FA Cup round-up: Sam Allardyce off the mark as Crystal Palace down Bolton Wanderers in replay
Substitute Christian Benteke scores twice as Premier League strugglers post 2-1 comeback win to earn fourth-round berth
Christian Benteke spared Sam Allardyce’s blushes as the Crystal Palace striker came off the bench to inspire a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers, while Lincoln City and Sutton United pulled off shock victories in Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replays.
Palace manager Allardyce had gone five matches without a win since replacing the sacked Alan Pardew just before Christmas.
He was in danger of an embarrassing Cup exit when the struggling Premier League team fell behind to James Henry’s 48th minute goal at Selhurst Park.
But Allardyce sent on Benteke and the switch paid immediate dividends as the former Liverpool striker headed Palace’s 68th minute equaliser.
Benteke completed Palace’s revival with a fierce finish from Andros Townsend’s cross in the 77th minute to set up a home tie with Manchester City in the fourth round.
“Wins grow confidence. There’s no doubt about that. How much confidence we get from this will show on Saturday,” Allardyce said.
At Sincil Bank, National Conference leaders Lincoln sent second tier Ipswich Town crashing out with a surprise 1-0 win.
In their first game since his death last week, Lincoln paid a memorable tribute to their former player and manager Graham Taylor.
Danny Cowley’s fifth tier side are into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1975-76, when they were still managed by Taylor.
Nathan Arnold got the winner from Adam Marriott’s pass to book a fourth round tie at home to Championship high-fliers Brighton & Hove Albion.
“A non-league team into the fourth round of the FA Cup? It’s what dreams are made of and we’ve got to enjoy it,” Arnold said.
Sutton, who are 15th in the fifth tier, lived up to their reputation as FA Cup giant-killers with a shock 3-1 win at third tier AFC Wimbledon.
Sutton famously stunned Coventry, then playing in the top-flight and just two years removed from winning the competition, in the third round in 1989.
Beating Wimbledon can’t quite equal that feat, but winning at their south-west London neighbours was still an impressive achievement that booked a lucrative home fourth round tie against Championship promotion chasers Leeds United.
Tom Elliott put Wimbledon in front with a 10th minute header, but the hosts had defender Paul Robinson sent off five minutes later.
Sutton, in the third round for the first time since 1994, made the most of their numerical superiority in a dramatic finish as Roarie Deacon equalised in the 75th minute.
The official banner which says Sutton United are through to the 4th round of the FA Cup. pic.twitter.com/3KmCUncf6g
— Sutton United FC (@suttonunited) January 17, 2017
Maxime Biamou tapped in the crucial second goal in the 90th minute before Dan Fitchett capped Sutton’s thrilling finale with the third moments later.
In the night’s third upset, fourth tier Blackpool, FA Cup winners in 1953, enjoyed a 2-1 win at Championship side Barnsley.
Kelvin Mellor put Blackpool ahead in the 30th minute and Angus MacDonald equalised four minutes after half-time before Bright Samuel grabbed the winner deep into the extra-time.
Blackpool travel to second tier strugglers Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round.
Burnley piled on the misery for struggling Sunderland with a 2-0 win at Turf Moor.
Sunderland boss David Moyes, whose side are second bottom of the table, is more concerned with Premier League survival and he paid the price for leaving star striker Jermain Defoe on the bench.
Burnley went ahead in the 44th minute when Wales forward Sam Vokes struck with a clinical header.
Andre Gray came off the bench to seal Burnley’s win when he slotted in to the far corner in the 83rd minute.
Burnley’s fourth round opponents are second tier Bristol City, who beat Fleetwood 1-0 in their replay at Highbury Stadium thanks to Jamie Paterson’s 17th minute goal.