Fernando Torres was the savior, rescuing Chelsea from the unfathomable in the 83rd minute. Henry Winter has the strangely worded details:
As Eden Hazard started his suspension, Chelsea had emerged to a ball-boy guard of honour, the flag-wavers soon assuming positions around the apron of the pitch. The surface was poor. One of Oscar’s early dribbles was held up by divots, and the Brazilian fell over.
Excuses. Chelsea trailed twice in the game. Rafa Benitez called for a better performance in the replay. “We knew what Brentford were capable of and they did it well, so credit to them, but we need to do our job in the replay.” Mata came on too late — he shouldn’t have been needed in the first place. Watching a game at Griffin Park is now on the bucket list. Magic of the cup etc. etc.
Leeds 2-1 Tottenham
For the first time in a decade Leeds are through to the fifth round. Michael Brown’s needless challenge at the death nearly ruined things for The Whites. Brad Friedel, crazy, got his head on the ball and mayhem ensued. Alas, Elland Road erupted when the final whistle blared. Spurs had gone undefeated in their previous seven games against Leeds, conceding just two goals. Streaks were ending all over the place. Leeds had seen their FA Cup dreams die in North London the last three years, losing to Spurs in 2010 and Arsenal twice. Though it didn’t count, this was pretty cool:
Oldham 3-2 Liverpool
The magic ain’t dead. Six hours later Oldham capped the day with another shocker, defeating Liverpool at Boundary Park. The pitch wasn’t perfect, Paul Dickov lost 16 pounds via sweat and Steven Gerrard nearly ensured a replay with wonderful strike in the 90th minute(it hit the bar) but in the end a stunning day ended in another upset. None of the teams from the prem led today, and all fielded strong lineups. Matt Smith was playing for Redditch United two years ago. He scored twice today, Reece Wabara added the third. Save the cynicism for tomorrow. Today was great.