FA Cup Fifth Round
Carlisle – Middlesbrough 1-2
Crystal Palace – Chelsea 2-1
Leeds – Mansfield 2-1
Liverpool – Leicester 1-3
Northampton – Manchester United 1-2
QPR – Derby County 1-0
Swindon – Scunthorpe 3-1
Watford – Gillingham 2-1
Leeds 2 (Clarke 44, Giles 90 pen)
Mansfield 1 (Robert 83)
One is always reminded of the magic of the FA Cup, the quest of the smaller teams to play above themselves and heroically beat a powerhouse team. With Leeds this rarely happens, and Mansfield’s hopes were crushed with a Giles penalty in the last breath of the game.
Leeds played well beneath themselves and only gave Mansfield a small sniff of a chance in the first half. Indeed so well marshaled were Leeds that they even stifled their own attacking endeavors until the end of the first half when Clarke instinctively latched onto a Bremner long through ball and made sure Leeds were in front at half time.
Mansfield came out more determined to at least make Leeds realise they were playing a team of determined and passionate footballers and Sprake had to produce something special to parry away Mansfield’s Robert’s attempt in the first minute of the second half. And on it went, Mansfield flying forward with the sole intention of scoring, Leeds, organised and resolute, pushing them back until the next wave appeared on the horizon.
With seven minutes to go Roberts broke through and this time Sprake or the post couldn’t help Leeds. Mansfield equalised and it seemed Mansfield had earned a reply against the mighty Leeds.
As Mansfield was heading for a deserving replay, Leeds were awarded a somewhat dubious penalty. This is the reality of any competition, the magic rarely surfaces. Up stepped Giles and Leeds are in the sixth round of the FA Cup and for Mansfield, there’s nothing.
It proved the same for Northampton facing the might of Manchester United at home. The home side started badly by giving away a silly penalty. Northampton fought back and equalised half way through the first half. The game then wasted away as both sides became more and more wary of conceding a second goal.
But there’s one thing that Northampton don’t have, and that’s a George Best. With a minute to go before full time, Best stepped up and with a mesmerising run won the tie for United.