Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round ties turned out to be a nightmare for the Premier League teams involved.
Chelsea were held by League Two side Brentford, Tottenham lost at Championship Leeds and Liverpool suffered a shock defeat at League One Oldham.
Chelsea left it late to rescue a replay at Brentford. The Blues snatched a 2-2 draw with just seven minutes remaining at Griffin Park. The League Two struck first just before the break.
Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull could only parry Harry Forrester’s effort and on-loan Fulham ace Marcello Trotta volleyed home the rebound.
The visitors were back on level terms early in the second period. Brazilian playmaker Oscar produced a touch of magic to beat the Bees defence before firing home. The home side was undeterred though and on 73 minutes regained the lead.
Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull was adjudged to have brought down substitute Tom Adeyemi in the penalty area and former-Villa youngster Harry Forrester scored from the resulting spot-kick. Chelsea brought on striker Demba Ba to pep up the attack and the decision paid dividends in the 83rd minute.
The Senegalese international striker nodded the ball down to strike-partner Fernando Torres and the Spaniard curled home a superb effort from 20 yards. Chelsea pushed for a winner in the latter stages, but their London neighbours held on for much-deserved replay.
The second game of the day produced another surprise result, as Championship Leeds beat Tottenham 2-1 at Elland Road. The home side were in front on 15 minutes, Luke Varney with a cool finish after being put through on goal by veteran midfielder Michael Brown.
The Whites extended their lead on 50 minutes. El Hadji-Diouf’s through ball found Ross McCormack, who beat Steven Caulker before firing past Brad Friedel in the Spurs goal. The top flight side looked far more dangerous after the second goal went in and got a goal back on 58 minutes.
USA international Clint Dempsey had just missed a glorious opportunity, but found the net with another effort glancing home Gareth Bale’s cross. Spurs had chances near the end to equalise, with substitute John Obika having the best of them blocked by Leeds defender Lee Peltier.
Leeds held on to secure their place in the fifth round, where they will travel to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Liverpool suffered the biggest shock defeat of the day, suffering a 3-2 defeat at League One strugglers Oldham. The game was a throwback to the old-fashioned cup tie, all blood and thunder.
Oldham won the battle and the war in the end. The Latics were ahead after just three minutes. Giant striker Matt Smith got above Sebastian Coates to head home Youssouf M’Changama’s delivery.
Liverpool equalised in the 17th minute, Luis Suarez getting a fortunate rebound off Cliff Byrne before firing past Dean Bouzanis in the Oldham goal. It then looked like the top flight team were going to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but both Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling missed good chances to give the Reds the lead.
Those misses came back to haunt the Merseysider’s in first half stoppage-time. Liverpool keeper Brad Jones made a hash of Reece Wabara’s cross and Lee Croft found Smith, who scored with a close-range tap-in.
Oldham extended their lead just after half-time. Carl Winchester took on the Liverpool defence and produced a superb far post cross for full-back Reece Wabara to score with a towering header.
Liverpool brought captain Steven Gerrard off the bench and looked far more dangerous going forward and the Reds got a goal back with ten minutes left on the clock. Joe Allen struck that a volley that took a heavy deflection off former-Everton youngster Jose Baxter and found its way past Bouzanis in the Oldham goal.
So often Liverpool’s saviour in recent times Gerrard nearly saved the Reds late-on, as the England midfielder saw a fierce effort hit the bar and bounce clear. Liverpool pushed for an equaliser, but the Oldham defence held out resolutely to earn themselves a home tie with Liverpool’s arch-rivals Everton in the fifth round.
Can Oldham make it a Merseyside double by defeating Everton in the fifth round?