FA Cup round-up: Cork puts stopper in Palace progress

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The Independent Football

Two fourth-round ties added to the Championship interest in the FA Cup when Sheffield United beat bottom club Charlton Athletic 2-1 at Bramall Lane, and, in a thriller at Vicarage Road, another south London side, Crystal Palace, went out 4-3 to Watford.

The former Palace winger Jobi McAnuff created all four Hornets goals, scored by Jay DeMerit (volley, 17 minutes), Jack Cork (header, 27), Will Hoskins (left-foot shot, 48) and Grzegorz Rasiak (left-foot curler, 70). That goal made it 4-1, but Paul Ifill scored twice to give the Hornets the jitters.

"The Cup is not a hindrance for us," reasoned Dean Austin, the assistant manager of relegation battlers Watford. "It's our first win in a while and we can work from here."

A 26th-minute shot by Danny Webber caught out Charlton's goalkeeper, Rob Elliot, as the Blades beat Charlton for a third time this season. Substitute Lee Hendrie's flighted free-kick doubled their lead, Chris Dickson netted Charlton's late goal.

In the day's only Champion-ship action, a disjointed performance saw Birmingham City spurn the chance to reclaim second place after a 2-0 defeat at Blackpool. DJ Campbell, the former City striker, headed Pool into the lead after 12 minutes; 14 minutes later Keith Southern's 25-yard shot wrapped it up. The Seasiders' Claus Jorgensen saw red late on, but the Blues couldn't rattle them.

"A lost opportunity," the Blues manager, Alex McLeish, admitted, "but there are a lot of games left and I don't think it's time to press the panic button. As a team with our aspirations, the players know they have to do much better than that. The lack of goals is a concern."

Leicester stretched their lead at the top of League One to nine points, beating Huddersfield Town 4-2 at the Walkers Stadium, but for a second consecutive Saturday League Two leaders Wycombe lost, 3-1 this time at lowly Bournemouth.

Luton Town, already penalised 30 points, could face further action after referee MartinKettle was pelted with missiles as he left the field at Kenilworth Road. He had awarded Bradford City a 94th-minute penaltythat forced a 3-3 draw.

"I have never seen as despicable a refereeing performance as that," the Hatters manager, Mick Harford, fumed.