Robinson writes new chapter in Swansea's story

Swansea City 2 Preston North End 1
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The Independent Football

The FA Cup remains a source of heart-warming tales and here was a tie that yielded several. Swansea of the Third Division ousting Preston of the First was romance enough but there was more: a story each, in fact, from the Welsh side's two goalscorers.

First, Andy Robinson, whose schoolboy dreams were shattered when Everton let him go at 16, was plucked from a backwater in the West Cheshire League last summer. No prizes for guessing whom he would like to draw in the fifth round today.

"On fourth-round day last season I was probably sat in the boozer watching Liverpool on the box," Robinson said. "Now I have a chance of playing a Premier League club in the next round. My life has changed so dramatically I have to pinch myself."

Such is the feeling produced by swapping life as a furniture shifter playing for the works side Cammel Laird - after two more rejections, from Wrexham and Tranmere - for full-time professionalism with Swansea.

"I was heartbroken when Everton let me go," he added. "All you can do, though, is keep believing in your own abilities. It's taken four attempts, but I'm finally playing regular professional football."

The free-kick that Robinson curled over Preston's wall just as Craig Brown's side were starting to think they had done enough was exquisite, demonstrating why Everton were at least right to be interested.

Next, Lee Trundle, already a player with a tale to tell. A sensation after Brian Flynn paid £60,000 to take him to Wrexham from Rhyl Town in 2001, the Liverpool-born striker left the Racecourse under a cloud last summer but, reunited with his former manager at the Vetch Field, has repaid Flynn's faith in massive measure. Saturday's winning goal, fired home from close range with eight minutes left, was his 20th of the season.

That it should come against Preston in the Cup only embellished Trundle's joy. Now 27, he was turned down at Deepdale after trying out at 18 and it took him six years to get another chance with a League club. David Moyes was Preston's number two at the time; so Trundle wouldn't mind a crack at Everton, too.

The Preston manager Brown roundly castigated his players. "We knew they would mount a comeback but we should be able to withstand that kind of pressure," he said. "I can't believe we are out of the competition. Even when Robinson's free-kick went in, I thought we would have to replay at worst."

It was Trundle's fifth goal in Swansea's Cup run, in which he has scored in every round. "We've had four home draws so far and I'd be happy with another, whoever it is against," the manager Flynn said.

Given that both goals came in the space of two minutes, cancelling out Dickson Etuhu's easy header early in the second half, it was "a typical fairytale ending" according to the former Wales midfielder, who had his story, too.

When Swansea lost to a freak Preston goal in the 1964 semi-final at Villa Park, he had been an eight-year-old schoolboy, listening on the radio.

"It is too long ago to call it revenge but I remember how flat everyone felt around here," Flynn said. "We really thought we were going to win the Cup for Wales for the first time since Cardiff in 1927, so it was such a disappointment."

Goals: Etuhu (58) 0-1; Robinson (80) 1-1; Trundle (82) 2-1.

Swansea City (4-3-2-1): Freestone; S Jones (Hylton, 48), O'Leary, Iriekpen, Howard; Britton, Martinez, Robinson (Coates, 85); Maylett, Connolly (Thomas, 63); Trundle. Substitutes not used: Murphy (gk), Nugent.

Preston North End (4-4-2): Gould; Alexander, Davis, O'Neil, Broomes; Healy, Etuhu, McKenna, Lewis; Koumantarakis (Abbott, 85), Fuller. Substitutes not used: Lonergan (gk), Edwards, Mears, Keane.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Bookings: Swansea: Trundle. Preston: O'Neil.

Man of the match: Robinson.

Attendance: 10,200.

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