Brighton held on to secure their spot in the fifth round where they will face either Brentford or Leicester.
    ⚽ Read our Arsenal live blog for the latest news from The Emirates

    Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma shows off his super skills on the training pitch More

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    FA Cup 4th round round-up: Sheffield United sneak past Plymouth while West Ham and Swan run riot

    YVES BISSOUMA hit a 30-yard cracker for Brighton as the Seagulls and fellow Premier League strugglers Sheffield United sneaked past third-tier opposition in the FA Cup fourth round.
    Elsewhere, West Ham, Swansea and Bristol City pulled off big wins, with Barnsley stunning Championship leaders Norwich to also reach the last 16.

    Brighton’s Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma notched a spectacular opener in the 2-1 defeat of BlackpoolCredit: Reuters

    Scorer Billy Sharp celebrates as Sheffield United put their Premier League misery behind them in the FA CupCredit: Reuters

    Oladapo Afolayan nipped in for West Ham’s fourth goal against Doncaster after finally making his debut – three years after joining Credit: Reuters

    Brighton battled past League One Blackpool 2-1, courtesy of Bissouma’s stunner and Steven Alzate’s deflection.
    Meanwhile, Chris Basham and Billy Sharp seemingly put the Blades in control against Plymouth but Pereira Camara’s 75th-minute reply gave Chris Wilder’s men an uncomfortable finale.
    Elsewhere, the Hammers dispatched Doncaster 4-0, with debutant 23-year-old striker Oladapo Afolayan bagging their simple fourth goal eight minutes after coming on as a sub.


    Here are the results so far from today’s last-32 action.

    Southampton 1 Arsenal 0
    Barnsley 1 Norwich City 0
    Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Blackpool 1
    Millwall 0 Bristol City 3
    Sheffield United 2 Plymouth Argyle 1
    Swansea City 5 Nottingham Forest 1
    West Ham 4 Doncaster Rovers 0

    Andriy Yarmolenko was involved in Pablo Fornals’ s early opener before doubling West Ham’s lead himself with a lob.

    Then after the break Andy Butler’s own goal and Afolayan’s special moment completed the rout.
    Swansea saw off in-form Championship rivals Nottingham Forest 5-1 to reach the fifth round for the third time in four seasons.

    Liam Cullen and Matt Grimes netted two apiece, while sub Oli Cooper rounded off the romp in just his second senior appearance.

    Callum Styles’ notched Barnsley’s deserved winner against second-tier high-fliers Norwich.
    Finally, Bristol City won 3-0 at Millwall in another all-Championship tie, Nahki Wells providing a deflected free-kick goal and an assist.

    Matt Grimes’ penalty put Swansea in control against Championship rivals ForestCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Billy Sharp doubled Sheffield United’s lead against Plymouth Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    Doncaster defender Andy Butler’s own goal put West Ham 3-0 upCredit: Reuters

    Blackpool’s Gary Madine pounced for a temporary equaliser at BrightonCredit: Reuters

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    FA Cup fourth round LIVE SCORES: West Ham and Swansea leading, plus Brighton vs Blackpool – stream, latest updates

    GET ready for another bumper weekend of FA Cup action as Football League clubs aim to conquer their Premier League foes.
    Saturday FA Cup fourth round 3pm games
    Swansea vs Nottingham Forest (BT Sport Extra 4)
    Barnsley vs Norwich (BT Sport Extra 5)
    Millwall vs Bristol City (BT Sport Extra 6)
    Brighton vs Blackpool (BT Sport Extra 3)
    Sheffield United vs Plymouth (BBC iPlayer)
    West Ham vs Doncaster (BBC iPlayer)

    Stay up to date with all the action below…

    47. Less than two minutes into the second period, and Sheffield United are in full control.
    A brilliant defence-splitting pass from Oliver Norwood finds Billy Sharp in beyond Jerome Opoku, and the veteran striker cleverly skips around Michael Cooper before rolling into the empty net.



    Relive the moment that Yves Bissouma thundered in the best goal of the afternoon to give Premier League Brighton the lead over Blackpool.
    However, the League One side hit back in first half stoppage time with Gary Madine stunning the Seagulls with an equaliser.






    45+2. On the stroke of half-time, the League One side are level!
    Blackpool open Albion up with slick play down the left, from where Luke Garbutt eventually digs out a cross from the byline.
    In the middle, Gary Madine utilises his experience with clever movement to break free of his marker before steering an instinctive near-post finish beyond Christian Walton.



    39. Finally, Sheffield United have broken Plymouth Argyle down.
    The Premier League side remain patient, working the ball from right to left, where Billy Sharpe steps up a fantastic cross towards the far post.
    The delivery is perfect for the arriving Chris Basham, who has time to pick his spot before planting his header in the back of the net.


    32. Famara Diedhiou makes no mistake from the spot!
    The Bristol City man bags his sixth of the season, converting from 12 yards, after winning the penalty himself.
    The Senegalese striker was brought down by Frank Fielding after flicking Zay Vyner’s pass beyond the Millwall goalkeeper.


    32. A lovely goal from Andriy Yamolenko has West Ham in charge at the London Stadium.
    The Ukrainian keeps his cool as he latches on to Said Benrahma’s clever through ball, and dinks his shot over Ellery Balcombe.


    29. Another screamer from long range!
    This time it’s Matt Grimes, who thunders in a left-footed strike from 25 yards after Swansea had worked a short corner on the right.
    It left goalkeeper Freddie Woodman with no chance, nor Lyle Taylor, who was lying injured inside the Forest goal.


