Football: Pompey deepen gloom for Bassett

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The Independent Online
PORTSMOUTH, Fulham, Swansea City, Notts County and Bournemouth, and the non-League sides of Yeovil and Rushden & Diamonds pulled off the shocks of the FA Cup third round on a day when more serious damage to Premiership reputations was averted only by a series of dramatic late strikes.

In the biggest surprise Pompey, who last won the FA Cup in 1939 and are hardly setting the First Division on fire this season, beat Dave Bassett's Premiership strugglers Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the City Ground. In the 18th minute, Jeff Peron broke into the Forest box, slipped the ball to Steve Claridge who fired home.

Both West Ham United, sixth in the top flight, and Southampton, struggling against relegation, were minutes away from elimination at home against Swansea and Fulham respectively, but grabbed 1-1 draws. An equaliser by Julian Dicks, three minutes from the end, gave the Hammers a replay at the Vetch Field while Egil Ostenstad's last-gasp strike gave the Saints another shot at the Second Division leaders Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Jason Smith, who last season was playing in the Screwfix Direct league for Tiverton Town, with whom he won the FA Vase, had given the Swans the lead at Upton Park but Dicks' 30-yard piledriver put their dreams on ice.

"We were so close," John Hollins, the Swansea manager, said. "I thought we were a little unfortunate. There are 16 very disappointed players in the dressing-room because they think they deserved to win. Now West Ham have to come to us and it will be some night at the Vetch Field."

The renowned Cup fighters of Second Division Bourne-mouth beat First Division West Bromwich Albion, five times winners of the Cup, 1-0 at Dean Court. Eddie Howe, a former England Under-21 international, scored the Cherries' precious goal.

Those traditional FA Cup giantkillers, Yeovil, gave Cardiff City a fright at Ninian Park. Carl Dale, who had scored 71 goals in 207 games for the Welsh side, put the Conference team ahead in the 54th minute but Kevin Nugent levelled at 1-1 with six minutes left.

Few of the other Premiership clubs under threat were seriously troubled. Tottenham Hotspur's new-found resilience was tested by Graham Taylor's Watford, who took the lead at White Hart Lane with the day's quickest goal, after 54 seconds. But Steffen Iversen struck twice as Spurs won 5-2. And the Everton striker Ibrahima Bakayoko scored twice in the final four minutes to clinch a 2-0 win at Bristol City.

The Midlanders Leicester City and Coventry City had convincing wins over First Division Birmingham City (4-2) and Second Division Macclesfield, 7-0, Darren Huckerby scoring a hat-trick in the Sky Blues' rout.

Newcastle United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in a tempestuous tie in which the Magpies had their goalkeeper, Shay Given, sent off after 14 minutes for handling outside the area and trailed to Lee Bradbury's goal until a second-half recovery.

Wimbledon, nobody's push-overs, beat Second Division Manchester City 1-0 at Selhurst Park. Carl Cort scored the goal and was later sent off, as were the Dons' Jason Euell and City's Andy Morrison. The sendings-off of Cort and Morrison, "a bit of pushing and shoving" according to Joe Royle, the City manager, will be reconsidered by Graham Poll, the referee.

Stan Collymore scored twice as Aston Villa, who have been in the Premiership's leading pack since the start of the season, swept aside Hull City, who prop up the entire League, 3-0 at Villa Park. "A job well done," John Gregory, Villa's satisfied manager, said.

Derby County, with eight squad players out, travelled to Plymouth Argyle with some trepidation but won 3-0, Deon Burton, their Jamaican World Cup star, scoring twice.

There was a real thriller at the Racecourse Ground where Second Division Wrexham led Scunthorpe United of the Third 3-1, were clawed back to 3- 3 but won 4-3 when Karl Connolly completed his hat-trick seconds from the final whistle.

Of the seven all-First Division ties, the battle between the Wanderers of Bolton and Wolverhampton was the most resonant - both clubs have won the trophy four times - and was decided in Wolves' favour by Robbie Keane's two goals in their 2-1 win. Oxford United's visit to Crewe Alexandra brought temporary relief from their financial and relegation worries with a 3- 1 win. Stockport finished their business at Bury inside 26 minutes, by which time they were 3-0 up.

The First Division's top two, Sunderland and Ipswich Town, came through with 1-0 wins at Lincoln City and Tranmere Rovers respectively. The Rovers' defender, John McGreal, headed an own goal to see Ipswich through; the Wearsiders' substitute, Gavin McCann, was their hero at Sincil Bank, scoring three minutes after coming on.

Reports, pages 3, 5

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