Blackburn frustrate disappointing City

Premier League high-fliers held to 1-1 draw while Aston Villa are the major casualty of FA Cup third round, losing 2-1 at home to third-tier Sheffield United

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 1:36am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 1:36am


Last season's beaten FA Cup finalists Manchester City tasted fresh disappointment in the competition when they were held to a 1-1 draw at second-tier Blackburn Rovers in the third round on Saturday.

Stunned by Wigan Athletic in last year's final, City took the lead at Ewood Park through an Alvaro Negredo goal on the stroke of half-time, only for Scott Dann to equalise early in the second period.

City, currently second in the Premier League, also had defender Dedryck Boyata sent off late on for two bookable offences and now face an unwelcome replay against Gary Bowyer's side.

Aston Villa became the first major casualty of the third round after losing 2-1 at home to third-tier Sheffield United.

We had a chance and we did very well. I am very proud of my players for their efforts
Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer

Nicklas Helenius appeared to have kept Villa in the competition when he cancelled out Jamie Murphy's deflected opener in the 75th minute, only for Ryan Flynn to give the Blades victory six minutes later.

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tasted success in his first game as manager of Cardiff City after his new side came from behind to win 2-1 at Newcastle United.

Solskjaer saw his new charges fall behind to a 66th-minute Papiss Cisse strike, but two goals in seven minutes from substitutes Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell gave Cardiff victory.

In the day's two other all-Premier League ties, goals from Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh gave Crystal Palace a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and Fulham drew 1-1 at Norwich.

Everton crushed Championship high-fliers Queens Park Rangers 4-0, with Nikica Jelavic claiming a brace, while Southampton edged Burnley 4-3 in an entertaining game at St Mary's.

Hull City won 2-0 at Middlesbrough and Stoke City defeated Championship leaders Leicester City 2-1.

Wigan's trophy defence began in uncertain fashion as they were held to a 3-3 draw by third-tier Milton Keynes Dons.

Goals from Roger Espinoza and Jordi Gomez put Wigan 2-0 up, but Ben Reeves struck twice in two minutes to draw MK Dons level and, after Callum McManaman restored the hosts' lead, Patrick Bamford scrambled home a late equaliser.

Bolton Wanderers belatedly exacted revenge for their 4-3 loss to Blackpool in the 1953 final by beating their Championship rivals 2-1, while Leeds United fell to a shock 2-0 defeat at Rochdale.

Meanwhile, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, non-league Macclesfield Town, claimed a 1-1 draw at home to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday thanks to a 72nd-minute equaliser from Steve Williams.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini, on reflecting on the clash with Blackburn, said: "I think it was a very close game.

"They're a difficult team and they played with a lot of intensity, so we must decide who continues in the FA Cup at home."

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer, whose father Ian was an FA Cup winner with City in 1969, beamed with pride. "We had a chance and we did very well. I am very proud of my players for their efforts," he said.

Pellegrini spent much of the festive period bemoaning a hectic schedule that forced his team to play five times in 15 days over Christmas. Now he has one more fixture to think about.