    27. The League One side have competed well, but they’ve now been undone by a stroke of brilliance.
    There’s no danger when Yves Bissouma collects the ball 30 yards from goal, but the midfielder turns to make space for himself before firing a thunderbolt into the top corner.
    A sensational strike!


    20. Nearly a shock lead for the League One side as Luke Garbutt’s curls a clever free-kick over the wall.
    The former Everton defender has the accuracy on his strike, but not the power to beat Christian Walton.

    18. A big chance for the Premier League side!
    Rhian Brewster steers a sliding shot wide of the far post after John Fleck had squared a low cross from the left.
    It came just a minute after the same youngster had slammed a long range shot straight at Michael Cooper.

    11. Norwich are controlling the bulk of possession at Oakwell, but the home side are making it difficult for the Championship leaders to create.
    In fact, it’s Barnsley who go close with a Helik header from a corner, but it’s eventually claimed by Krul, who is making his 100th appearance for the Canaries.

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    Watch as brave Chorley bench laugh in face of Wolves star Adama Traore in FA Cup fourth-round confrontation

    CHORLEY’S brave bench laughed in the face of jacked Wolves star Adama Traore during their FA Cup fourth-round clash.
    The Non-League side’s fairytale run came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Friday night.

    Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio laughs in the face of Adama TraoreCredit: BT Sport

    Goalkeeper coach Craig Dootson chuckled at Traore’s confrontationCredit: BT Sport

    Assistant boss Andy Preece also sported a beaming smile at the bust-upCredit: BT Sport

    But the part-timers certainly weren’t intimidated by the Prem big boys.
    Spanish hardman Traore, 24, bundled over defender Lewis Baines with a late challenge midway through the second-half.
    The collision caused the Chorley bench to jump up and referee Anthony Taylor duly awarded a free-kick.
    Traore didn’t take kindly to the call and exchanged jibes with some of the home side’s staff.

    But the ballsy National League North lads laughed in his face at the attempted confrontation.
    Chorley boss and primary school headteacher Jamie Vermiglio chuckled as he came face to face with a raging, greased-up Traore.
    No2 Andy Preece and goalkeeper coach Craig Dootson were also caught sporting cheeky grins by the BT Sport cameras.
    But Traore’s Wolves had the last laugh as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side ran out unconvincing winners thanks to Vitinha’s absolute worldie from 30 yards out.


    Traore came face to face with the Chorley benchCredit: BT Sport

    Adele fans Chorley gave another great account of themselves with Wolves keeper John Ruddy putting in a stand-out display to deny the amateurs another rendition of Someone Like You.
    Fans ripped into Traore online as one tweeted: “Hard to take a grown man who has baby oil on their arms seriously at the best of times.”
    Another suggested it was bullish behaviour from Chorley given they were losing, they added: “Don’t you have to be winning the game to do the ‘laugh in the players’ face bit.”

    Chorley’s love affair with FA Cup goes on as they beat Rooney’s Derby and celebrate by singing Adele’s Someone Like You More

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    FA Cup fourth round TV games: How to live stream FREE and watch all fixtures this weekend on BT Sport and BBC iPlayer

    THE world’s greatest cup domestic competition returns this weekend.
    With the UK back in lockdown the magic of the FA Cup will be a tonic for supporters facing months under new coronavirus regulations.

    Manchester United face Liverpool at Old Trafford after squeezing past Watford in the third roundCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    And in a boost for fans, you’ll be able to watch every single clash on TV – with a number of matches on free-to-air.
    FA Cup fourth round TV matches
    There are 16 matches in the fourth round, spread across several days of action.
    Matches are being shown on BT Sport and the BBC, although none are on the FA Player as they were in the third round.
    Games on BBC ONE and BBC iPlayer are FREE to watch for everyone.

    BT Sport games will be available to anyone who has a subscription to the service, with the BT Sport Extra channel available by pressing the red button.

    BT Sport will be showing the majority of matchesCredit: Paul Marriott – The Sun
    If you have an EE phone contract, you can grab a three-month BT Sport trial by texting SPORT to 150.
    To get the FA Player, head to their official website or download the app from the App or Play Store on your mobile.

    FA Cup fourth round fixtures:
    Friday, January 22
    FT: Chorley 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers – 7.45pm (BT Sport 1)
    Saturday, January 23
    FT: Southampton 1-0 Arsenal – 12.15pm (BT Sport 1)
    Bournemouth vs Crawley – 3pm (BT Sport Extra 2)
    Swansea vs Nottingham Forest – 3pm (BT Sport Extra 4)
    Barnsley vs Norwich – 3pm (BT Sport Extra 5)
    Millwall vs Bristol City – 3pm (BT Sport Extra 6)
    Brighton vs Blackpool – 3pm (BT Sport Extra 3)
    Sheffield United vs Plymouth – 3pm (BBC iPlayer)
    West Ham vs Doncaster – 3pm (BBC iPlayer)
    Cheltenham Town vs Manchester City – 5.30pm (BBC One/iPlayer)

    Sunday, January 24
    Chelsea vs Luton Town – 12 Noon (BBC One/iPlayer)
    Fulham vs Burnley – 2.30pm (BT Sport Extra 2)
    Brentford vs Leicester – 2.30pm (BT Sport 1)
    Manchester United vs Liverpool – 5pm (BBC One/iPlayer)
    Everton vs Sheffield Wednesday (BT Sport 1)
    Monday, January 25
    Wycombe vs Tottenham 7.45pm (BT Sport 1) More