Scarborough came within a positive header and a blast on the referee's whistle of turning their Theatre of Chips into the Theatre of Ultimate Fantasy yesterday but in the end the Conference side had to settle for an honourable 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round.
The men from millionaire's row wasted a hatful of chances at the McCain Stadium and had only John Terry's close-range header after 10 minutes to show for their early pressure, so Scarborough's battling qualities were enough to keep alive the prospect of an upset almost to the end. With 10 minutes remaining, Colin Cryan was presented with a free header only a few yards out, but he sent the ball weakly at Chelsea's goalkeeper Carlo Cuducini. The home fans had hardly stifled their roars of expectation than they were howling in anguish as the referee turned down penalty claims after the ball had struck the Chelsea defender William Gallas on the arm.
No fantasy, but Scarborough's manager, Russell Slade, deals in reality. "For me it was an obvious penalty. I'm slightly biased but it was clear to me. He looked like he handled but it wasn't to be. Still, we've done ourselves no harm today. It's an emotional dressing-room. Everyone is patting each other on the back. They are all proud."
He conceded Chelsea should have won the game, adding: "They had an enormous number of chances but we stuck in there and possibly had our chances. We gave our fans something to shout about.
"The match has put Scarborough on the football map and financially it has been very good for us. We've enjoyed the journey - it has been exciting. Now we can't wait for next year."
Terry was generous about the Seadogs. "We had our chances but at the end of the day they had lot of pressure and made it difficult for us," Chelsea's captain said. "They did well but we came here to do a job." Now there's romantic.
There was not much romance about, but there was a double dose of revenge at The Vetch Field. Swansea City (or Town as was) have waited 40 years to avenge their defeat by Preston North End in the FA Cup semi-final and they finally managed it. The Third Division side came from behind to beat Preston 2-1, scoring twice in two minutes late on. The winner came from Lee Trundle, who was rejected by the First Division promotion chasers after a trial nine years ago.
The Liverpool-born Trundle, who has scored in every round so far, could yet have his wish fulfilled of a trip to Anfield in the next round. Liverpool made it past Newcastle United 2-1 in a match that started explosively. Bruno Cheyrou's second-minute opener was equalised within two minutes by Laurent Robert, but Cheyrou's purple patch continued 16 minutes after the restart to seal his side's progress and relieve the pressure on Gérard Houllier.Reuse content